Give Me the Money!

During the years I taught government another teacher and myself would invite state politicians to discuss our classes about the realities of being a politician. We had both a Democrat and a Republican and they always did a wonderful job.

One question always asked by students was some form of, “How’s come you guys don’t do thus and thus?” The standard answer was always, “OK, I’ll do that, just give me the money.” People want to believe government functions on air and politicians can just wave their hands and things happen. Of course, the reality is that everything takes money and the most common source of money for government is taxes.

The hot topic now is healthcare and how to pay for it. The GOP pretends it can somehow be financed while at the same time issuing some form of general income tax relief. That’s exactly what the last Bush administration tried and that resulted in the worst recession in our history. The national debt is at its highest because a tax cut, major increase in Medicare coverage, a major financial bailout, and two major wars were paid for with borrowed money and not raising taxes.

American’s could have a single-payer universal healthcare system, like Canada’s, and pay for it with a reasonable graduated tax increase. Given that the day-to-day cost of medical care would lessen and they would no longer pay insurance premiums, their overall healthcare cost would be lowered. The typical family would be money ahead. Also like the Canadians, if they chose to go outside the system they would still have that option.

Such a plan would be both simple and difficult. Simple in that there exists many examples to model on. Difficult because there are whole industries that would have to adjust to a different reality. The natural hatred of paying more taxes would have to be dealt with. The GOP would have to ease up on its traditional positions regarding government involvement and higher taxes. And, what may be the most difficult is such a change would require a serious willingness for hard work, long-term planning, and compromise.

There is no question that America can have universal medical care for all its citizens, it’s being done by every major nation on the planet. Just give them the money!

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