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I Advocate Strongly For Single Payer Healthcare

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The following is a guest post by John Suddarth, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s First District. 

I’m running for congress in Virginia’s historic first district.  I knew running for congress would be hard work.  I knew I would have to ask friends, family and strangers for money to support my campaign—something no one likes to do.  What I did not know is how much active assistance I’d get from so many people.  You inspire me to work even harder for our progressive agenda.

As a candidate, I’m meeting many passionate, empathetic, progressive Americans in our district, deeply concerned about the direction of our country who have been waiting on the sidelines, eager to get involved but not knowing how.  Groups like Indivisible, CircleUp, Together Hanover, as well as traditional organizations as the various Hanover Democratic Committees, are vehicles for such involvement and action and membership rolls are swelling. Their involvement is critical to electing progressive candidates like me in tough traditionally Red districts like Virginia’s First and sending us to Washington to get this country moving again.

I hear again and again from families who cannot afford health insurance, who do not qualify for unexpanded Medicaid and cannot afford insurance on the ACA exchanges.  This is because the GOP has sabotaged the Affordable Care Act, hoping it would fail.  They shortened the enrollment period.  They hedged on cost-sharing with health insurers so rates shot up 35 to 81%. Aetna and United Health left the state.  The GOP did this not just out of the inability to understand how health markets really work but out of pure spite for anything advanced by President Obama and the Democratic Party and disregard for the well-being of less affluent Americans.  In some of our rural counties, there is a choice of only one insurer.  Providers without an insured patient base on moving out of the area and clinics are closing down.  Well, those of us trying to ride the Blue Wave into congress intend to do something about that.

I am a strong advocate for fundamental reform to our healthcare system, a change that would lead to universal access to affordable healthcare and unsurpassed global competitiveness. It would create a truly dynamic American economy while cutting our healthcare costs in half, saving us $1.5 trillion a year, half of that in savings to the federal government.

We do not have to reinvent the wheel. Single-Payer is the preferred healthcare system throughout the industrial world.  Almost every industrialized democracy save America insures all of its citizens; these citizens have better healthcare outcomes at half the cost.  Citizens in democracy after democracy have universal access.   Their companies don’t have to provide health insurance to employees, so they hire workers more freely.  Their workers don’t have a $15,000 insurance burden on their backs as do Americans, so they don’t have to be as productive as we do to have a job.  Today companies choose to create new jobs in countries with lower healthcare costs.  Let’s fix our healthcare system, reduce our costs, and bring jobs home to the world’s most productive workers.

Single-payer healthcare would also liberate our citizens from working in jobs just for health insurance and enable them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.  Assured universal access and insurance would remove the anxiety so many of us face when ill or injured.  In today’s expensive American healthcare system, some parents don’t even let their children play sports because they can’t afford the emergency room.  Those with pre-existing conditions, half of us, fear what the GOP will do next to the Affordable Care Act that prevents discrimination against us. Senior citizens don’t take recommended dosages of prescriptions because they can’t afford to pay twice as much for medicine as do Danes or Singaporeans.  And everyone fears losing insurance or an illness resulting in financial failure and bankruptcy.  We have 600 thousand bankruptcies in this country every year due to our dysfunctional healthcare system.  Good, hardworking Americans losing everything because the system serves the health insurers and pharmaceuticals and not the public.  Let’s rid ourselves of this needless anxiety. This is wrong, it is immoral, and it has to be fixed.

Single-payer would also eliminate the cumbersome administrative burdens providers bear. Every doctor’s office in America is protected by a staff behind a front desk that screen would-be patients for valid health insurance prior to being seen by an actual provider.  Our current for-profit system has reduced access to healthcare to a pay system like a fast food drive-thru where you don’t get your French fries at the second window until after you hand over your money at the first.

