Bernie's Single Payer Health
Proposal Makes Sense
Which is why those who got rich off the current nightmare will wage all
out war against it
September 14, 2017
Chronicle news & opinion
Top photo: Sen. Sanders on Wednesday unveiling his single-payer Medicare For All health plan. Below: chart released by Sanders within past two years showing Americans pay highest drug prices of any modern country. CLICK TO ENLARGE
(NATIONAL) -- You may have noticed something over the years. Not one modern democracy on the planet has adopted the type of dysfunctional, expensive, exclusionary and wildly inefficient health insurance "system" that America has. Not one.
They all looked at America's system of health insurance (if you can call it that) over the years and all said the same thing: that's a crazy, expensive and dumb way to run health care -- which is why Canadians, the British, the Norwegians and all the rest would never trade their system of health insurance and health care for ours.
The United States spends more on health-care costs per capita than any other industrialized nation. Why? American voters are the only ones on earth (it appears) dumb enough to allow it and beyond that dumb enough to keep electing the nimrods to Congress who keep the current system in play.
Not only would the leaders of those other countries be nuts to trade their system for ours -- as it would ravage their economies and leave millions without access to decent health care as happens in America -- but also their citizens would vote them out of office if they tried to steamroll a lousy, costly, inefficient system like America's into their own country.
It would be political suicide.
Enter from stage left the man who makes sense
On Wednesday Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (Feel the Bern!) finally unveiled his single-payer, Medicare for All health plan which, as a story in The Atlantic puts it, shifts the talk "Of single payer on Capitol Hill from an abstract conversation over whether the government should provide universal health coverage to a concrete discussion of a specific bill."
"With Republicans in control of Congress, single payer won’t pass, but supporters hope the legislation will increase public support, and political will, for an idea that has long been considered a long-shot liberal dream in the United States," noted The Atlantic story.
The same report talks about how things have changed since Sanders and others first talked about single-payer coverage concept:
"High-profile Democratic senators and potential 2020 contenders, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker, announced they would co-sponsor the bill before it was even made public. The last time Sanders introduced a “Medicare-for-all” bill in 2013, he had zero co-sponsors in the Senate. This time, 15 Democrats are co-sponsoring the bill so far in addition to Sanders."
A true national health insurance plan
The Sanders proposal would set up, like every other modern country has, a national health insurance program administered by the federal government.
And just like a citizen of Great Britain or France, you pay your taxes to the government and just like those countries your government has to give you something of value in return for those taxes -- quality health care for EVERYONE in the country.
Gone will be you having to pay exorbitant health insurance premiums to keep HMO, hospital and drug company CEO's on the Forbes billionaire list.
There's no rocket science with this because the concept is already tried, tuned and proven all across the globe. It works, works well, is fair, cost efficient and covers all citizens. Nobody here in America needs to reinvent the wheel.
You will not find a single parent in say, Sweden, who makes very little money and cannot afford to take his of her kids to the doctor or get them an operation or the medicine they need. That family has the same access to high quality medical care as a millionaire, and that is as it should be.
But in America that same family, unless they are covered by Obamacare or an employer plan, is SOL in many cases and that is a national disgrace -- as is a cabal of Republicans who recently thought introducing legislation that would take away health care from 24 million Americans was a great idea, so they could take the money that covered those people and give it to rich people.
You have to wonder some times if this country is run not by college educated lawmakers but by corrupt, heartless, soul-less monsters.
Right before Sanders made his announcement Wednesday, some supporters shared personal stories of medical professionals struggling to provide care to people as well as patients in this country who need that care.
An oncology nurse told the story of a cancer patient who could not afford to continuously empty the fluid building up in her lungs. The problem? The price of the drainage bags was only covered in part by insurance and that in turn forced the woman to ration her use of the bags.
Welcome again to health care rip-off, American style.
A single-payer plan: the way to go
Under the Sanders proposal everything, from your primary care doctor to specialists to hospital stays would be covered and without a requirement for out-of-pocket spending on deductibles and co-payments.
What a concept! Americans could still use private insurance plans if they so desire in order to cover services that are not medically necessary, such as plastic surgery.
The bill also would bring Americans lower drug prices by (finally) allowing the federal government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, just like every other modern democracy does.
Congress now prohibits that because, for reasons of their own, the wonderful GOP lawmakers currently running the show must love sky high drug prices in this country because they work very hard to maintain the status drug quo.
End result of that? You, the average American subsidizes the low drug prices Canadians pay.
In some circles that is called being played for a sap and a sucker.
You'd be shocked to see what Canadians pay for drugs compared to what you pay for the same drugs in the land of the free, home of the brave.
In making his announcement Wednesday Sanders said the costs of the current health care system in America is "insane and unaffordable." Amen to that.
And Sanders is betting you'll love his plan because it means more money in your pocket as you'll "no longer be writing checks to private insurance companies," said Bernie.
CNN noted that for those whose taxes would go up with Medicare For All, Sanders said "that expense will be more than offset by the money are you are saving with the elimination of private insurance costs."
Sen. Sanders said he's going to take the bill on the road to "every state in the country and hear what the people have to say about it.
He calls his planned stops a "roving national workshop."
In his announcement Sanders also mentioned the Republicans that will have hissy-fits over the thing and will fight against the bill. To that he said the Republican party has "no credibility on the issue of health care."
"To my Republican colleagues, please don't lecture us on health care," Sanders said. "In the last few months, you, the Republican Party have shown the American people what you stand for" by voting to destroy Obamacare.
And just who wants what Bernie is proposing? You do. Some 53% of Americans support a national health care plan, according to a June poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
That's up from 50% last year and from 40% between 1998 and 2000. Bernie's plan is one whose time has come.