In Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe’s May 20, 2019, article, he stated “Medicare for all is actually quality health care for none.” However, just the opposite is true. Everyone benefits, seniors on Medicare, those with employer-based insurance, those with pre-existing conditions, young, old, and those in-between.
Under a well-researched and fiscally-sound universal health care bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and 110 co-sponsors, HR1384, “The Medicare for All Act of 2019,” our present Medicare system would be expanded and improved and cover ALL Americans. It includes primary and emergency care, dental, prescription drugs, vision, hearing, mental health, addiction treatment, long-term care, and more. It eliminates premiums, co-pays, deductibles and the need for supplemental insurance. And it will be implemented within a two-year time span with no one losing any benefits during that period, only gaining.
Rep. Thorpe was concerned about the cost. We suggest he and all Americans read the May 21, 2019, letter sent by 209 professional economists to Congress endorsing single-payer, Medicare for All. They explain how it will provide comprehensive health care services to ALL U.S. citizens more efficiently and less expensively than our current “for-profit” system.
In the letter, the economists underline the savings of the single-payer insurance system while providing quality care for ALL Americans. It states, “Evidence from around the world demonstrates that publicly financed health care systems result in improved health outcomes, lower costs, and greater equity.”
Presently, the U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world. In 2018, the U.S. spent $3.65 trillion on health care, yet 11 percent of Americans had no health insurance coverage, and another 45 percent of adults were underinsured. By contrast, 18 top industrialized countries spend about half per capita what we do, everyone is covered, and statistics show that health outcomes in these countries are superior to those in the U.S.
Public financing for health is not a matter of raising new money for health care, but of redirecting already allocated health care funds and reducing unnecessary and wasteful spending in the current system. Eliminate non-patient costs that do not improve health: administrative overhead, exorbitant executive salaries, marketing, shareholder’s dividends, billions lobbying Congress, campaign contributions.
The economists state, “If combined with public control of drug prices and a simplified global budgeting system, a Medicare financing system would reduce health care costs while guaranteeing access to comprehensive care and financial security to all.”
When we reduce total health care costs and guarantee access to doctors of choice, it eliminates the stress of worrying whether you can afford to see a doctor and receive care, or whether you may lose your employer-covered insurance due to job loss, change in health care plans, or an employer going out of business. You no longer need to worry about going bankrupt because you or your loved ones have become seriously sick. Access to health care when a problem arises lowers costs, keeps people healthy and working, out of the expensive emergency room, and saves lives.
Eliminating the expensive role insurance companies now play in the lives of employers and employees will result in higher pay and jobs better suited to individuals, positively affecting our economy! The opportunity for re-training health-insurance personnel for other needed jobs is included in HR 1384.
Rep. Thorpe was concerned about adopting a “European style health care system style with prohibitive costs, prolonged delays for basic services, care rationing and denial of services.” That is the present-day health care system for many Americans. In the U.S. if you don’t have insurance or ability to pay, there is no waiting list, you just don’t get care! The U.S. currently has the most rationed system in the developed world based on ability to pay. In European-style single-payer systems, some elective procedures have waiting lists, but rarely, if ever, are there waiting lists for medically necessary or emergency procedures.
Today people are suffering and dying unnecessarily of untreated conditions and preventable diseases as we continue to debate the issue rather than moving forward with concrete, cost-effective solutions. We are the U.S. We don’t have to follow any other country’s system. We can learn from them and create our own. We have the blueprint to build on, the success of Medicare. We can utilize its infrastructure, but make it even better, covering all health needs, costing less, and covering everyone – not just the elderly!
A single payer, improved Medicare for All system is the only one that saves money while covering everyone because it eliminates the present complex, expensive, inefficient, “for-profit” system.
Why does this plan face opposition? The health insurance and drug companies and for-profit hospitals are framing the discussion on TV, social media, and with legislators. With hundreds of billions in profits at stake, they are spending millions of dollars to spread misinformation to protect their interests and defeat significant change. Do not fall for their “fake facts,” scare tactics, and false arguments.
Carol Mattoon and Linda Napier are residents of Sun City and Sun City West respectively.