Wisconsin should take the lead…
By Jack E. Lohman
It is amazing that good health care reform has so many opponents.
In a day that we have so many people without jobs or employer health coverage, and virtually every employer being pushed to the wall, you’d think that pragmatism would trump idealism. At least during these dire times.
But it hasn’t.
Insurance interests are making heavy campaign contributions to keep themselves in the loop, which they have accomplished even though they drain 31% of today’s health care costs without ever laying hands on the patient. And ideologues are right with them, though in many cases they are also employed in the industry. Even so-called “think tanks” are paid to push the for-profit agenda.
Importantly, nobody is looking at where we’ll be in ten years if we don’t fix the system. Corporations like Motorola have already started to bring their own medical services on-premises. That means that for-profit CEOs will eventually be calling the shots rather than your doctor. Some employers have formed co-operative health care systems where — guess what? — for-profit CEOs will again be calling the shots over your doctor.
This is not a pretty picture. Doctors will hate it, nurses will hate it, hospitals will hate it, and eventually even the insurance industry will hate it.
So why would anybody support it? Short term gains.
The best, simplest, least costly, most effective thing we could do is expand what has been working so well for years, Medicare. You get sick, you get care, and the caregiver gets paid. Nothing could be simpler.
And Medicare-for-all would save every corporation in Wisconsin and the United States $6000 per employee per year, and they’d be hiring rather than firing people. Our economy would come alive even without the bailout for the bankers.
Medicare isn’t free healthcare. We’d just pay for it with taxes rather than through employers and job losses and welfare. The cost would be the same as we are paying today, and it’d cover everybody. It has a 20% deductible and it doesn’t cover everything, but it covers enough and you can buy the rest on the outside. You know; with cash dollars in the free market.
Our state legislature and governor should beat the Feds to the punch. An expanded BadgerCare-for-all system would attract businesses to the state and keep alive the ones that are already here.