Health care ‘a right, not a privilege,’ says Veteran Lawmaker
(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) announced on Monday that he would be introducing legislation to establish a single-payer healthcare system in the state of New Jersey.
“For decades, we’ve treated healthcare as a privilege, and not a right,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “We’re the only industrialized nation that lets its citizens face financial ruin if they get sick. The fact of the matter is healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. If we introduce a single-payer system, we ensure that everyone will have access to healthcare.”
The Affordable Care Act allows states to establish health care exchanges for the purpose of easily connecting citizens with insurers matched to their needs. The act provides for considerable discretion to the states in designing and managing these exchanges; a single-payer system would be permissible under, and in fact enabled by, federal law.
By combining aspects from a variety of health care financing schemes, the single-payer system alters the pathway by which care is paid for, while leaving patient rights and autonomy completely untouched. In other words, the patient maintains control over all their health care decisions, including which doctors they see and which hospitals they use without network restrictions, while the state government, as the “single payer,” negotiates costs and foots the bill for care.
“Much like Medicare or Medicaid, under a single-payer system the government would negotiate rates with hospitals and insurers. Because of how many people they represent, government has a lot of clout, and can negotiate better prices than other organizations,” Gusciora explained.
Assemblyman Gusciora drew inspiration for his plan from U.S. Bernie Sanders’ proposed federal single-payer system.
“I think that social equality and justice are on the minds of Americans now more than ever before. I think the time is right to make some big changes that’ll take us big steps in the right direction,” Gusciora said.
“Americans pay more for health care than any other industrialized nation, and our financing system is unique. It’s pretty obvious that’s where the problem lies,” Gusciora finished. “When we pass single-payer care, we can demonstrate to the nation that there is a way to provide patient autonomy, quality care, insure all your citizens, and keep costs reasonable.”