A group of 51 legislators - including two area lawmakers - is trying to push the state's landmark 2006 health care reform law even further by establishing single-payer health care.
"Could the reason this bill enjoys so much support by legislators be because only 60-70 percent of our health care dollars are actually spent on health care," Patrick asked of the Joint Committee on Public Health yesterday. "Could it be that legislators deal directly with the discontent of constituents under the current 'revamped'system in Massachusetts?"Contact Congress in support of the National Single-Payer Amendments Now. Of special importance to the Massachusetts legislation is the Kucinich Amendment to H.R. 3200 on the House, which enables states to enact their own single payer programs without running into problems with ERISA laws.
Patrick said a single-payer system would control the problem of rising health care premiums, which he said have increased by 130 percent nationally since 1999. Patrick said the problem of rising premiums is even more pronounced in Massachusetts, and have made the state's current health care system unsustainable.
"We have the highest cost for health care, per capita, in the history of the world," Patrick said.
Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, professor of medicine at Harvard University, testified that studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown a single-payer system would reduce state health care costs by 15 percent, amounting to $9 billion in savings.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention that Pennsylvania is also experiencing a push for Single-Payer:
Close to 1500 Pennsylvanians packed the main capitol rotunda recently to call for passage of a bill that could make their state the first in the nation to put a single payer health insurance plan in place.
Following the rally, the crowd broke into smaller groups, and many headed for the offices of key legislators to urge support for the two key bills which would bring a single payer plan to the keystone state. House Bill 1660 and its companion Senate Bill 400 have the support of organizations ranging from PNHP and the Progressive Democrats of America to the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, represented at the rally by its president Bill George, to the non partisan League of Women Voters. Governor Ed Rendell has said he would sign single payer legislation if it reaches his desk.