Now is the time to educate Americans about health care in other countries and to bring single-payer Medicare for all into the debate. It is imperative that Democrats use the current chaos and state of flux to promote significant change in Obamacare that morphs it into the best system.
One of the problems with health care insurance is that our chaotic system provides many different experiences to Americans. Most of your costs are taken care of if you are on Medicare or Medicaid. If you work for a private employer or the government, you have relatively low deductibles and copays. However, if you are an individual, health insurance is a nightmare.
Most Americans get their insurance through their employers, Medicaid, or Medicare. As such, many do not empathize with the problems of those who must purchase their insurance individually. Roughly 10% of Americans are in the individual health insurance market. They are the ones who see the full impact of the yearly pilfer by the medical industrial complex.
I have been on the individual market since 1989 where my premiums were always twice or more as much of a comparable employer-based plan. I had deductibles that were four to ten times as much. Obamacare immediately cut my insurance outlays in half. But as the years progressed, the rate creep began again. Why? The market does not work in health insurance.
For those with employer-based health insurance who believe they are immune, they should note that one factor in wage stagnation is that their employers are paying more for their health insurance. We should not have coupled insurance with employment. These are mutually exclusive issues.
Drug companies can charge whatever they want for their products. Hospitals can charge whatever they want for their services. Insurance can maneuver to maximize the amount of money they keep for executives by manipulating cost and expenses. In a real free market, customers have a choice to accept a product at a certain price, shop around, or altogether not purchase it. When one gets sick, the opportunity to shop around does not exist. One is at the behest of the immorality inherent in our health care delivery system.
You cannot tell an emergency room doctor not to go through some predefined protocol. You have no control of the cost. Moreover, many are justifiably ignorant of the services given or needed. They are not doctors.
Because of the former and for many other reasons, a society must not leave healthcare to the free market. It is expensive, immoral, and fiscally irresponsible.
Ali Velshi, a Canadian host at MSNBC, recently systematically busted several lies about America’s healthcare system relative to the rest of the industrialized world’s much more efficient systems. He’s been bringing reality to a population who continues to pat themselves on the back for their willful ignorance about the lousy health care system most Americans face.
America’s healthcare reality is in turmoil right now. It is in flux. Moreover, if we are real, we must admit that the Obamacare Marketplace in many markets is in trouble. The prices are prohibitive for many. Moreover, the new rates that will come out in October will be shocking to many and will price them out of health insurance altogether. We must blame the Trump administration as well for sabotaging the ACA. We cannot deny that inherent defects in Obamacare where the free market reign is a primary culprit. Every industrialized nation has already figured that out.
I always viewed Obamacare as the only pathway America had to single-payer Medicare for all. It was clear that it was a stop-gap measure. Democrats must not work solely on saving Obamacare because Republicans will use its defects as a pathway to Trumpcare.
Democrats must make the fix to Obamacare by presenting a route to single-payer Medicare for all. They must speak with one voice. They must promote reality-based comparisons with other countries as Ali Velshi has. They must present the simple arithmetic that illustrates the fact that the vast majority of our health care dollars end up in the pockets of a few and not to make America healthy.