Regunberg single-payer health insurance bill to be heard
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on legislation to create single-payer health insurance in Rhode Island.
“It is far past time we recognize healthcare as a right, not a privilege. No family should have to put off routine care because of exorbitant deductibles, or suffer through financial disaster because they get a serious illness,” said Representative Regunberg. “This legislation is about ensuring every Rhode Islander is able to access the care they need regardless of their wealth or income.”
The legislation (2017-H 5069), often described as “Medicare for all,” would provide all medically necessary services (including dental, vision and mental health care) without co-pays and deductibles. Gerald Friedman, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, says single payer can save Rhode Islanders from out of control healthcare costs. “Single payer produces significant savings in its first year of operation and growing savings over time. In fact, our analysis shows savings of over $2,000 per person in 2020 and $4,000 by 2024,” Friedman says.
Dr. J. Mark Ryan, chairman of the Rhode Island Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, says, “It is estimated that about 100 Rhode Islanders die each year from lack of adequate health insurance. Despite spending about twice what other industrialized countries spend per capita, the U.S. trails 19 other countries when it comes to mortality amenable to care. Medical costs are the cause of about two-thirds of personal bankruptcies and of those, about 70 percent had health insurance at the onset of the illness or injury that bankrupted them. We need to act.”
The hearing is slated to begin at the rise of the House session (approximately 4:30 p.m.) in Room 35 on the basement level of the State House.