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Its stated purpose: “To provide for comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents, improved health care delivery, and for other purposes. No deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing shall be imposed with respect to covered benefits.”
All your medical bills — your doctors, your hospital, your drugs, inpatient, outpatient, even long-term care — all would be paid. You wouldn’t have to worry about Medicare supplement insurance, Medicaid coverage, shopping for and paying for any sort of health insurance.
No parents would have to pay for sick children. No children would have to pay for sick parents. No one would be uninsured.
Is it too good to be true, one gigantic worry, one gigantic burden, off your back? Who could possibly not love that?
Well, as it turns out, lots of people.
First, there is the health insurance industry. You know them, the hard to reach folks you have to beg to cover your hospital stay, your expensive drugs, your outpatient nursing care.
These are the people who charge you and your boss excessive premiums, offer confusing arrays of plans — gold, silver, bronze, cardboard — with deductibles and exceptions and non-coverages, and whose profits depend on them denying, denying, denying.
Quick now, tell me exactly what your expensive health insurance covers and doesn’t cover. You don’t know? Not everything? Why not?
And don’t even get me started on those uber-expensive long-term care plans, with their complex, convoluted requirements that you absolutely, positively do not understand, and the limits that kick in just when you need help most.
Second, there are the very rich, those people who don’t need health insurance because, let’s face it, when you have a few hundred million dollars, you can pay for any medical problem. You don’t need insurance.
The rich don’t want you to have good health care because that would narrow the Gap between them and you.
If there were no Gap, no one would be rich and no one would be poor, and the wider the Gap, the richer are the rich and the poorer are the poor.
Third, there are the politicians, media and university economists, who are paid by the rich to tell you why your receiving of free medical care is bad for you and bad for the country.
Bernie Sanders’ Health Care Plan Proves That U.S. Single-Payer is an Expensive Fantasy
It’s too disruptive and too expensive. Peter Suderman |Jan. 19, 2016 1:13 pm
On Sunday night, shortly before the Democratic primary debate, Sanders released his plan, dubbing it, Medicare for All: Leaving No One Behind.
The Sanders plan would require $1.38 trillion—trillion! with a T!—in additional federal spending every single year.
The tax hikes required to pay for this much new spending would be enormous, and while the Sanders plan does its best to place most of the burden on high earners through a slew of income tax hikes, he also adds new taxes on employers and an additional 2.2 percent flat tax on virtually all income beyond the standard deduction.
The author of the article is Peter Suderman. We’ve spoken of him before. He’s a reliable mouthpiece for the rich. He greets any proposed benefits for the middle class with contempt (He calls them “welfare state,” and “entitlement state”).
Suderman is completely clueless (or pretends to be clueless) about Monetary Sovereignty.
To Suderman, federal spending is unaffordable and unsustainable and just plain bad, while personal spending is fine, because in Suderman-world, the federal government is broke while you and I can afford anything.
Here is what Bernie Sanders says about the costs of Medicare for All:
“The United States currently spends $3 trillion on health care each year—nearly $10,000 per person. Reforming our health care system, simplifying our payment structure and incentivizing new ways to make sure patients are actually getting better health care will generate massive savings.
“This plan has been estimated to save the American people and businesses over $6 trillion over the next decade.
“Bernie’s plan will cost over $6 trillion less than the current health care system over the next ten years. The United States currently spends $3 trillion on health care each year—nearly $10,000 per person.
“Reforming our health care system, simplifying our payment structure and incentivizing new ways to make sure patients are actually getting better health care will generate massive savings.
“This plan has been estimated to save the American people and businesses over $6 trillion over the next decade. The typical middle class family would save over $5,000 under this plan”
The real problem is that the American public has been so brainwashed with the false notion that federal deficits are unaffordable, unsustainable and downright awful, that no politician can tell the truth and expect to be elected.
Sanders has given us a hint about what he will do after being elected, however. He has hired Stephanie Kelton to be his chief economist.
Kelton is extremely knowledgeable about Monetary Sovereignty. She knows the federal government cannot run short of dollars; she knows federal deficits are necessary for economic growth.
Bernie wouldn’t have hired Stephanie unless he plans to educate the public about the facts.
Getting back to Suderman’s article:
Sanders’ defense also reveals another problem beyond his savings: The way he would get rid of private health insurance premiums would be to get rid of private health insurance.
The problem is that most people like their current health plans and doctors. Disruption is the essential element of a single-payer overhaul.
This “Sudermanism” either is extremely stupid or a cunning lie. Saying that most people like paying for their current health care plans is like saying that most people like paying off their three-year-old car — and so would not like to receive abigger, better newer, model, absolutely free.
And notice that little insert of the words “and doctors.” There is nothing in ‘Medicare for All” that says you will give up your doctors. In fact, the opposite is true.
But the well-paid Suderman’s of the world, try to disseminate the Big Lie that you will lose your doctors. Medicare pays doctors. “Medicare for All” would pay doctors. No one would give up anything.
