Sunday, July 1, 2012

Time for Universal Healthcare?

The debate on the affordable care act has got people talking again, republicans and tea party members are calling it socialized medicine and a government take over which is furthest from the truth. It forces people to buy private sector free market health insurance and if they can not afford it then they are fined, or taxed, depending on who you ask. The states are supposed to set up exchanges for people to choose their health care from like our politicians do.

While it’s a good step it’s the wrong one, our market based insurance has made America one of the most expensive and least efficient systems in the world and we rank behind countries like Saudi Arabia, Japan, Singapore and only rank 2 spots ahead of Cuba. The big difference is that most of these countries either have universal health care or a single payer plan. Both plans have been proven to be cheaper and more effective than what we have in America.

With all the evidence pointing to “socialized medicine” being the cheapest and most effective way to deliver care why hasn’t America decided to try this approach? The answer to that is money and power, we have for profit insurance companies spending billions of dollars to mislead the publican and to buy the votes of politicians. I’m going to argue it’s time that America steps into the 21st century and competes with other countries again.

Here are some of the benefits to a single payer health care system

1. Costs - every country that has a single payer system spends a lot less then America does for it’s outdated system and covers a lot more people. We currently pay more for Medicare and Medicaid to cover a few people then other countries spend to cover everyone. Having a single payer or Medicare for all will lower the costs to both the individual and the government.

Right now a person who doesn’t have insurance waits till they are really sick and goes to the emergency room, they are diagnosed with late stage cancer and given a few months to live. They choose to go through surgery, chemo and anything else that may extend their lives by a few months or even a year. This costs millions of dollars and since the patient has no insurance the costs are passed onto others who do have the luxury of insurance (that’s why it costs 40.00 for a piece of toilet paper). If we had a universal system this same person would have been able to visit a hospital when they first felt ill, had the cancer caught early and not only saved millions of dollars but would still be alive to raise their children. Since they had insurance the costs would have been paid by them and not absorbed by everyone else.

Costs are immediately brought down and instead of spending a fortune on end of life care a person can be diagnosed and treated early saving both money and their lives.


2. Benefits to business - If you pass a Medicare for all it can be paid with a 5% tax that everyone has to pay, this takes the burden off of corporations which currently pay millions of dollars a month to provide insurance for their employees. Lets say that Company A

Pays 2,000.00 a month per employee for healthcare coverage

Has 1,000 employees

That’s 2,000,000 dollars a month they are spending on health care coverage.

Imagine if they didn’t have to pay that money and could give raises, buy new machinery or hire more employees. The switch to a Medicare for all would not only lower health care costs but would be a huge benefit to the American business and would even allow companies to move back to America to save money.


3. And the most important - Life

If everyone had health care they could seek a doctor when they first got ill or felt a lump, they could be diagnosed with Cancer or Diabetes before it became life threatening and instead of spending years in a hospital and millions of dollars they could just take pills or have a simple surgery. The could spend decades with their family and not have to worry about who will take care of their kids or parents when they die.

A lot of people say they want universal care because they believe healthcare is a right and everyone should be entitled to it. I agree but as I pointed out it should not only be a right it is more cost effective than for profit care and would immediately cut the costs of medical care. If you ignore all the stories and lies and look at the facts - facts are every country that has went to a single payer or universal healthcare plan has seen costs lowered and care improve.

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