HCAO News

PolitiFact accurate but misleading on Sanders’s claim of U.S. spending twice as much

Christian K. Lee

Posted by Don McCanne MD on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015
This entry is from Dr. McCanne's Quote of the Day, a daily health policy update on the single-payer health care reform movement. The QotD is archived on PNHP's website.

Photo by Christian K. Lee

Photo by Christian K. Lee

Bernie Sanders repeats flawed claim about U.S. health care spending compared to other countries

by Will Cabaniss
PolitiFact, August 16, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is on a campaign for “Medicare for all” — or at least something like it.

Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who identifies as a socialist, told NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd to look at how much the country spends compared to the rest of the world as a reason for a single-payer system.

“We spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of any other country,” Sanders said.

It’s a striking claim, and one we heard from Sanders six years ago.

We rated the claim False then, and it’s still wrong now.

We looked at data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), widely cited by experts as an authoritative source for this information.

In 2007, the United States led the world in health care spending at $7,167 per capita, according to the OECD. Norway and Switzerland followed at $4,579 and $4,568, respectively.

The United States maintained its spending lead in the years that followed. But Sanders puts the difference too strongly when he says U.S. spending is “almost twice” per capita of “any other country.”

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Many confused by tax filing requirements could lose their ACA tax credits

Physicians for a National Health Program, Aug 7, 2015
Quote of the Day, by Don McCanne MD

Comment: Forty percent of the 4.5 million households that received tax credits in 2014 for the health plans offered in the ACA exchanges have failed to complete the tax filing requirements for these credits and thus will be ineligible for tax credits for 2016, unless they follow through with their delayed filings.

In a health care system already heavily burdened with administrative excesses, it is unfortunate that the Affordable Care Act significantly increases the administrative burden. In this instance, the additional hassle of the tax filing requirements for those receiving subsidies under ACA may be confusing enough that many may fail to file correctly, and thus they may become disqualified for tax credits to which they are entitled and which many need just to be able to afford the premiums for the exchange plans.

Many of ACA’s provisions and regulations apply specifically to individuals and families, creating sometimes complex administrative requirements in each individual case. In contrast, a single payer system requires simple registration only once in a lifetime, and the financing requires nothing more than compliance with the existing tax system, with rates set based on ability to pay.

For the individual, a single payer system is hassle-free, whereas for the entire nation, single payer frees up enough administrative waste to pay for the care that people are not currently receiving but should be.

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What the election means for reform, especially single payer

Posted by Don McCanne MD on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2014
For the PNHP Blog

New Republic’s Senior Editor Jonathan Cohn, an astute and very well-informed observer of the health care reform scene, provides us with a quite plausible response of the new Republican majority in the next session of Congress. They will likely fulfill their promise to introduce legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though knowing that the effort will end with either a filibuster or a presidential veto. The real action will take place over individual provisions of ACA.

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The Larger Stakes in the Fight over Medicare

By Peter Shapiro

Forty-eight years ago this month, Lyndon Johnson overcame years of resistance by the medical establishment and signed Medicare into law. It’s as close as this country has ever come to establishing the kind of universal, publicly funded, “single payer” health care system that prevails in most other industrialized countries.  Coming at a time when half the nation’s seniors lived in poverty, its passage quickly demonstrated that it was possible for the federal government to provide health coverage for the   costliest section of the population to insure, at a fraction of the administrative cost required by private industry.

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Single Payer tomorrow!

​by Samuel Metz, MD

Maybe Oregon should delay single payer health care for another decade. Let’s listen to what people are saying:

“Single payer is not feasible.”

“ObamaCare and the CCOs need decades to show what they can do.”

“These health care changes are not achievable in our current political climate.”

And these aren’t opponents speaking; these are purported single payer supporters.

The need for a single payer solution to our health crisis grows daily. Every day, another Oregonian dies of a treatable disease because they lacked money for treatment. Every day, 30 Oregon families go bankrupt from medical costs. Every day, Oregon’s health care costs go up another $6 million.

Our worst enemies are not single payer opponents. Our worst enemies are ourselves.

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If not now, when?

By Samuel Metz, MD

Maybe Oregon should delay single payer health care for another decade. Let’s listen to what people are saying:

“Single payer is not feasible.”

“ObamaCare and the CCOs need decades to show what they can do.”

“These health care changes are not achievable in our current political climate.”

And these aren’t opponents speaking; these are purported single payer supporters.

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The health care debate isn’t over: Let your voice be heard

Dr. Samuel Metz

Dr. Samuel Metz

Posted on Street Roots November 29, 2012

By Sam Metz, Contributing Columnist

Does the specter of your family going bankrupt from a disease not covered by your health insurance keep you staring sleeplessly at the ceiling? Have you lost hope that our country will ever get the health care system we need?


There is a solution, and you can make it happen.

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Dr. Mitchiner explains single payer to his emergency medicine colleagues, and to all of us

Posted by Don McCanne MD on Friday, Nov 2, 2012
This entry is from Dr. McCanne's Quote of the Day, a daily health policy update on the single-payer health care reform movement. The QotD is archived on PNHP's website.

It’s Time for Single-Payer

By James C. Mitchiner, MD, MPH, American College of Emergency Physicians
ACEP News, August 7, 2012

“You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing, once they’ve tried everything else.”

Winston Churchill’s iconic remark, reportedly issued at the dawn of America’s entry into World War II, is equally applicable to the present American health care debate and the crisis that spawned it. Regardless of whether you are elated or disappointed with June’s historic Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it is certainly no panacea for the problems facing U.S. health care. Even with the law intact, and despite its best intentions, it will still leave some 25 million uninsured, underinsure millions more, expand the corporatization of health care, and do little to control the escalating costs of care over the long term. So it’s clear we need to do the right thing: the creation of a national, universal, publicly funded health care system, free of the corrupting power of profit-oriented health insurance, and at the same time capable of passing constitutional muster. In short, the right thing is an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program, otherwise known as single-payer.

Don’t be so shocked. For the last 30 years, we have tried all the alternatives, and none of them have worked.

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The Eighth Factor Driving Up Health Care Costs

By Samuel Metz, MD

The Bipartisan Policy Center, quoted in the Oct. 24 PBS NewsHour program, “Seven Factors Driving Up Your Health Care Costs,” missed the most expensive factor making the US the world’s costliest health care system, yet with the worst record in public health in the industrialized world.

Financing our health care system with American private insurance is an ongoing disaster. It leaves millions of us with limited or no access to health care. It consumes $350 billion in administration that might otherwise provide real health care. This factor dwarfs the effects of everything mentioned in the report.

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