But the issue goes well beyond dollars. Most importantly, it’s a human issue:
Richard Master CEO of MCS Industries, Inc.: I was out of the country. My son was introducing us to future in-laws in Chile. He developed an allergic reaction he bought an inhalator for $15 that would cost $150 in the US. At the same time, my company was going through negotiations regarding insurance increases.
Question: What were the most shocking, surprising things you learned?
Master: In almost every rock you turn over in this investigation is another outrage. We do not negotiate for pharmaceutical drugs in this country. As a result, we pay 40-50% more in this country than any other country in the world. Healthcare is eating the economy alive. It is 10-15% of local school district budget.
Question: MCS pays $1.5 million for health insurance. How would that change under single payer? Would it save your company money?
Master: Yes, about 20%.
Actually, Medicare for All, fully funded by the federal government, would save his company 100%.
Question: Are there other ways that single payer help your company.
Master: It’s also an argument for prevention. When people have to pay a “deductible” most families don’t have two or four five thousand dollars for deductible. So, from a preventative care, this would be transformative.
It’s against the law to discriminate against older employees. But employers and HR professionals looking to moderate their costs are inclined to prefer younger employees, because insurance companies even under the affordable care act can charge three times as much for older employees than younger ones.
Question: How would single payer help American companies in terms of international competition?
Master: If you look at the total medical bill in terms of gross domestic product it’s at 18%. That’s about twice the foreign companies. We’re not competitive as a society.
We have a Canadian company CEO– a conservative– who said it is a non-starter to open in the United states. I can’t do it because it would cost me an additional million dollars.
Question: So there are whole industries that can’t do business in the US because they can’t compete with foreign companies that do not have to worry about health care costs?
Chuck Pennacchio, Associate Professor of History and Politics, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Executive Director of Healthcare for All Pennsylvania, Associate Producer of “Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point”:
We did a study in PA that found that it would generate 300-400,000 new jobs. It will raise wages for employees and give companies ability to compete worldwide
Master: It would also transform how doctors work. There probably would be additional care that would be given, particularly to the 29 million people who don’t have insurance coverage right now. You would also be eliminating the classism– the stigma of medicaid.
Question: Misconceptions and lies about single payer. The biggest one is that that it costs more. So, we’re going to save $500 billion a year and cover everyone and get rid of co-pay.
Chuck: Dental and mental health, eye care, transport– it’s comprehensive health care. They’re all covered. Folks have a floor under their feet. Chuck– choice of provider. Under single payer you’ll have far greater choice. Insurance companies preclude confine and limit who yu can see. You’ll have choice of access to hospitals, providers.
One of the canards of single payer is that it rations healthcare. Administrative costs in other countries. are 2-4% and it’s 20-25% in the US.
Question: The claim is that there are long waiting lists that lead to people dying. Is that true? single payer reduces quality– people wait and die?
Richard: Large out of pocket and deductible expenses– people see self-rationing (in the US) at the beginning of the year elective surgeries are reduced.
Chuck: we are living under the terms of the ACA and we are seeing utilization of healthcare at a 30 year low. The problem in the US is not just the 29 million without insurance. It’s the 100 million who are underinsured.
Chuck: People have a piece of paper that says they have insurance. There are four tiers of insurance. Platinum, gold, silver, then bronze. At the top level people are paying a lot more in premiums and they have lower co-pays and deductibles.
When you get to the bronze level, people have huge deductibles and co-pays, so folks don’t have the wherewithal when they need it. Look at a single mom makes $35,000 a year, with two kids. A low end plan requires her to come up with $3500 deductible. Where does she come up with it. So they stay away from the doctors.
Chuck: A third of the population are underinsured.
Question: Are there statistics on how under the underinsured function differently regarding healthcare.
Master: They cut their pills in half because they can’t afford them. 25% OF PEOPLE who get a prescription don’t fill their prescription, or go to the pharmacist instead of the doctor.
We’re 19 out of 19 industrialized countries in terms of death by preventable disease because there are economic barriers to care. Depending on the year there 1-1.5 million personal bankruptcies in the US. About 60% of those bankruptcies are medical bill related. This is really a burden on people in the US and the anxiety that people feel.
If they lose their job. What a terrible thing for a breadwinner to lose his or her job and to ultimately have the family not have health care.
People are dying from illnesses they can’t afford to have treated. And all the while, the rich and the right-wing tell us the federal government “can’t afford” to save American lives, and the federal deficit is “unsustainable.”
There is much more to this disgraceful story. See FIXIT.com.
When Donald Trump says he wants to “make America great again,” he should begin with making us a first-world nation in healthcare, rather than worrying about how many people are allowed to carry guns in public, or how many Mexicans and Muslims are here.
The greatest crisis in America today is the lack of a Medicare for All program. Medicare for All would add stimulus dollars to the economy while saving lives.
Is it too good to be true?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually Click here
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
THE RECESSION CLOCK
Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. There was a dip below zero in 2015. Recessions are cured by a rising red line.
Vertical gray bars mark recessions.
As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.