Universal Single-Payer Health Care — New information!

For a long time the excellent, highly competent statewide organization Health Care for All — Washington (www.healthcareforallwa.org) has been working for Universal Single-Payer health care.  Their quarterly newsletter is an excellent source of information, so I urge everyone to sign up to receive it in the mail.  I also urge people to donate so they can continue publishing, organizing, and lobbying at the State Legislature.

Their Winter 2020 newsletter includes some interesting and useful information, which I’m summarizing very briefly here.

Seven years ago (Dec. 12, 2012) the United Nations passed a resolution urging all nations to work for universal health coverage by 2030.  The U.S. voted for it.  All of the high-income nations (EXCEPT NOT the U.S.) have adopted universal health coverage systems, and many low- and middle-income nations are making good progress.

An independent organization published an article that reported how some nations (Germany, the Netherlands and Canada) moved incrementally toward universal health coverage.  Germany started in 1883, the Netherlands in the 1940s, and Canada in 1947 (beginning with Saskatchewan, and when the other provinces and the nation saw how great their universal single-payer system was it spread nationwide).

The same independent organization published another article that examined the American people’s values and their thoughts about how well the U.S. health care system is working.  The article reasoned that “any proposed reform must be broadly accepted to be successfully implemented.”  Americans were nearly unanimous in agreeing that our health care system should treat everybody equally regardless of income or race.  Also, nearly 80% said health care is a “right” that everyone should enjoy regardless of ability to pay.  However, 84% think the U.S.’s current system fails to treat everyone equally, and 49% are unhappy with how much health care currently costs.  People overwhelmingly support Medicare, but in general have mixed opinions about whether government could run the health care system well — and also mixed opinions about our system’s dependence on employer-based health care.

The 2020 Washington State Legislature is considering SB 5822, the bill promoted by Health Care for All — WA.  The State Senate passed the bill in 2019, and the House provided funding for the Universal Health Care Work Group, which has been meeting and will continue meeting until October.  They will present recommendations for the 2021 Legislative Session to consider universal health care for people living in Washington State.

The Legislature is also considering a bill to reduce prescription drug prices.