Single payer is the only way to go
The current health care debates in the U.S. Senate are going nowhere and are simply kafkaesque (confusing, illogical and non-sensical). Every U.S. president, since President Roosevelt in 1938, wanted to pass a national health care bill for everyone living in the USA. However, because of the massive health care lobby, which boils down to money and who gets it, it never came to a vote in the U.S. Congress.
President Obama had good intentions and the Affordable Care Act was finally passed in 2010. Unfortunately, it did not go far enough and had some major flaws which are: 1-It still left about 25 to 30 million Americans without health insurance; 2-It did not do anything to control and decrease health care pricing for hospital care, medications and the cost of medical devices; 3-The penalties which ACA imposed on those Americans who did not purchase health insurance were simply not fair and received a lot of criticism both by the Democrats and the Republicans.
Now we have come to a stage where the Republican-controlled Congress wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with a brand new health care bill for all of us. This has produced a major quagmire in the U.S. Senate, since no one knows exactly how to do that.
Almost $3 trillion is spent on health care-related costs in the USA and no one knows where all of the money is going to (about $160 billion is spent on fraud alone). All of the countries in Europe spend about $1 trillion on their health care and the Europeans seem to be happy with the care that they receive.
So now, we have to reach the conclusion that simply expanding Medicare to cover all of us who are living in the USA (HR 676) is the only logical way to proceed. All of the infrastructure is in place and only adjustments for both physician and hospital costs would have to be made that are fair and just. The major criteria are that we all have quality health care coverage from birth to death.
If anyone has any doubts that a single-payer health care program is the way to solve our curent health care quagmire, then I recomend that you read the book "Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price," by Jonathan Cohn, published by Harper Collins in 2008.
Rade Pejic M.D.