Colin Powell endorses single-payer health system

Colin Powell, former secretary of state and retired four-star Army general, called for establishing single-payer healthcare in the United States similar to systems operating elsewhere in the world, according to reports by ABC News and The Puget Sound Business Journal.

"I have benefited from ... universal healthcare in my 55 years of public life," the Business Journal quoted Powell as saying at a cancer survivors' breakfast Thursday. "And I don't see why we can't do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing."

Under Canada's universal health care system, customers don't have to compare plans or fret about deductibles, and providers don't have to struggle to get paid, FierceEMR previously reported.

Powell shared personal experiences with the healthcare system and those of his wife, both of whom faced serious illnesses. These led Powell to conclude there must be a better way to fund healthcare than the current U.S. system, ABC News noted.

The United States is the only industrialized country without universal healthcare, according to Forbes, except in Vermont, where plans for a state-wide single-payer system are underway.

Universal healthcare means the population is covered under a specified health plan, Forbes noted, with access to skilled attendance at birth and health insurance over 90 percent. And while single-payer is a type of universal coverage, universal coverage isn't synonymous with single-payer since universal healthcare can have different funding options, Forbes reported.

Without universal healthcare, medical debt in the United States contributes to personal bankruptcies, employer-sponsored coverage affects employment decisions and 84 million non-elderly Americans remain either uninsured or underinsured, Forbes noted.

We can do better, Powell insists. "We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality healthcare. [Let's show] the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all our citizens."

For more:
- see the ABC News article
- read the Puget Sound Business Journal article
- here's the Forbes article