Feb. 22, 2013 — Is health care a human right? Dr. Ewell Scott, a retired physician, emphatically says the answer is “yes.”
He delivered that message Tuesday during a town hall meeting at the Center for Health, Education and Research (CHER).
Scott was speaking about HR 676, also known as the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which has been reintroduced in Congress by Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
"If we had a single payer Medicare for all plan – from life to death – it would reduce the expenses of our healthcare by $400 billion a year," Scott said. "No disputing that figure and we would cover everybody."
Scott said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more commonly known as Obamacare, will reduce the number of uninsured persons in America but the law won't help much with the cost of health insurance. The new law will go into effect fully in 2014.
There currently are 50 million uninsured Americans, according to Scott.
"The PPACA is going to insure a lot more people in this country," he said. "It's going to bring the 50 million figure down – and the figures are disputed – to somewhere between 20 and 30 million that still won't have health care insurance for a variety of reasons."
He said the PPACA will expand Medicaid to 139 percent of the federal poverty level.
"If I remember correctly, it's like $11,000 for an individual and $32,000 for a family," Scott said.
"If your income level is below that, you're going to be eligible for Medicaid, not Medicare, but Medicaid."
The problem with Medicaid, Scott said, is that it covers only 75 percent of hospital costs. Many specialists will not accept it and benefits vary state by state.
Fifty percent of the PPACA's funding will come from new taxes, he said.