In addition to my experience running multinational companies and seeing how our healthcare system hurts the American worker and our economic competitiveness, I have studied this issue closely.  I have received guidance from the Physicians For a National Healthcare Program.  I’ve had in depth discussions with a family practitioner who received his medical training in Canada.  Canada has single payer healthcare and physicians enjoy levels of income and lifestyles commensurate with those of physicians here. They have the added joy of not having to turn away patients.  And the experiences of Canadian patients were as good or better than those experienced by Americans, except for the lack of out of pocket expenses, anxiety about coverage, and threat of financial ruin.  My vision is to do better than Canada and include prescription drugs in our single payer plan.

The GOP talks about healthcare being provided by private insurance companies.  Well, the free market has had hundreds of years to provide universal healthcare at a reasonable cost and has failed miserably on both counts.  Most Americans believe healthcare is a basic human right, just like access to clean air and water. Why are we not assured what each of us will need at different points in our life?  Because some politicians care many times more about the well-being of businesses than they do about yours.

The GOP position is fundamentally flawed.  It is based upon the idea that
healthcare should be rationed based on what a patient can afford to pay, not on what the patient actually needs to get better.  It is clear to anyone paying attention that our free market health insurance companies won’t cover everyone, won’t control costs, won’t allow a true free market and competition, won’t keep wasteful administrative costs down, and won’t limit government control.

Most importantly, our current system creates a moral hazard.  Insurance companies profit by denying care and skim off hundreds of billions of dollars every year for non-valued adding administrative costs and executive incentives!

Physicians are fed-up and frustrated with insurance companies, who make it hard for most to do their jobs. And many would be agreeable to a single payer that assures payment while they pursue the noble dream that motivated them through eight or more years of tough schooling: to heal.

The Single Payer System will: eliminate all that wasted effort in begging for-profits to approve recommended care; it will eliminate restrictive networks that serve primarily the interest of the insurance company, not the patient, certainly not the provider; huge billing costs will be eliminated as will uncompensated care.  Most importantly, it’ll assure you of access to healthcare and eliminate all that related anxiety you currently have.

The manner in which physicians are compensated would NOT change.  But physicians would be free to treat citizens and legal residents with confidence of payment and without the current expensive and cumbersome administrative burden.

If single-payer would do all of these things, why don’t we do it?  Unfortunately vested interests have fought for decades to protect the franchise that pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies enjoy in this country alone.  They’ve cornered the market through lobbying and donations to politicians at all levels. They’ve set themselves up to the point they can charge Americans twice what other citizens in democracies pay.  And they create fear and anxiety by mischaracterizing the quality and accessibility of care in other countries.  Canadians and Europeans laugh and shake their heads when they hear our politicians criticize their healthcare systems.

And no, single payer is not socialized medicine.  Healthcare would still be performed by private providers.  The only difference would be that everyone is covered and the costs would be a lot less.  Providers could see any patient and not be cul-de-sac-ed into insurance networks which stifle competition.

It will be difficult to move to single payer quickly, not just because of vested interests but because the healthcare system is massive with countless moving parts. People are naturally afraid of the unknown and anxious about change in something as crucial to life as healthcare.  But true fiscal conservatives should applaud and support this system:

  • Single payer is both cheaper and more effective and everyone is covered
  • Everyone pays in and everyone benefits
  • Our economy is made more competitive and our workers more productive
  • Free market competition at the provider level is increased
  • It inspires and enables entrepreneurial endeavors
  • The government and insurance companies will no longer stand patients and doctors

Making this transition will require that you put aside all that misinformation you’ve been given over the years about true healthcare reform and objectively look at the opportunity to profoundly improve every American life.  Moving forward requires:

—buy in from you, the people;
—buy in from the politicians;
—and buy in from the healthcare providers, physicians, nurse, technicians, and administrators.

We must reform our healthcare system now before the wheels finally come off. Already 3 million Americans have lost health insurance under Trump.  Now the GOP leadership in the House is talking about eliminating the employer mandate.  If the GOP eliminates the employer mandate after it has undermined the exchanges and refused to expand Medicaid, where will you get your insurance?

Over time we can sharply reduce our healthcare costs to the OECD average while producing better outcomes.  This will result in a more vibrant economy, more competitive American companies, better wages, and a happier, less anxious, and healthier population.

