BSU social work students to sponsor April 8 forum on single-payer health care

BEMIDJI, Minn. (April 4, 2011) — Students in Bemidji State University’s social work program will host a free public forum on Friday, April 8, on single-payer healthcare.

The forum will be held from 10 a.m.-noon in the Lumberjack Room at Bemidji High School, located at 2900 Division Street W. Presenting at the forum will be Molly Maass, family practice physician’s assistant with Minneapolis-based Johnson Healthcare Associates, Inc.; and Dr. Ralph Bovard, a public health doctor at HealthPartners Specialty Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Admission to the forum is free and no advance registration is required.

The forum will provide an opportunity to learn about single-payer health care systems that are intended to provide comprehensive service to all citizens. Single-payer refers to one entity acting as administrator, or “payer.” In the case of health care, a single-payer system would be set up  so one government-run organization would collect all health care fees and pay out all health care costs.

In the United States, there are currently tens of thousands of different health care organizations, including HMOs and billing agencies. This large number of payers of health-care fees creates an enormous need for administrative services, and therefore is said to lead to cost increases as providers are required to navigate different requirements for each individual organization. Under a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors or other health care providers would bill a single entity for services with the goal of greatly reducing administrative costs. Ideally, the savings would then be used to improve the quality and coverage of health care.

Students from Bemidji State’s social work program are hosting the forum as part of a volunteer requirement for a community learning project.

For more information, please contact the Bemidji State University social work program at (218) 755-2880.