by Ken Kenegos
Nurse and longtime advocate for single payer healthcare
AZ Medicare for All Coalition
AZ PDA Healthcare Coordinator
Rich Lowry’s piece from 2/5/19 puts forward the same old arguments against Medicare for All that are easily refuted with the facts. It begs the question: Is he that ignorant of the facts? He is not. These are the talking points of the private health insurers and the other healthcare profiteers in their attempt to scare and confuse the public.
The first question we must ask in response is “What do private insurance companies add in value to healthcare?” They add nothing. They only take money out of healthcare. That is the reason why 31 cents out of every healthcare dollar in the US does not go to healthcare. It goes to profits, advertising, lobbying and large private bureaucracies seeking to limit care. It also goes to the expenses of real healthcare providers to keep up with rules and obstacles presented to them by multiple insurance companies. Compare that to the 2% overhead of traditional Medicare.
Mr. Lowry bemoans what he presents as the awful fate of people with private insurance having to give up what they now have. He says that three-quarters of those with private insurance like what they have now. That is because most people are healthy and have minimal healthcare needs. Just wait until they have a problem and the bills flood in. Here is the truth about the changes they will experience under an expanded and improved Medicare for All. Currently, their paycheck shows the amount that has been deducted and sent to the insurance company. Under MFA that amount will be smaller and it will go to the public Medicare for All fund. There will be no co-pays or deductibles and you can see any doctor, no networks. Services will be expanded to include prescription drugs, dental, vision,
What we have now is not a healthcare system. It is a wealthcare system. Private insurers are required by law to produce maximum profits for their share holders. It produces tremendous wealth for the very few. Healthcare is a side effect for some, sometimes. This is not rocket science. It has been done by every advanced country. On average they pay about half of what we pay for healthcare per person. They have higher life expectancies, lower infant and maternal mortality rates and fewer deaths from preventable diseases.
We need a Healthcare System designed to improve and maintain our health. That is what Medicare for All is.