It’s time for us to stand together and support progressive Democrats who will create a single-payer system.  I ask for your support so I can stand strong with like-minded politicians who want to fix our healthcare system, fix our economy, and make America a place where everyone has outstanding healthcare and an opportunity for great-paying jobs. Please go to my website, www.suddarthforcongress.com and volunteer and contribute. This is the first year we’ve had an opportunity to turn the First Blue and it may be the only year.  Act now!

John Suddarth is a Virginia native, West Pointer, veteran, businessman, community leader and fighter for universal healthcare, investment in education and infrastructure and action on climate change and gun violence.  He is a Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s First District.

  • As a veteran with Tricare I can confirm a key point Mr. Suddarth makes here based on his experience as a CEO: labor markets become far more efficient, and Americans can more effectively deploy their entrepreneurial spirit, when they don’t have to hold on to jobs just because they come with health insurance.

    I retired from the US Army in 2002. Since then I have worked as a consultant and started a business. I never had to worry about moving on from a job I hated or fear seeking a better opportunity just because my current gig came with health insurance.

    Anyone who claims to believe in protecting life (not to mention liberty and the pursuit of happiness) simply has to think of decent health care as a right. Any other position simply means that you believe in a right to life only for those who can afford to buy it.

    John Suddarth has the right position on this. He also has the right positions on controlling gun violence, protecting women’s rights and choice, fiscal responsibility, and immigration.

    I must disagree with the proprietor on this one. John Suddarth should be the Democratic candidate for Congress.

    • I’m with Sen. Tim Kaine on this one (Medicare X), which is very similar to what Edwin Santana supports (“Allow every American to buy in to Medicare as a public option to compete with private health insurers and lower insurance premiums for all of us.”). As for controlling gun violence, protecting women’s rights and choice, etc., what would you say are the main differences between Santana and Suddarth? From what I’ve seen, they’re very similar on those issues (e.g., for a woman’s right to choose, for universal background checks, etc, etc.).

      • Jay Brock

        I’m not so sure about Medicare X.
        Because we have two main problems in America.
        We have 28 million without any health insurance, tens of millions more underinsured.
        And we pay way too much as a nation for the care we get.
        Although Medicare X sounds like a good idea, all things considered, the only way to resolve our health insurance conundrum is with single payer.
        Essentially, National Improved Medicare for All.
        National because it would cover everyone living here.
        Improved, because as a single payer, there would be no copays and no deductibles.
        Medicare, because it is built on the Medicare system so many of us really like—Conservative. Liberal. Or in between.
        If you go with Medicare X, we still get to keep the current, insurance-company-based system we have now.
        Where 28 million have no insurance, and where with the slow, incremental change of a Medicare X, tens of millions will continue to have no insurance for the foreseeable future.
        And our current system still leaves tens of millions underinsured, with copays and deductibles reaching in the $10-15,000 range a year, if you get sick.
        And our current system accounts for medical bankruptcies in the hundreds of thousands a year. Where instead of saving for a child’s higher ed tuition, or for one’s retirement, these funds are instead used to pay extravagant hospital bills.
        The current system costs nearly $3.5 Trillion a year.
        Unfortunately, about $1/2 Trillion of that is wasted on administrative costs due to the complexity of the current system.
        Having a single payer would free up that $1/2 Trillion to actually be spent on real care for real people.
        So, keeping the current system would only very slowly cover people, not be able to diminish costs for care, and would cost an ADDITIONAL $1/2 Trillion to cover everyone.
        And we would still have a system with huge deductibles and numerous medical bankruptcies.
        I’m pretty sure this is not what most folks would like, especially those progressives out there.
        If you have a better idea than single payer, I would really like to hear it!
        But, really, Medicare X is a bandaid on a gaping gunshot wound.

