Free Health Care for all? Is this something that the 99% wants?
Overwhelmingly, YES! Survey and other forms of public opinion data show that this is a very popular issue with Americans. According to 2007 telephone survey and focus group research sponsored by Opportunity Agenda, 72% of Americans “strongly” believe that access to healthcare should be a human right. Multiple polling agencies have confirmed that an overwhelming majority of Americans suport a public health care system. In a December, 2007, ASSOCIATED PRESS-YAHOO POLL , 65% of surveyed participants stated support for a national level “Medicare” system. A Quinnipiac poll in 2008 showed that 64% of Americans supported government provision of health care. In a 2009 Kaiser Health tracking poll, 69 of surveyed responded favored a government-run public health system.
Survey USA’s 2009 poll found that 77% of Americans polled agreed with the proposed “public option” plan, proposed by the Obama Administration. Although the public option is not the same as a single payer, it did demonstrate strong support that the government get involved in provided health care and lowering costs. The New York Times/CBS poll in June 2009 found that 57% of Americans were willing to support higher taxes to provide health care for all, with 64% of those making less than $50,000 (which is above the national average income). The same poll found that 85% of Americans wanted a fundamental change in the health care system Not only will a single payer/universal system help create jobs, by hiring sufficient health care workers, but it will also help create additional, non-health services jobs. More employers, especially small businesses, will not have to worry about singularly shouldering the increasing “fringe” costs- mostly made up of employer contributions to health care premiums.
Vermont has passed a law that will provide single payer health care for its citizens. While such a plan will not be with out hiccups and political skeptics, this is similar to the way that the public health care plan in Canada was established: One province (Saskatchewan) passed the “Medical Care Insurance Act,” first; other provinces followed suit after it was seen as successful and popular.
Providing high quality, public, and accessible health care to Americans will help connect OWS to the needs to the 99%. Americans are increasingly facing health care vulnerabilitys. According to the New York based Commonwealth Fund, 52 million Americans are without health insurance. An additional 73 millions adults had difficulties paying for health care, and another 75 million have deferred health care procedures because of cost concerns. Of those with health insurance, 49 million Americans spent 10% of more of their income on health insurance costs, including premiums and out of pocket expenses. As the only Western industrialized country without universal health care, the United States can do better!
Will it cost too much? While implementing a universal, national health care system won’t be cheap, evidence from other countries suggest that it will be a possible way to cut costs. The implementation of the universal system in Taiwan resulted in cuts to health care cost inflation, leading to savings.
 Belden Russonello and Steward for the Opportunity Agenda, Human Rights in the United States, August 2007 http://opportunityagenda.org/pdfs/HUMAN%20RIGHTS%20REPORT.PDF
 SurveyUSA, “ Results of SurveyUSA News Poll #15699” August 20, 2009, http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=5ba17aa2-f1b9-4445-a6b8-62b9d1ba8693
 Lucy Madison, “Vermont governor signs single-payer health law,” CBS News, May 26, 2011,http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20066495-503544.html
 The Commonwealth Fund, “2010 Commonwealth Fund Annual Report,”
 Jui-Fen Rachel Lu and William C. Hsiao, “Does Universal Health Insurance Make Health Care Unaffordable? Lessons From Taiwan,” Health Affairs 22, no. 3 (May 1, 2003): 77 -88.