#HealthCare (Part 1 in a Series)
A little history about me: prior to working in civil litigation, I did menial work in healthcare for four years, and reproductive health education (as part of broader duties) for Planned Parenthood for two years before that. While working for Group Health, I did CLIAA waived testing, worked with providers and other departments (I was in Lab), and was an active member of my union, joining other members at the bargaining table, and spending a lot of time on health insurance. While at Providence, I hung out in microbiology far too much (processing a 72-hour stool specimen for fecal fat is...a thing), as well as stints in the Emergency Department, and pediatric ICU (I could get blood samples from basically anyone).
While I tout the work that my firms have done on excessive force claims, child abuse and rape claims (on behalf of the children), and catastrophic collisions, the bread and butter is good old fashioned Personal Injury. Often, this means engaging with and working to ensure coverage for medical expenses, and dealing with insurers and providers that can be a royal pain in the ass. The sad fact is I am a nerd who loves subrogation law, however, so when they try to come at clients my firm represents, I come twice as hard with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of case law, contract interpretation, and as polite a demeanor as possible.
Also of note - I'm a bit of a revenue nerd. Heidi Groover described it as being "[l]ike a grad student who's cornered you at a party," and I confess I've had to teach myself to watch out for people's eyes glossing over. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a fan of nuance, and the details of policy is where I find most of the nuance I need to nourish myself (the rest coming from the tears of white dudes who think I'm too mean to white dudes).
Today I will begin a series I have been tossing around in my head for awhile - a multi-part (I have no idea how long this will go) about healthcare. To start: I am a supporter of a universal healthcare system that provides free basic and necessary medical care and treatment to all residents of the United States. I'm also not opposed to the Britain component - let some folks buy more for more things if they so choose. That there is any person in this country who has no access to insurance due to finances, or has insurance, but has no meaningful access to preventative care options because of finances (I'm sorry, a $5,000.00 deductible + 20% co-insurance is not exactly inviting for a lot of folks) is a goddamn tragedy.
But - despite what the memes might say, or what folks may hear from a certain Senator from Vermont, single-payer isn't easy, isn't simple, and if the GOP offered to do it today, I would oppose the legislation. Things that weave into single-payer: taxes, education, advertising for pharmaceutical companies, public investment in pharmaceutical and other research, what a real "need" is for radiology procedures, income for medical professionals, third-party and no-fault liability plans, car insurance, subrogation, rural hospitals, rural broadband access, and abortion. Plus a lot more, I'm sure - but these are just some of the things that my experience has taught me are part of the game.
Lately, I've seen a lot of dudes dismissive of women for various things, so I'm going to start this series with why I would oppose single-payer if it were offered tomorrow by the GOP as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act: The Hyde Amendment.
For those new to abortion politics, the Hyde Amendment is garbage. Introduced in 1976 by a Republican from Illinois, the amendment basically means that no federal dollars through Health and Human Services can pay for abortions. In practice, this means poor women who rely on Medicaid are denied access to abortion services simply for being poor. Until 1994, that meant all abortions. The Republican Party was so interested in women's uteri that victims of rape or incest were deemed incapable of making a choice, and were forced to carry to term (this changed in 1994 - so now victims of incest, rape, or danger to a woman's life, are exceptions to the Hyde Amendment).
Any single-payer plan would be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. So while we currently have abortion services covered by health insurers across the country, by going to single-payer, only those women who could afford to pay out of pocket or for supplemental insurance to cover abortion services would have access to safe abortions.
There really isn't much more to say. One of the (few? only?) benefits of the private health insurance market has been abortion access, and that would necessarily be stripped with a single-payer system unless the Hyde Amendment is repealed. So as we continue to make progress on convincing pols and voters that single-payer is the best option, it is incumbent to continue to ensure we are elected folks who not only support single-payer, but are willing to hold the line for repeal of the Hyde Amendment in the process. Anything less would be just be shitty.
Up next: Taxes.