Approximately 100,000 Delawareans have no health insurance and equal numbers of Delawareans have inadequate health coverage. Nationwide more than 42 million Americans are uninsured. That is 1 out of 7 Americans without health insurance. Most Delawareans without health insurance are workers and their families and the number of the working uninsured is expected to increase significantly over the next decade.
Those that do have private health insurance have seen double digit increases in their premiums at a rate of more than 12 percent a year for the past two years and double digit increases are forecast into the future. Less health care for more money! We are all just a pink slip away from paying the full cost of our health insurance or being uninsured ourselves. Remember, our health care system is run as a for profit corporate model where profits trump appropriate care. The health care industry is deciding who gets medical care and who does not. The for- profit health care industry is more concerned with the health of their bottom line than with your health. That's why your share of medical costs, co-payments, premiums and deductibles keep going up. Profiting on the back of the sick is not a humane system of health care.
The present bureaucratic public-private partnership system scheme is increasingly unresponsive to health needs and has taken important medical decisions away from health care professionals and patients and placed them into the hands of insurance company administrators. The current system is designed to preserve the current structure.
The present health care insurance system is increasingly bureaucratic and wastefully expensive, with hundreds of millions of health care dollars going to insurance company profits and to corporate overhead and administrative costs, including excessively high CEO salaries, lobbying expenses, marketing, and multiple and needlessly complex claims processing procedures. These costs eat anywhere from 9% to 30% of our health care spending. Managed care has become managed cost and has not proven to be the cure for escalating health costs. The next time you see a roadside billboard touting the merits of a particular health care corporation for profit insurer ask yourself how many diagnoses and operations were denied or delayed so they could market their company. The cost of that billboard did not buy one band-aid.
Another cost is fraud and corruption. One example of many is the HealthSouth Corporation, a healthcare provider of outpatient surgery, sports medicine and rehabilitation. They are being sued by the SEC alleging that since 1999 HealthSouth had overstated profits by at least $1.4 billion. Three of HealthSouth finance officials have pleaded guilty to federal fraud chares. Mr. Scrushy, CEO helped found the company in 1984 after learning the healthcare business at a Texas hospital company in the early 1980's. He took HealthSouth public two years later. Since then the CEO has made $225.6 million from the sale of company stock, according to Thomson Financial. At the same time, he purchased $73.6 million of company shares on the open market and by exercising stock options. HealthSouth stock, which in 1998 sold on the New York Stock Exchange at a high of $30.56 a share, now sells for pennies. HealthSouth has since fired Mr. Scrushy. He can no longer use any of the company's 12 jets.
In order to preserve their role of for profit providers, the health-care industry has lavished political contributions on Capitol Hill and flooded the airwaves with manipulative advertising decrying any comprehensive reform other than FOR-PROFIT.
The crisis is not limited to current workers. Bethlehem Steel recently cancelled its contribution to their retirees' health benefits. Based on the current trend more than half of employers plan to raise premiums and increase co-payments for retirees over the next three years. Many say they are likely to eliminate health coverage for future retirees. A Kaiser Family Foundation study indicated 82% of employers said they plan to increase retiree premiums over the next three years and 85% said they plan to increase prescription drug co-payments. (Many prescription drugs can be purchased in Canada for 50% less than the cost in the U.S.)
Part 2: Solution, House Bill 62
The Delaware Health Security Act (House Bill 62) will provide all current and future Delaware citizens and our economy a non-government run program and cost effective single payer health care system.
This system eliminates unnecessary multi-payer brokers and will save approximately 40 percent of total funds now wasted by paperwork, profits, advertising, lobbying, fraud,etc. These annual savings and a stabilized funding structure with accountable budgets will enable our state to provide the following health care benefits to all citizens and our state's economy:
This Act will be administered by a 15 member Delaware Health Security Board comprised as follows: State Secretary of Health and Social Services, appointed by the Governor; Two members from both the State House of Representatives and State Senate Committees concerned with health care issues; five members from state health professional organizations and five members from eligible consumer organizations in our state.
There will be a County Advisory Council in each of our state's three counties. The appointments and membership will be from the same sources as the State Health Security Board with the requirement that all Council members must be residents of the county they serve. These County Advisory Councils will work with and through the State's Board in more effectively implementing the planning, operation and evaluation of the Delaware Health Security Act.
Funding for the Act will be as follows:
The most important overall result from enacting this systemic health care reform legislation is that adequate initial and continuous funding is available to halt the deterioration of our current health care situation. Ample funds will be available for additional facilities, staffing, program improvement and both pre-service and continuing education investments.
For more information contact the Delaware Health Security Coalation, 1-888-439-0215.