Hi folks! I wanted to discuss one of the major pieces of legislation being debated in Congress and that is the topic of Healthcare. A lot of us know that costs have risen over the last decade. Efforts like the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, have been implemented in order to reduce these costs. In addition, we have expanded the pool of candidates to enter the market to seek health treatment for medical conditions. So what does all of this mean to you? Why should you give a damn? Consider this, what if there was a better way to have good affordable healthcare? What if the decision on where to go for care is not dictated by your insurance provider? Sounds good right?
Now here comes the scary word that you hear being thrown around, Single Payer Healthcare..
Now I can imagine that some of these things are running through your head right now:
“Government healthcare?! We can’t afford it!!”
“Have you seen Canada? It takes forever to see a doctor!”
“It’s run by the government, it’ll be too expensive for me.”
Trust me, I always thought the same thing. We’ve all been told this was the case for years. Years! We have been told that private health insurance is the way to go because having healthcare in the private sector would keep costs low and competition would provide quality service. However, we know that this clearly is not the case. According to an article from the Sander’s Institute, many areas in four states are consolidating down to one health insurance provider. In addition, costs have been rising anywhere from 29% to 69% in cost (Sander’s Institute, Healthcare Policy). That is just astounding to me! That is not competition to me, that is a monopoly on the healthcare system. This denies people the right to choose their healthcare through the exchanges. In essence, it feeds the narrative that the Healthcare Exchanges, under the Affordable Care Act, are in a death spiral.
Now you may think, it has to be Obamacare, that law prevents health insurance providers from operating effectively in these areas. All of the new people brought on by the Affordable Care Act are driving up the costs. This is only half of the truth. Why do you think that these company’s are not in these markets? Profits. The bottom line is that profits drive the decisions of the healthcare industry. Think about that. Your health, and the price you pay, are what determine whether a company commits to a region or state. To me that is just bizarre! We should not have our options dictated by such a model. Our healthcare should be guaranteed as a right, regardless of location and our health.
What we need, and what the country needs, is a single payer healthcare system for our citizens. We need the government to negotiate with the drug companies to ensure that we are getting a fair price for the drugs we need. We need hospital networks, that do not sacrifice service and care, all in the name of profits and competition. We need a system where we are guaranteed health coverage, regardless of whether we are sick or healthy. Let’s face it, at some point in our lives we will get sick to the point where we need to go to the doctor. Whether its the common cold, or something serious like cancer, we should feel safe with the knowledge that our health will be taken care of.
Now you may ask, what are the benefits of a single payer system? Why should I give a damn about the “Medicare for All” system being preached by progressives? First and foremost, the system is designed to ensure that all people are covered by health insurance. No exceptions, no restrictions, everyone who pays into the system will have healthcare available to them. The model brings down costs for healthcare and brings it within reach for many Americans unable to afford healthcare. Not to mention, the one main benefits we hardly think about is that it takes the burden of providing healthcare off of businesses. This is not only smart it is good for business. With a single payer model, businesses can afford to pay living wages for their employees while not breaking the bank.
As for the costs, you already pay for insurance that has high cost factors. A company, like any business, has to pay taxes to the government in order to operate within the country. Therefore any single payer healthcare system would not be subject to these fees due to the fact that it is already run by the government. Now will it cost more to build the infrastructure necessary to run the “Medicare for All” system? According to a Forbes article, the government has the Department of Health & Human Services, the Social Security Administration, and the IRS (Roy, 2011). These organizations are already in place and have experienced professionals that manage the Medicare system. Granted, we will need to increase the number of people needed to help with the increase workload but the main take away is that the infrastructure is in place to implement this new healthcare system.
In addition, insurance companies are operated in order to generate a profit for the company. This profit margin is a factor that these organizations have to take into effect when deciding how much to charge for the various regions. Bottom line, by eliminating the profit’s of insurance companies will result in lower costs for the people. If you go to the doctor, your costs are covered through the general pool of funds generated by the taxes you pay for the new healthcare system.
But wait?! We have to pay more taxes to make this possible?!
Yes, but let me tell you why this is better than what we currently have now. Your taxes for healthcare will be offset by the healthcare that you already pay for now. Now the Bernie Sander 2016 Campaign had a useful calculator that would generate how much you would pay for such a model and more importantly, how much you will save. I have that link listed below for you to try yourself!
I leave you with this final note. Healthcare is not a private good that we can make a profit from. We are all affected by one another’s health and the costs associated with treating disease and sickness. Its time that we come to make our healthcare system the same, if not better, than other countries in the developed world. I ask that you do more than get your facts from the news. Do additional research, talk with your neighbors, and get involved in the discussion. This is your healthcare and you deserve to have a say in how it will affect you and your family.
Bernie Healthcare Calculator. Bernie 2016. Retrieved from https://valadian.github.io/SandersHealthcareCalculator/
National Nurses United (June 6, 2017). Medicare for All vs. All the Healthcare that each can Afford. The Sander’s Institute. Retrieved from https://www.sandersinstitute.com/blog/medicare-for-all-vs-all-the-healthcare-that-each-can-afford
Roy, Avik. (June 30, 2011). The Myth of Medicare’s ‘Low Administrative Costs’. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2011/06/30/the-myth-of-medicares-low-administrative-costs/#21fb54df140d