      • I suspect we’ll get a better sense of whether and how the three candidates in this race differ on policy as we get deeper into the primary season. But this comment suggests a measurable gap between the Suddarth and Santana proposals on health care: one would add what amounts to a public option to the ACA, while the other would move the system toward true single payer with government as the insurer. While a public option would have improved the ACA and adding one now is a good idea, this doesn’t really solve the core problems here: far too much money goes into a health care system that doesn’t actually provide anyone with care, and millions of Americans have no access to care at all.

        Medicare X does nothing to attack the first problem, and in some ways may make it worse by adding yet another paperwork maze for doctors and other health care providers to navigate. Administrative costs bleed the system of funds better spent on doctor visits and x-rays, and they do this by forcing providers to understand and manage individual submission and reimbursement procedures for every private insurance or government payer. Suddarth’s plan avoids these issues and cuts these costs since doctors and hospitals would have to interact with a single organization that pays for care – single payer.

        It’s also not clear that Medicare X does very much to expand coverage. After all, Americans would have to purchase plans, just as they do with private insurance. Yes, the government would offer subsidies, as it does for private plans on the exchanges (the management of which would increase administrative costs, by the way). But subsidies or no, the core problem with the current system is that it rations care according to who has money, not according to who needs care. Medicare X does not fix this.

        The ACA expanded care by expanding government insurance (Medicaid) and giving people without government or employee provided insurance a way to get care at a reasonable cost. This did not lead to universal care since many Americans cannot even afford that “reasonable cost.” So those who can’t afford care still end up in emergency rooms. And the entrepreneur who wants to start a business has the same problem – how to pay for health insurance until the new firm takes off? Medicare X increases administrative costs by adding yet another set of rules from yet another payer but only iincreases the number of Americans with access to care at the margins.

        Yes, getting this through Congress won’t be easy. But single payer is the best way to ensure the most universal coverage at the lowest cost and with the best outcomes. And since the current systems bleeds the economy of productivity, and Americans of their lives, it’s time for more than incremental change and band-aids. John Suddarth is leading on this issue because the people he meets in the First District every day ask him to. He deserves support from Democrats across the party.

        • Jay Brock

          Could not agree more.
          This comment shows a deep understanding of the problem, and the proper solution.
          If Mr.Suddarth is leading on this issue, he deserves our support.
          Asking for Republican buy-in has proven largely futile.
          Expending all our energy to electing candidates such as Mr. Suddarth to take a leadership role in resolving this is the way to go.
          Electing him as our next Congressman this November will send a message to other legislators, including Kaine and Warner, that this is a solution the voters want, and the voters want the legislators to support.

      • Jay Brock

        Please check with Edwin on this one.
        Last I looked he was all in for single payer!

    • Kenneth Ferland

      This is a point that democrats need to emphasize MORE when talking about any universal healthcare system. It is VERY pro-entrepreneur.

      • Jay Brock

        Completely agree. Single payer is very pro business. Especially for anyone wanting to start a business. And also very pro people.
        Interesting.

  • Jay Brock

    I have had several discussions with Mr. Suddarth on the healthcare problems facing the nation. He understands the need for an overhaul of our health insurance system from one that works mostly for the benefit of the insurance industry to one that will primarily be for the benefit of the people.
    In other words, a single payer such as National Improved Medicare for All.
    Because in America, we already put enough money into the system to cover everyone.
    We just don’t spend it wisely.
    Because the current system wastes some $1/2 Trillion each year in administrative costs.
    Money that should instead be spent on real medical care for real people.
    And that $1/2 Trillion, if spent on medical care, not paperwork, is enough to give all currently uninsured people medical care. And along with everyone else, without copays or deductibles.
    No half measure will suffice.
    We need single payer/NIMA now.

    • I definitely wouldn’t consider Sen. Kaine’s Medicare X proposal to be a “half measure.”

      • Jay Brock

        Would love to hear your reasoning.

