Social Justice and Universal Health Care
Most Greens are familiar with the Ten Key Values, but few have spent the time to read and consider the platform in any detail. A series in Green Pages will present outlines of different parts of the platform in each issue. The following is the introduction to the Social Justice section and the entire text of the subsection on health care. Read the summary here, and go to the original for more detail at gpus.org. Help organize the platform review process within your state party. Become a liaison to the Platform Committee, or join if your state is not yet represented.
II. SOCIAL JUSTICE
Historically, America led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Today, however, our country is among the most extreme examples of industrialized nations that have a widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of its citizenryóthe working poor, the struggling middle class, and those who increasingly cannot make ends meet.
Our public schools, from kindergarten through college, are forced to cut back countless programs and services. Fees for community colleges are up sharply, and many public universities must turn away qualified students. More than 43 million Americans have no medical insurance coverage. The crisis in publicly subsidized housing is intensifying, while publicly funded ìcorporate welfareî continues unabated. Our tax code favors the wealthy. Our criminal justice system assigns long prison terms to hundreds of thousands of perpetrators of victimless crimes, such as selling marijuana. Our civil liberties of privacy and free speech are impaired by the excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and kindred new laws that use a national tragedy (the attacks on September 11, 2001) as an excuse to impose ubiquitous surveillance and control over citizens. In addition, discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or race continues to sap the potential of our society and to violate personal dignity. Feelings of isolation and helplessness are common in America today. Children are increasingly shaped by an ìelectronic childhoodî with little direct experience of nature and free play. Our families are scattered, our popular culture is crassly manipulated by the profit motives of increasingly concentrated media conglomerates, and our sense of community is a pale shadow of what earlier generations of Americans knew.
The Green Party strongly believes that the quality of life is determined not only by material aspects that can be measured and counted but also by elements that cannot be quantified. We firmly support the separation of church and state, but we also acknowledge the spiritual dimension of life, and we honor the cultivation of various types of spiritual experience in our diverse society.
We believe that artistic expression and a thriving structure of art institutions are key to community well-being. We believe that a deep and broad embrace of nonviolence is the only effective way to stop cycles of violence, from the home to the streets to the international level. We advocate a diverse system of education that would introduce children early to the wonders of the Great School (Nature), and would cultivate the wisdom of eco-education, eco-economics, eco-politics, and eco-culture. We seek to protect our children from the corrosive effects of mass culture that trains them to regard themselves first and foremost as consumers.
We support the shift in modern medicine to include healing through complementary therapies and engagement with the Great Hospital (Nature). We seek, in short, to facilitate the healthy unfolding of the person within the unfolding story of the family, community, bioregion, state, nation, and Earth community.
F. Health Care
1. Universal Health Care
The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system.
The current system’s high costs and widely recognized failures demand that bold steps be taken. The Green
Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health insurance program as the only solution to the current disastrous for-profit system.
Under a universal national single-payer health care system, the administrative waste of private insurance corporations would be redirected to patient care. If the U.S. were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer plan, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs would be more than enough to offset the cost. Expenses for businesses currently providing coverage would be reduced. State and local governments would pay less because they would receive reimbursement for services provided to the previously uninsured, and because public programs would cease to be the ìdumping groundî for high-risk patients and those rejected by HMOs when they become disabled and unemployed.
Most importantly, the people of America will gain the peace of mind in knowing that needed health care will always be available to them. No longer will people have to worry about facing financial disaster if they become seriously ill, are laid off their jobs, or are injured in an accident.
The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system. Ö The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health insurance program as the only solution to the current disastrous for-profit system.
The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health plan that will provide the following with no increase in cost:
- A publicly funded health care insurance program, administered at the state and local levels.
- Lifetime benefits for everyone. No one will lose coverage for any reason.
- Freedom to choose the type of health care provider, with a wide range of health care choices.
- Decision-making in the hands of health providers and their patients.
- Comprehensive benefits, as good or better than existing plans, including dental, vision, mental health care, hospice, long-term care, substance abuse treatment and medication coverage.
- Participation of all licensed and/or certified health providers, subject to standards of practice in their field.
- Portable health plan benefits.
- Primary and preventive care as priorities, including wellness education about diet, nutrition and exercise.
- Greatly reduced paperwork for both patients and providers.
- Fair and full reimbursement to providers for their services.
- Preservation of all health care services currently available.
- Cost controls via streamlined administration, national fee schedules, bulk purchases of drugs and medical equipment, and coordination of capital expenditures. Prices of medications must be publicly supervised.
- Hospitals that can afford safe staffing levels for registered nurses.
- Establishment of national, state, and local Health Policy Boards consisting of health consumers and providers to oversee and evaluate the performance of the system, expand access to care, and determine research priorities. All meetings of the boards shall be open to the public.
- Establishment of a National Health Trust Fund that would channel all current Federal payments for health care programs directly into the Fund, in addition to employees’ health premium payments.