With the release of Sicko and the expected barrage of trash aimed at Democratic candidates from right wing radio, it's inevitable that someone will accost you. (After all, that "I'm a Progressive" tatoo on your forehead stands out.)
"Why should I pay for someone else's health care? I'm paying enough already!"
The major candidates have done an incredibly poor job of articulating what the savings would be to our society that universal healthcare would achieve. So I guess it's up to you.
Get ready to answer: "Yes, you are! You are paying way too much. Universal health care will save you, personally, a bundle."
When you are sitting in church or the movie theater, look to your right and your left, ahead and back. Chances are that one of those people is paying health roulette. When they get really, really sick they go to an emergency room--and you pay.
This issue update from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that uninsured Americans could incur nearly $41 billion in uncompensated health care treatment in 2004, with federal, state and local governments paying as much as 85 percent of the care. It also finds that if the country provided coverage to all the uninsured, the cost of additional medical care provided to the newly insured would be $48 billion.
So if you just skim the headline, you might mistakenly think you are saving 7 billion by not covering the uninsured. Guess again! By waiting until health care is critical, the cost of healing the uninsured is many times the cost of insuring--and caring for--them in advance. Just remember the case of Deamonte Driver.
Deamonte Driver's life could have been spared if his infected tooth was simply removed -- a procedure costing just $80...
In the end, Driver endured two surgeries and weeks of hospital care totaling about $250,000 in medical bills. Sadly, it was too late to save the boy, and he passed away on Feb. 25.
According to the National Academy of Science, neglect due to lack of health insurance leads to developmental delays in tens of thousands of children each year. They end up in special education, costing school districts many times what general education would cost.
Look at your property tax bill. Highlight the school tax (in most states.) You are paying for the child down the block, who doesn't have health insurance. And you'll continue to pay, for his/her entire life, due to lower productivity.
And then, of course, there is the economy. Every time someone stays home sick, our nation loses productivity.
The value of what the United States loses because of the poorer health and earlier death experienced by the 41 million Americans who lack health insurance is estimated to be $65 billion to $130 billion every year, according to a first-ever economic analysis of the costs of uninsurance for society overall. This lost value is a hidden cost that could be recouped by extending health coverage to all, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
So we can attribute at least part of the decline of the dollar to our loss of productivity of our unhealthy society.
And this is the area where you can draw a bright red line between the plans for extending private insurance and single payer health insurance. The way in which a single payer plan would decide what to pay is completely different than a private system. Let me give the single example I know best--paraplegia. Private insurers calculate the cost of maintenance--six months of physical therapy, to insure that the para can get in and out of a chair, a new chair every five years. WD-40 and you're done. Single payer plans (like those in Europe) ask: "What more could you do if we paid for X?" Then they pay. There are hundreds of other conditions where the calculation is the same--obligation? or potential?
To regular readers of DKos, this may seem like a no brainer. But MSM has ignored them, even in the face of two SCHIP vetoes. Until they are reduced to bumper stickers, we will remain a "Sicko" society.