There is no agreement on a single solution to health care’s high price tag. Even supporters of the Affordable Care Act acknowledged that.
This is a good thing, since controlling costs will require a more comprehensive effort than the Affordable Care Act. If the rate of escalation in health care spending and health insurance premiums continues at current trends, the cost of inaction will continue to decimate employers' bottom lines and consumers' pocketbooks.
Although the two current intertwined pandemics (COVID-19 and anti-vaxx psychosis) have skewed so much, the principles remain intact.
We all know who the health care players are – doctors and nurses, hospitals and clinics, drug companies and pharmacies, medical equipment manufacturers, health insurance companies, ambulance services and paramedics, physical therapists, and hospices, etc.
All contribute to your health care… almost. The exception has been bleeding us dry for decades, and we must destroy it before it destroys us. Furthermore, no health insurance policy will help.
That is because the health insurance industry is the leach. But it’s not an industry in any productive sense of the word. It’s more like a protection racket, draining off billions of dollars in exchange for nothing.
The driving force is the same as all commerce, maximizing profits. The Republican Party has been bought and paid for by this syndicate. And the Party’s task is to keep this operation going, to protect the syndicate’s existence and to ensure that impediments to maximizing profits are kept to a minimum.
Unfortunately for the health insurance cabal and its minions in Congress, the single most effective change will be the creation of a single payer health insurance system and the eradication of the health insurance cabal.
“AHA! Another leftie who hates the free market!” I hear you screaming.
No. Free markets have gotten more goods and services to more people, often at the lowest possible costs, and in the shortest time.
But anyone who thinks the free market can meet all of society’s needs to think again.
Consider your local firefighters. Before we had municipal fire departments, firefighting was chaotic. Until the mid-1800’s, we endured a jumble of private fire insurance companies and inconsistent volunteer fire companies. Firefighting was unreliable, inconsistent, and often conducted by drunks who engaged in looting as much as fighting fires. The Martin Scorsese epic “Gangs of New York” included scenes depicting just what firefighters used to be.
By contrast, today’s municipal fire departments are dependable, effective and professional. They’re single-payer. And it works!
It’s the same with police. Imagine if the private security industry had a lobby with pockets as deep as health insurance, we’d be hammered with warnings of government takeovers and socialized police departments!
We have single-payer highways, fire and police departments, libraries, postal services, and education. But with health insurance, other industrialized nations leave America in the dust. For cost and quality of care, they offer abundant proof that single payer systems cost less per capita and a much smaller percentage of the GDP, even though they cover every citizen.
Proof of this are dozens of countries that provide outstanding health care to all their citizens, in large part because they adopted single-payer systems to replace free market health insurance.
The United States spends about twice the percentage of GDP on health care that any other nation spends, and twice per captia, even with millions of Americans who have no health insurance at all.
And let’s pull the plug on the “THAT’S SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!” sound machine right now.
Socialized medicine is a system in which doctors and hospitals work for and draw salaries from the government. Doctors in the VA and the Armed Services are paid this way. The health systems in Great Britain and Spain are examples.
But in most European countries, Israel, Canada, Australia, and Japan they have socialized health insurance, not socialized medicine. The government pays for care that is delivered in the private sector. This is how Medicare works. Doctors are in private practice and are paid on a fee-for-service basis from government funds. The government does not own or manage medical practices or hospitals.
How can any American prefer a system that includes uninsured flu sufferers clogging up emergency rooms as they generate $1000 hospital bills, rather than making sure every American gets a two-dollar flu shot? It’s the same with all preventative care.
Benjamin Franklin noted “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But prevention is worth much more. And it costs each American less.
Those countries that relegated private health insurance to the dust bin of history provide overall care equal to or better than that in the United States, cover their citizens, manage chronic illnesses with greater effectiveness and at a lower cost, promote healthy lifestyles that keep costs down, and have populations that are on average healthier than Americans.
Despite having the finest nurses and doctors in the world, the United States ranks an embarrassing 36th in average life expectancy among all nations. If this isn’t enough to shame every American into fighting for a better way, than nothing is.
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