Are we insane? There is an obvious solution to most of our health care financing challenges. Senator Bernie Sanders has done us a favor and brought that fact to light.
Multiple studies, both conservative and liberal, have shown that a government-financed single-payer health care system would cost less than our present complex and convoluted system. Yet we continue to hear the question “How will we pay for it?”.
The two bills presently before Congress, HR1384 and S1129, would provide health care financing for everyone from the womb to the tomb. They would include comprehensive medical, dental, vision, hearing and long term care with no copays and no deductibles. There is one exception regarding S1129, as there would be a $200 annual deductible for prescriptions. There would be no other out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Would taxes have to be raised to fund Medicare for all? Yes, but the additional taxes would be less than what the vast majority of us currently pay in premiums.
So what is preventing us from enacting into law either of these two bills? One hurdle is the idea of small government. Some fear that government would have too much influence over our health care. However, if you look at how well Medicare is working, even with its flaws, we see that government can provide a much needed service for its citizens.
Some say that Medicare for all is too radical or too extreme. Really? When every other developed nation in the world has some form of government financed care? It is only radical or extreme in the U.S. because we have been indoctrinated to believe that the “free market” is the best way to provide services. But when you evaluate our system with an open mind, you see that we pay too much and have mediocre to poor outcomes in comparison to the rest of the developed nations of the world. It becomes obvious that the “free market” is failing us.
The for-profit health care industry has done a tremendous job of convincing us that Medicare for all would be a bad idea. That industry has poured billions of dollars into propaganda ads and into political campaigns, both Republican and Democratic. A move to a single-payer health care system would be a threat to this industry’s financial well-being.
As a Jackson County resident, I have only one elected official on the federal level that has sponsored or cosponsored Medicare for all and that is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. My other representatives that do not support Medicare for all are Sen. Roy Blunt, Congressman Sam Graves, and Sen. Josh Hawley. And even Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, says he will veto Medicare for all if Congress should pass it. He continues to ask the question, “How will we pay for it?” When you vote in the future, please keep this in mind.
As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the deficiencies in our health care are more and more obvious. May we come out of this crisis a more just and loving people.
Terry Flowers, Independence