Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

More on single-payer health

Thanks for your comments. My support for single-payer health insurance will make more sense if I tell you more about myself.

1. I grew up in Canada and "lived" the single-payer health insurance experience. It really works! It even works for corporations: they relocate jobs to Canada for the sake of saving money on health insurance! (Dental care, eyeglasses, and prescription drugs are not covered by provincial insurance plans, so employers do incur some costs, but the big items, outpatient and inpatient care, are covered.)

2. Here in California, I belong to Kaiser Permanente, which is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to a single-payer model. I can use any Kaiser facility I want. My doctor does not have to file an insurance claim or seek approval before treating me. And like a provincial government in Canada, Kaiser invests in preventive medicine because it recognizes the benefits. Kaiser is one of the few health insurers to promote immunizations directly to its members, for example.

3. I have individual health insurance because I am an independent businessperson. Recent efforts to shore up employer health plans (including the new state law, set to take effect in 2006/2007) don't help people like me. Were I in the market for insurance today, I would have no choice but to work for "the man".

4. I am in a same-sex relationship. Again, employer health insurance and government mandates don't help. In the few cases where my partner would be covered, his benefits would be fully taxable (yup, health insurance benefits for us fags are taxable, both to the State of California and to the Federal Government).

Everyone should be entitled to health insurance. UFCW's efforts on behalf of the Safeway employees, or our legislators' efforts on behalf of people who work for intermediate-size employers, don't do a damn thing to help people like me.

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