Study Released on Capitol Hill Shows Single Payer is Feasible and Would Save Billions

On Wednesday, July 31, Congressman John Conyers and three other legislators celebrated Medicare’s 48th Birthday on Capitol Hill by hosting a briefing by Professor Gerald Friedman who released his study of the funding of HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, showing that single payer health care is feasible and would save 592 billion in one year.

Following the briefing, Congressman Conyers was joined by Representatives Mark Takano and Keith Ellison and Senator Bernie Sanders in a press conference to call for enactment of single payer health care. The events were cosponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program, Public Citizen, and a number of other organizations.

Professor Friedman’s study was covered by The Hill and Becker’s Hospital Review. The Huffington Post ran an opinion piece by Conyers and Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. Conyers’ Op Ed appeared in The Hill and his Medicare Birthday Statement was presented in the House.

University of Massachusetts Professor Gerald Friedman’s full study is available here:

Excerpts and links to the articles are here:

1. Study: Single-payer healthcare system would save billions

By Lara Seligman The Hill, Healthwatch blog, July 31, 2013 Expanding the nation's Medicare program to cover people of all ages would save the government billions of dollars, according to a new study released Wednesday. The study found that a single-payer health care system based on the principles of legislation by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, would save the federal government about $592 billion in one year. That's more than enough to pay for comprehensive benefits for all Americans at a lower cost to the public, according to Physicians for a National Health Program, which circulated the study. The extra money would go to paying down the national debt. Full story:

2. Happy 48th birthday, Medicare

By Rep. John Conyers Jr. The Hill, July 29, 2013 I believe Medicare For All is the answer, which is why I have introduced and advocated for since 2003 a publicly funded, privately distributed insurance program, H.R. 676. Even with the expansion of access that ACA will provide, there will still be those who fall through the gaps or who struggle to pay for the costs of medical care. This would not be the case under a single-payer program like H.R. 676. More:

3. Fulfilling the Promise of Medicare

By Rep. John Conyers and Robert Weissman The Huffington Post, July 30, 2013 Nearly five decades after its enactment, here's what we know: Medicare saves money by eliminating all the waste associated with the for-profit insurance industry. And Medicare provides coverage to everyone eligible. In stark contrast, the for-profit insurers condition care on ability to pay ... and then still try to deny care to those who have paid. That's five decades of evidence that indicates the solution to our nation's healthcare crisis isn't cutting Medicare. It's strengthening Medicare and expanding it to cover everyone. However the Affordable Care Act ultimately plays out, we know two things for certain: Millions of Americans will remain uncovered and the for-profit insurance industry will remain in charge of prices and life-and-death treatment decisions. As President Obama once stated, the only way to ensure everyone is covered is with Medicare-for-All, a single-payer system. More:

4. Study: Single-Payer Health System Feasible, Could Save $1.8 Trillion in 10 Years

By Bob Herman

Becker’s Hospital Review, July 31, 2013

A new study shows that expanding Medicare to every American citizen would not only achieve universal coverage and trillions in savings, but it’s also feasible to implement based on legislation that has already been proposed.

Gerald Friedman, PhD, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, released his study today in Washington, D.C., at a congressional briefing. The basis of Dr. Friedman’s research is HR 676 — the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act — which is a bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) in February that would establish a single-payer health care program. The bill has been proposed for 11 straight years.

In his study, Dr. Friedman said if Rep. Conyers’ bill were signed into law, the expansion of Medicare could “paradoxically” save the U.S. health care system $592 billion in 2014 alone. The main savings would come from slashing “administrative waste” in the private health insurance industry and using the government’s bargaining power to obtain cheaper pharmaceuticals, according to the report. Over the next decade, the study suggested savings could reach $1.8 trillion.