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Single-Payer Group: Ruling Is ‘Inadequate’

Health Care for All Oregon has responded to the Supreme Court decision on Obama’s Affordable Care Act, welcoming the survival of the legislation’s consumer protections, but saying the ACA “remains inadequate” and helps entrench insurance industry profits.

A statement from HCAO says “the act categorically excludes millions of undocumented persons and will leave over 25 million persons in the U.S. uninsured. The system of private insurance continues to collapse, imposing on families a rising requirement to pay more for less. The rapid spread of high deductibles and high co-pays will lead to continued self-rationing, expensive delayed care and continued widespread medical bankruptcy.”

Eugene single-payer activist Ruth Duemler has a more optimistic view of the Supreme Court ruling and its impact on Oregon, saying, “My understanding is that over 400,000 more Oregonians will have health care and we are looking at the possible new opening for single-payer plan in our state.”

Portland anesthesiologist Samuel Metz, M.D., tells EW in an email that the ACA “was largely irrelevant to health care even before the Supreme Court decision. It was specifically designed to sell more health insurance policies, which most people mistake for health care. The ACA will indeed succeed in selling more policies even with Supreme Court modifications. However, it will not make policies less expensive, nor will it make care more affordable, nor will it make care more accessible.” Metz is a member of HCAO, Physicians for a National Health Program and Mad As Hell Doctors, but he is speaking as an individual. 

Metz says Obama’s plan is closely modeled after Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. “The Romney plan succeeded brilliantly in selling more insurance. Over 95 percent of Massachusetts residents now proudly own a policy. However, public health has not improved. Medically related bankruptcies have not gone down. Lives lost to treatable diseases has not decreased.”

“What has gone up, and spectacularly so,” says Metz, “is the cost of health care: Massachusetts residents now pay twice what they did in 2006 when the law was enacted.”

In its statement HCAO says it “continues to advocate for a truly universal publicly funded system that guarantees the fundamental right to health care to everyone living in the U.S. Everybody in, nobody out!”