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Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network

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WE CAN DO BETTER

In the United States:

43 million have no health insurance.
This number is increasing even in times of high employment and general economic prosperity.

Millions more are under-insured.
Many don't know until the insurance company denies them treatment or medicine they need.

There is no security.
A person with good insurance now may lose a job and its health insurance at any time.

The current system wastes money.
Every year, $100 billion that should pay for health care goes to insurance company profits and expenses.

Marginal reforms won't fix these problems.
Adjusting Medicare benefits and assuring rights within corporate HMOs is helpful, but U. S. health care needs a basic solution - universal health care.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

We think the voting public should be clamoring for universal health care. By this, we mean non-profit health insurance for everybody in America. It should be financed by taxes, administered by the government rather than a profit-seeking corporation, and subject to public scrutiny. Ordinary workers, unemployed people and children should have the same coverage as Senators, private executives and so on.

A suitable program might be called a national health plan, or single-payer health insurance, or Medicare for All. The name of the program is not important. So long as it is democratically controlled, the initial plan can be adjusted as needed.

We think health care should be a right.

MichUHCAN holds regular public meetings to discuss the details of this issue. We send speakers and literature to meetings of interested groups. We also set up our literature table at any appropriate local events that we can manage. We maintain a web site with a collection of factual, informative articles and useful links. We are searching for ways to do more.

If you agree with us but are not interested in joining our group just now, please still do something. Write a letter to your local paper or your congressman. Talk to people at work, in your church or temple or mosque, in your neighborhood. Mention it to your doctor or nurse. If you are a doctor or nurse, mention it to your patients. Every bit helps.

If you are ready to learn more and to do more, please come to one of our meetings. We need your fresh ideas and energy. Together, we can do more.

HOW ABOUT H. R. 1200?

There is one proposal now before the Congress which actually would make health care a legal right. H. R. 1200, the American Health Security Act of 1999, would bring universal health care coverage to this country.

The principal sponsor is Rep. Jim McDermott (D, Washington). There are 19 co-sponsors to date, including Reps. Conyers and Bonior from Michigan. (Since this pamphlet was printed, Rep. Rivers of Michigan has also signed on as a co-sponsor.)

This bill promises to eliminate both insurance company bureaucracies and the corresponding administrative burden on doctors and hospitals. It would put money into providing health care services instead of red tape.

H. R. 1200 would replace all other federally funded health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and so on with one plan that covers everyone equally. (We think this is the best way to save Medicare.)

The federal government would pay 86% of the cost of the program, with the balance being paid by the state governments. It would be funded by an employer tax of 8.7% plus an income tax of 2.2%, plus whatever taxes are needed at the state level. States would administer the program locally, in accordance with requirements set at the national level.

If H. R. 1200 can be passed, that will be a wonderful success. If it does not pass, we will make universal health care as much of an issue in the 2000 elections as we can. After that we intend to put as much pressure on the new Congress and the new state legislature and the local press as we can.

If you agree with these goals, you should be part of the fight to achieve them. And it is a fight.

Opponents of any plan for universal health care will say how bad "big government" might be, without noting the demonstrated evils of big business. They forget the government administers Medicare for less than 5 cents out of each dollar while private insurance spends 25 % of premiums on administrative expenses. Facts show the superior efficiency of the "free market" is, in this case, just a myth.

Corporate money controls political policy on this issue - until we speak up, loud and clear. Please add your voice.