By Jack Lohman
Source: Milwaukee Small Business Times
Think about it. They now have a filibuster-proof Congress, and if health care fails in 2009, it’s the Democrats’ fault. They can’t even blame the Republicans for their normal obstruction, as they no longer need a bipartisan bill.
President Barack Obama didn’t count on that when he was making all those campaign promises, but now it’s 100-percent his baby. He supported a single-payer plan, though he left some wiggle room in case Congress split. But it didn’t. The Dems now have total control and they don’t want it!
Single-payer is the most cost efficient system for our nation and is the most humane. You get sick, you get care and the caregiver gets paid. Nothing could be simpler. And though Medicare is not perfect it is indeed the least costly system of all with full physician choice, no wait times and no rationing.
But our politicians have a problem. Both Democrats and Republicans have shared in the $46 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry. Needless to say, what is in the best interest of the nation is exactly opposite to the best interest of the for-profit insurers. The 22-percent saved comes right out of their pocket.
The question is how do we pay for it as a universal program? But first let’s understand who’s paying for it now.
Everybody is. We pay in cost-shifting, bankruptcy costs, and lastly, when businesses add their employee health costs to their product price and we reimburse them at the cash register.
In the process we make our businesses highly uncompetitive with foreign products, which often forces employers to build their products in countries that do not burden them with health care. We make more cars in Canada than in Michigan because their health care costs are $800 per employee per year and ours is $6,500. That adds $1,500 per car.
Flat out, businesses should not be involved in providing employee health care at all, but that leaves either individual insurance or a public pool. Our politicians should create a single-payer Medicare-for-all system that is funded by our national infrastructure instead of the mish-mash of payments and non-payments. That’s what most advanced nations have done, and it works.
Over 31 percent of health care costs are consumed by the make-work insurance bureaucracy; as compared with the 9 percent needed for a single-payer. A huge savings to the public could be had.
With a single-payer system you see your same doctor and go to the same hospital as before. The only thing that changes is where they send the bill, and most people could care less about whose logo is on the invoice.
The beauty of Medicare is its simplicity. Everybody gets care, everybody pays into it through progressive taxation, companies are freed of the expense, jobs are increased, 100 percent of the public is covered, and consumers save $400 billion per year in reduced overhead.
The current for-profit system includes extra premiums to offset high CEO salaries and bonuses, broker sales commissions, shareholder profits, actuarial and gatekeeper costs, and even their lobbying and campaign contributions which are passed on to the patient.
Isn’t it nice to know that your politician is getting a piece of your private health care dollar? That’s why politicians always prefer private companies over government entities; one can give campaign cash and the other can’t. That’s why they choose to leave insurers in the loop.
Bottom line; most people would rather spend $500 per month in taxes to pay for an all-inclusive system than $700 per month for an exclusive system that doesn’t give better care and drives jobs out of the U.S.|
And all doctors and hospitals will be privately run and you’ll have 100-percent choice. What’s not to like about that?
But get this: our problem today is not health care, it’s political. Your politicians need to hear from you, and your voice must be loud if it is to drown out the moneyed interests. Your politicians work for you, not them.