March 16, 2021

Sen. Jeanine Calkin at (401) 921-6682




Senate OKs Calkin resolution urging Congress to enact single-payer health care


STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. Jeanine Calkin urging the U.S. Congress to establish a single-payer health care system.

The resolution points to the health inequities that were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the high costs of health care under the fractured United States health care system.

“Health care is a human right. Every other industrialized nation in the world provides it to citizens, and their results are better health at a much lower cost. We must face the facts: America’s systems are not providing effective health care, are costing far too much, and are leaving far too many people without the health care they need,” said Senator Calkin (D-Dist. 30, Warwick). “Our poor, our middle class and our minority communities are disproportionately harmed by the resulting high costs and the lack of available health resources, and the disparities have been clearly illustrated by the widespread suffering and death they have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a world of evidence. It’s high time we took action to move toward universal health.”

At a lengthy Senate Health and Human Services Committee virtual hearing on March 4, more than 100 people turned out to support this and several other bills aimed at moving toward a single-payer health care system.

The resolution (2021-S 0109aa) points to the difficulties caused by health insurance that is tied to employment, highlighting the many Rhode Islanders who have lost their jobs and their health insurance. It calls attention to the administrative inefficiency of the multi-payer system.

“About one-third of every ‘health care’ dollar spent in the U.S. is wasted on unnecessary administrative costs and excessive pharmaceutical company profits due to laws preventing Medicare from negotiating prices,” the resolution states.

Sen. Calkin noted that between 1991 and 2014, health care spending in Rhode Island per person rose by over 250 percent, rising much faster than income and greatly reducing disposable income, and that the cost of health insurance for an average family of four is becoming unaffordable.

The resolution also points out that two-thirds of personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical costs, and that about three-quarters of those individuals had health insurance at the onset of their medical problems.



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