          • Jay Brock

            Thank you for the references.
            They make for some interesting reading.
            Basically, there are two ways to perceive healthcare in America.
            Two different perspectives each assuming fundamentally different viewpoints on how to proceed.
            One perspective: the current health insurance system, essentially based on the idea of a free market, is good.
            The second: the current health insurance system is inadequate to solve the problems the country faces and should be fundamentally transformed.
            Note that I did not say that we are fundamentally changing our entire health care system.
            That is a trope.
            We are simply changing how we pay for it.
            And in such a way that we should be able to solve the twin problems our country faces: too many people cannot afford the medical care they need; and the country pays way too much as a whole for the care it receives.
            The nub of the problem is that our current, incomprehensibly complicated health insurance system has built-in administrative costs that are estimated to add $500 Billion to what we as a nation pay for “healthcare”.
            If actually spent on real care for real people, that $500 Billion, If actually added to the pot of money we would actually spend on patient care, is enough to cover everyone living here with first dollar coverage for all medically necessary care.
            No more monthly premiums, or huge deductibles in the tens of thousands of dollars, for people in the middle or working classes.
            Instead, if everyone paid into the system, and their healthcare contribution is paid on a progressive basis (as in based on income, not progressive/liberal political policies), you end up where 95% of American families will pay less for healthcare than they do now.
            No more medical bankruptcies that plague hundreds of thousands of hardworking families as with the current system.
            But “CHOICE”, Senators Kaine and Bennett proclaim.
            Well, choice in a free market system means that you can purchase a cheaper insurance policies with cheaper premiums.
            Great.
            Just be aware that in a free market system, you get what you can pay for.
            And cheaper premiums means those policies cover less.
            Maybe a lot less.
            That “seismic shift n now Americans are used to getting health care”
            that Ms. Kliff talks about is inaccurate: why should I care with whether my current insurance company pays part of my bill, or National Improved Medicare for All pays all of it?
            And why should my provider care, as long as he no longer has to provide uncompensated care.
            And the very slow change to a Medicare X over at least the next 6 years?
            Do you want to be the one to tell a family they have to wait until 2024 until they can buy into a Medicare X that while offering some improvements still means they will be subjected to huge premiums and deductibles after 2024?
            Actually, there may be one way to get to a true universal healthcare system while not changing our current system.
            Simply add an ADDITIONAL $500 Billion onto the system.
            We might then be able to cover everyone.
            Maybe even without huge deductibles and ever increasing copays ( which studies show only manage to prevent patients from getting the care they need).
            But even then, we will still be facing increasing costs of care and administration, because unless we change our system, we will still have a system where no one is responsible, no one is in charge, and problems continue to fester.
            By the way, such a system works quite well in Canada.
            Talk to Canadians.
            Even the conservative ones like their single payer system.
            And their wait times? Way overblown. The vast majority of Canadians get the vast majority of their care in a timely fashion.
            And don’t have to worry about paying for it.
            And don’t have to stick with a job they may heate just because that is how they get their health insurance.
            Canada. With a population and an economy 1/10 the size of the US.
            We are really NOT reinventing the wheel here.
            Perhaps the task should be: please explain to me why we should keep our current system, where employers don’t like that monkey on their backs, our nation’s global competitiveness is at risk, and employees are more and more disenchanted with a system that gets evermore expensive and makes them feel increasingly under the thumb of indifferent health insurance companies.
            I hope you will continue this conversation.
            Thanks!

          • Jay Brock

            Please see my reply to rstantonscott below. Thanks.

  • Philip Whitman

    In my fantasy, we would transition to a universal, multi-payer system à la Germany.

    Absent that, I suppose I’m more in the Medicare X camp.

    • Jay Brock

      Switzerland has such a system: where every health insurance company sells identical policies at the same price set by the government. Which is almost identical to a single payer. But to keep using our current system as the basis for a future payment system doesn’t make sense to me—look at my other posts here.
      Can you explain your reasoning?

      • Philip Whitman

        I favor a system that preserves private insurance to a small degree. You could get more buy-in from the public if they knew they could theoretically purchase their own coverage if they really wanted it.

        Also, while the insurance industry is sure initially to oppose any change, getting them to accept a reduced role is conceivable when the alternative is to be legislated out of existence.

