Click here to download file
Many publications demonstrate that single payer plans save money, control costs, and cover everyone
Ellen Shaffer and U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone described the Senator’s bill in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993.
In the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Shaffer describes a national assessment of state proposals for access. A health service plan and single payer plans scored the best.
The California Health Care Options Project described 8 plans for expanding coverage. Only health service and single payer plans controlled costs and covered everyone. The links below describe the health service plan proposed by Ellen Shaffer.
Testimony to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Universal Health Care Task Force, Black Caucus, and Hispanic Caucus,
May 1, 2001
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD, MPH
Representative Bill Thomas said it in 1999: The voluntary, employment-based system of health insurance is fatally flawed. Professor Donald Light notes that 43% of all businesses currently do not offer health insurance, and many that do are providing “Swiss cheese health insurance:” full of holes where in reality there is no coverage.
We sat down with a group of 12 Latino janitors, who are mono-lingual in Spanish, to find out why so many unionized janitors and food service workers are uninsured.
All the workers were working longer than a year, and not one of the twelve had succeeded in enrolling for health insurance. Employers don’t take the extra steps required to assure enrollment, and in fact often work hard to evade it; and it is too hard, especially for workers who don’t speak English, to understand and enforce their rights, and to navigate the system. Getting coverage depends on the employer, often a small business subcontractor, informing the employee that he or she has become eligible, correctly filling out the enrollment forms, and paying the insurance company every month. This had never occurred, for any of these workers.
Every one of them had delayed getting necessary health care for themselves and their families because they could not afford it. One man reported working for three weeks after dislocating his shoulder at work. His manager ignored his requests for help, and the employer responded to a letter asking for medical attention by threatening to call the police.
Click here to read testimony
Shaffer/Wellstone: Health Reform 1994
Ellen Shaffer and Senator Paul Wellstone described the value of the single payer approach, the pitfalls of the Clinton market based approach, and the political choices for health reform, in the chapter on “Health Reform” in State of the Union 1994:The Clinton Administration and the Nation in Profile, published by IPS:
“Every other system in the world controls the amount that health-care providers are paid. Under Canada’s single-payer system, provinces negotiate with doctors to set rates and with hospitals to set global annual budgets. Multiple-payer systems like those of France and Germany also set fees, though heavily regulated workplace-based insurance companies play a role along with the government in negotiating and enforcing rates. Britain’s national health service pays hospitals and hires doctors and nurses directly.”
“Should we compromise for half a step now and keep fighting, as we did with Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, and risk that the other half step may be decades in coming? If the insurance industry remains in the picture, and a few large companies consolidate their grip, the other step may never be taken. Or should we hold out for something better, as in the late 1970s, and risk getting nothing at all?…If lost this time, the opportunity for meaningful reform could vanish for years.”