Medicare for all is a hot topic with progressive Democrats pushing for it and conservative Republicans falsely referring to it as communism and claiming it will bankrupt the nation.
Well, back in the fight over Obamacare days I did some checking and read a book or two about comparative health care systems. While I don’t remember much of the details I do remember the general knowledge I acquired. Lesson learned number one is that lots of countries have far better systems than America. Number two is that withing America the most efficient systems are the VA and Medicare. Both of which, by the way, are socialists systems and extremely popular.
One of the systems touted then and now is that of Germany. The abbreviated explanation is that Germany has free universal care that is funded by the government, employers, and employees. Additional, more comprehensive, coverage can be paid for out of pocket if one chooses. The average German family pays about 10% of their annual income for coverage.
In the US the average American family also pays about 10% of their income for health care. A major difference, however, is that in America, not everyone is covered and a family can be bankrupted following a major medical condition. That doesn’t happen in other nations.
The critics of Medicare for all claim it will cost the government $3 trillion a year for single-payer universal care. That is in the ballpark with what our current system costs but fails to cover everyone. Using the German example again, the Germans pay about 10% of their Gross National Product (GDP) for healthcare and everyone gets covered. America pays over 17% of its GDP and leaves millions uninsured. Americans without coverage often resort to the nation’s emergency rooms for limited care. ER care, as most people know, is the most expensive of all. My example would be having thrown my back out, going to the ER where they took Xrays, a CAT scan, and a script for Percocet. The bill came to over $9,000 which fortunately, most was absorbed by Medicare.
In the end, the truth for me seems to be that we Americans are paying more for and getting less than so many of those nations we want to criticize as being socialists. There are many reasons people and politicians are so fearful of universal health care and one of them may be a false sense of pride.
Well, maybe we need to swallow some of that pride and adopt a system that others invented and that covers everyone in a more effective and efficient manner. After all, Mexicans invented Mexican food and we have adopted it without harm.
NOTE: Trump is suggesting a change in the law that would permit Americans to import prescribed medicines from other nations where the price is cheaper. Isn’t that evidence that other systems are better?
UPDATE: The conservative Koch brothers hired the libertarian think tank, Mercatus Center, to conduct a study of the Medicare for All plan being promoted by such people as Bernie Sanders. When the numbers were crunched the conclusion was that when compared to what Americans are currently spending on health care, the MforA plan would save the nation “trillions.” It wouldn’t be cheap but it would be cheaper and everyone would have health care coverage. Click HERE for the complete article.