        • Jay Brock

          Why would you want to keep private insurance even to a small degree?
          (Hopefully you were able to read my other posts here and have seen my argument that preserving the current system means we save no money etc etc.)
          Would really appreciate your thinking on the matter. Thanks!

          • Philip Whitman

            Because people like options and hate disruption. Implementing the ACA was nothing compared to what Medicare for All would entail, and it still caused a ridiculous number of complaints from people who felt they were being forced on to a plan they didn’t like.

            I’m by no means an expert on the German model, but as I indicated I like what I’ve seen. 90% on a public plan isn’t nothing, and I’m not so against private insurance that letting 1 in 10 go that route bothers me.

          • Jay Brock

            Then you will “like” spending an extra $500 Billion a year to cover everyone
            And “like” a System where the problems of unaffordable premiums and huge deductibles persists. Resulting in all those medical bankruptcies.
            And you will “like” a system where costs keep going up because no one is responsible for the system.
            And hopefully you will “like” a system where both the politicians and the insurance companies have more control over your healthcare than your physician.
            My question was to get your reasoning behind your statements.
            I understand what you may like, but not why, or what policy reasons you may use to support your position.
            Hopefully you can elucidate further.
            Thanks!

          • Philip Whitman

            No, I don’t like any of that, which is why I want a strong public option and a move towards a multi-payer system. Medicare X is one way. Another is the Medicare Extra plan proposed by the Center for American Progress (which actually is almost single-payer).

            A lot of Medicare for All proposals rely on best-case economic projections and assume that the public would immediately love the idea. I’m more cautious and think we can achieve the same goals with a different mechanism.

            Beyond that, I don’t have much to add.

          • Yep, I’m pretty much with Philip Whitman on this one. I’d just add that I wish the ACA had included a robust public option back in 2010, as many of us (myself included) fought hard for at the time. We’d be a lot better off today if we had gone in that direction, which is basically the direction Tim Kaine’s Medicare X would move us in. As for single payer vs. Medicare X, see https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sanders-single-payer-versus-kaines-public-option_us_5a09e902e4b06d8966cf31cc This is basically where my head is at right now..

            Comparing the two plans

            Medicare-for-all more effectively accomplishes the goal of universal healthcare, but at greater cost and with more disruption to the existing system.

            Medicare X ensures every consumer has the option to buy individual insurance, likely at a lower cost than the plans currently offered by private carriers. But consumers would still be responsible for premiums and out-of-pocket spending, so affordability would still be an issue for some consumers.

            In this way, a public option does not achieve universal healthcare to the same degree as a single-payer approach.

            But it represents a less dramatic disruption to the U.S. healthcare system than Sanders’ plan. Allowing consumers to buy into Medicare would be a big change, but it wouldn’t require the dismantling of the existing health insurance industry. Consumers would still have non-government options available if they preferred to purchase private insurance, and plans offered by employers would not be affected.

            The question of what would happen to the current health insurance industry is a big one for single-payer proponents. What would happen to BlueCross, Aetna, or Cigna? UnitedHealth Group alone has 230,000 employees. What would happen to these workers if the private health insurance system was dismantled?

            Even if we could get the nation to agree that single-payer is the right approach—no small task—practically speaking, it isn’t clear how we would accomplish the transition.

            For this reason, Medicare X may have a better shot of becoming the Democratic Party platform than Medicare-for-All.

          • John Suddarth

            In Germany health insurance is mandatory, the insurers are non-profit, and no enrollee can be turned down. The federal government pays for the overwhelming majority of healthcare and in general there is a much stronger safety net so everyone is covered. There is no uncompensated care at emergency rooms like exists here in the US. It is better and less expensive than what we have but it is not as good as what is possible. Fundamental change almost always comes from pressure outside of government. Even as progressive a politician as President Obama hedged on gay marriage. Politicians on either side who have been in government for any extended period of time are sensitive to the objectives of the vested interests and have trouble thinking outside the box. Neither Jay nor I are saddled with the inability to think objectively about this because we’d be worried about what Anthem might say. If you don’t know where you are or where you want to go, any road will do. If you know your final objective–universal healthcare delivered as efficiently and as cost effectively as is possible, why would you settle short of your destination. I will advocate for true single-payer. Would I vote for Medicare X and give more people access to healthcare? Absolutely. But I would not pretend it was the best solution. Jay, thank you for making the case for the right choice.

