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Single payer (Medicare for All/House Resolution 676) is favored by 59 percent of physicians and 62 percent of Americans, according to Physicians for National Health Program. Single payer would be far simpler, cover everybody and be much cheaper than the current mess involving hundreds of private insurance companies. Congressman Conyers' Web site says an average family of four with an employer-provided health plan now spends about $4,225 on health care annually. The employer pays about $8,510 as their share, or 8.5 percent of payroll, for a total of about $12,735.

Under single payer, a family of four with the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 through payroll taxes; the employer would pay a 4.75 percent payroll tax or about $2,700, for a total of about $5,400. All Americans would be insured by the federal government: no more deductibles, co-pays, insurance premiums, worry about pre-existing conditions, catastrophic illness, or losing coverage because of job changes. All necessary medical procedures, including dental, eye care, drugs, mental health and long-term care would be covered. Ninety-five percent of families would pay less for health care.

By eliminating private insurers, huge savings would result. In the first year, single payer would save $150 billion in administrative costs and $50 billion through competitive drug purchases. Yet single payer may not happen. Why? Because Senator Baucus will not give single payer a hearing. He continues to push the private insurance approach, possibly due to over $1 million in "contributions" he received from insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Want to guess who Baucus really works for?

Auzie Blevins

Billings

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