Approximately 100,000 Delawareans have no health insurance and equal numbers of Delawareans have inadequate health coverage. Nationwide more than 42 million Americans are uninsured. That is 1 out of 7 Americans without health insurance. Most Delawareans without health insurance are workers and their families and the number of the working uninsured is expected to increase significantly over the next decade.

Those that do have private health insurance have seen double digit increases in their premiums at a rate of more than 12 percent a year for the past two years and double digit increases are forecast into the future. Less health care for more money! We are all just a pink slip away from paying the full cost of our health insurance or being uninsured ourselves. Remember, our health care system is run as a for profit corporate model where profits trump appropriate care. The health care industry is deciding who gets medical care and who does not. The for- profit health care industry is more concerned with the health of their bottom line than with your health. That's why your share of medical costs, co-payments, premiums and deductibles keep going up. Profiting on the back of the sick is not a humane system of health care.

The present bureaucratic public-private partnership system scheme is increasingly unresponsive to health needs and has taken important medical decisions away from health care professionals and patients and placed them into the hands of insurance company administrators. The current system is designed to preserve the current structure.

The present health care insurance system is increasingly bureaucratic and wastefully expensive, with hundreds of millions of health care dollars going to insurance company profits and to corporate overhead and administrative costs, including excessively high CEO salaries, lobbying expenses, marketing, and multiple and needlessly complex claims processing procedures. These costs eat anywhere from 9% to 30% of our health care spending. Managed care has become managed cost and has not proven to be the cure for escalating health costs. The next time you see a roadside billboard touting the merits of a particular health care corporation for profit insurer ask yourself how many diagnoses and operations were denied or delayed so they could market their company. The cost of that billboard did not buy one band-aid.

Another cost is fraud and corruption. One example of many is the HealthSouth Corporation, a healthcare provider of outpatient surgery, sports medicine and rehabilitation. They are being sued by the SEC alleging that since 1999 HealthSouth had overstated profits by at least $1.4 billion. Three of HealthSouth finance officials have pleaded guilty to federal fraud chares. Mr. Scrushy, CEO helped found the company in 1984 after learning the healthcare business at a Texas hospital company in the early 1980's. He took HealthSouth public two years later. Since then the CEO has made $225.6 million from the sale of company stock, according to Thomson Financial. At the same time, he purchased $73.6 million of company shares on the open market and by exercising stock options. HealthSouth stock, which in 1998 sold on the New York Stock Exchange at a high of $30.56 a share, now sells for pennies. HealthSouth has since fired Mr. Scrushy. He can no longer use any of the company's 12 jets.

In order to preserve their role of for profit providers, the health-care industry has lavished political contributions on Capitol Hill and flooded the airwaves with manipulative advertising decrying any comprehensive reform other than FOR-PROFIT.

The crisis is not limited to current workers. Bethlehem Steel recently cancelled its contribution to their retirees' health benefits. Based on the current trend more than half of employers plan to raise premiums and increase co-payments for retirees over the next three years. Many say they are likely to eliminate health coverage for future retirees. A Kaiser Family Foundation study indicated 82% of employers said they plan to increase retiree premiums over the next three years and 85% said they plan to increase prescription drug co-payments. (Many prescription drugs can be purchased in Canada for 50% less than the cost in the U.S.)

Part 2: Solution, House Bill 62

The Delaware Health Security Act (House Bill 62) will provide all current and future Delaware citizens and our economy a non-government run program and cost effective single payer health care system.

This system eliminates unnecessary multi-payer brokers and will save approximately 40 percent of total funds now wasted by paperwork, profits, advertising, lobbying, fraud,etc. These annual savings and a stabilized funding structure with accountable budgets will enable our state to provide the following health care benefits to all citizens and our state's economy:

  • Comprehensive health care coverage (physicians and specialists, hospital needs, long-term care, pharmaceutical drugs, dental care, mental health, drug rehabilitation, special equipment and aids, etc.) from conception until death without any extra health insurance or out-of-pocket expense.
  • Eliminates the huge double-digit annual increases in health care costs, only the rate of inflation will apply.
  • Will return health care decision-making to physicians, dentists and other healthcare professional staff.
  • Eliminates the pauper requirement that one must give up all savings and property before receiving Medicare/Medicaid funds for long-term care.
  • Will eliminate huge healthcare debts, major cause of personal bankruptcies and the ability to buy a home.
  • Will eliminate the destructive, debilitating effects of chronic stress on our uninsured, underinsured and their families.
  • Will significantly elevate our ranking of from 45th or lower among states on health care challenges such as well babies, women's health, cancer, etc.
  • Personal health care savings will add $1 billion annually to our state's economy.

This Act will be administered by a 15 member Delaware Health Security Board comprised as follows: State Secretary of Health and Social Services, appointed by the Governor; Two members from both the State House of Representatives and State Senate Committees concerned with health care issues; five members from state health professional organizations and five members from eligible consumer organizations in our state.

There will be a County Advisory Council in each of our state's three counties. The appointments and membership will be from the same sources as the State Health Security Board with the requirement that all Council members must be residents of the county they serve. These County Advisory Councils will work with and through the State's Board in more effectively implementing the planning, operation and evaluation of the Delaware Health Security Act.

Funding for the Act will be as follows:

  • All State and federal funds available for health and health care costs in Delaware.
  • Employer and employee graduated payroll tax of from 2% for self-employed individuals to 9% for businesses with 50 or more employees.
  • A health security tax of 2.5% on net taxable income for all heads of households and persons subject to Delaware's income tax.
  • An additional health security income surtax on net taxable income of 2.5% for persons filing a Delaware income tax return in excess of $250,000. Married couples filing a joint Delaware income tax return shall pay an additional income tax surtax of 2.5% on net taxable income in excess of $500,00.

The most important overall result from enacting this systemic health care reform legislation is that adequate initial and continuous funding is available to halt the deterioration of our current health care situation. Ample funds will be available for additional facilities, staffing, program improvement and both pre-service and continuing education investments.

  • You will have access to high-quality, comprehensive medical care, including care for mental illness and substance abuse.
  • You have your choice of doctors and hospitals.
  • You receive no bills, make no co-payments and pay no deductibles.
  • You participate without regard to your employment status. You don't stop participating when you lose your job. You don't change your plan when you change jobs.
  • You get annual checkups so that potential problems are caught early.
  • You and your doctor make the decisions about your health care.
  • You get the prescription drugs you need at little or no cost.
  • You do not have to fill out insurance forms or seek reimbursement.
  • You can choose to pay for cosmetic, vision correction or other elective surgery or upgraded hospital accommodations.
  • If you suffer medical malpractice, you are compensated quickly and fairly without the need for litigation.
Sponsor Rep. Williams.
Co-Sponsor Senator Henry
Co-Sponsors Sen. Marshall, Reps. Keeley, B. Ennis
Status Sent to House Economic Development/Banking and Insurance Committee
House Economic Development/Banking and Insurance Members Donna Stone, Chair, D.Ennis, Vice Chair, V.George Carey, Deborah Hudson, Tina Fallon, Gerald Hocker, Gregory Lavelle, Joseph Miro, Robert Valihura, William Houghton, Helene Keeley.

For more information contact the Delaware Health Security Coalation, 1-888-439-0215.

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