          • Jay Brock

            Exactly right.
            The problem is that incremental change will not fix the underlying problems of millions who either cannot afford or do not have health coverage, and prices that continue to skyrocket.
            There are many who feel the system is basically fine and only needs a few tweaks.
            These folks tend to have health insurance that is supplied by an employer, have very affordable copays, limited deductibles, and may not be aware of what it is like to have a child with a serious or chronic illness and medical care is not affordable.
            These folks may not be aware of how employer-based health insurance makes American companies less competitive in the global marketplace.
            These folks may not be aware of the many fundamentally conservative values deeply imbedded in a single payer system, including less government contol, increased competition, cheaper to run, able to bend the healthcare cost curve, as well as being great for businesses of all sizes, and especially start-ups.
            And just because Tim Kaine is for it is not enough reason to be for it.
            Mostly, though, these folks are not able to explain why they think the current system is adequate, except to say that change is hard.
            Which is to imply that the United States of America is not capable of such change.
            Really?

            ho

          • Jay Brock

            See my comments to Mr. Suddarth’s post please.

          • Jay Brock

            So the argument boils down to:
            How does perpetuating our current system solve the twin problems of lack of health insurance/unaffordable care PLUS medical costs twice that of most other industrialized nations?

  • RobertColgan

    Wow.
    It’s a shame I’m a latecomer to this little brouhaha since I have been campaigning for a singlepayer system (full expansion of Medicare with progressive premiums based on income while retaining private insurers for those who wish to have elective procedures underwritten such as cosmetic surgery) well before I got into healthcare.

    The reasoning that retaining regular insurers gets the job done fails completely to understand that theirs is a for-profit enterprise. In order to maintain that profit margin and increase it yearly insurers seek ways to lessen their overhead——-ultimately leading to lobbying efforts by insurers to tweak the system THEIR direction. They’ve done this ever since they got involved in the healthcare apparatus (I hate to use the word “industry” for this…….we’re talking basic human need and compassionate care—–not profit) and cannot be trusted, given the terrible record of oversight over the decades by a collusive and self-aggrandizing government deeply embedded in profit-sharing.
    And, like I said, they would still be able to write policies for elective procedures should there be such a market for them to exploit.

    One of the key points that keeps getting missed in all discussions of healthcare is the paradigm shift that occurs when it moves toward universal coverage…..there are many reasons why health improves dramatically under such a system but most of them have to do with removing the onus of WORRYING whether a sudden illness/injury or a more serious disease is going to end all fiscal solvency—— which under the current system it can and does all too frequently.

    When you are worrying, even background, subconsciously, it takes a toll. Other actions stem from this worry……there is less ability to truly focus effectively and fully. Compensatory behaviors often are poor choices which lead to poor outcomes.
    And, as Dr Selye proved long ago with his research on the effects of stress/trauma on creatures emotional damage leads to internal physical damage.
    We are constantly making ourselves sicker as a nation and the profit-driven 17% of the economy that is hungry for more doesn’t mind this in the least……subtly encourages sickness in fact through mass marketing practices.

    All of this would shift when we move away from a PROFIT-DRIVEN system.
    We would become a healthier, and less distracted electorate——-less prone to self-destructive behaviors, less prone to electing idiots into office………ultimately a stronger nation overall.
    The shift would occur relatively quickly in my estimation……in probably half a generation, ~10 years.

    And, I agree——-I’d rather see a person with Suddarth’s wisdom in the Senate than either Kaine or Warner……who I think have been drifting toward supporting a very dangerous status quo whether they are conscious of it or not.
    We need rebels, not co-conspirators.