Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nader's 1974 Warning On National Health Insurance Revisited

In his July 1974 testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Public Citizen Health Research Group spokesperson Ralph Nader stated the following:

“To take the worst features of what now passes for a health care system in the form of billions of dollars in annual retentions (profits and expenses) for private health insurance companies, billions wasted on unnecessary hospitalizations, inappropriate and useless drugs, and thousands of excess hospital beds—and then to add to this a so-called national health insurance plan which requires low-wage earners to pay far more of their income than the rich through payroll taxes, deductibles and coinsurance—is to perpetuate a fraud on the American public.

“There is no room in taxpayer funded national health insurance for private insurance companies. They have already proved they are far more concerned with their over $5 billion profits and retentions than with providing low-cost comprehensive preventive health care.

“You only have to look over the history of Metropolitan, Prudential, and other health and life insurance companies…to see how little attention is being paid to preventive health care…

“Congress should reject any plan designed to massively subsidize a private corporate insurance system whose primary objectives are increasing their wasteful ways and increasing profits.

“What is needed…is a federally administered publicly accountable financing mechanism with revenues derived from progressive taxing mechanisms.

“This is also an important point. The taxing system to fund these plans should not be regressive. It should be progressive in fact…”

(Downtown 10/13/93)