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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 10/25/19

The ignorance about universal healthcare for Americans is astounding, incomprehensible

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Message Michael Payne

*Some 45,000 Americans die each year from a lack of medical insurance, that's terrible, appalling news. Here is the link to a study conducted at Harvard Medical School that supports that statistic.

Now let's get into costs of the US systems, followed by a discussion of what a universal system would cost and how it would save a great deal of taxpayer dollars when fully implemented.

It has been fully confirmed that the annual per capita costs of the US healthcare systems are 2 to 2-1/2 times the average cost of the other developed nations. U.S. health care spending increased by some 3.9 percent in 2017, totaling $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person. It was $3.65 trillion in 2018. Health spending accounted for 17.9 percent of the nation's total GDP.

Right now these Democratic debates don't allow candidates to go into great detail on any issue. But Sanders and Warren should be stressing this: "if the US annual cost is $3.65 trillion, or about $36 trillion for 10 years, and the US adopted a similar system to the other developed nations, the savings over 10 years would be astounding.

Maybe it would not come down to the same level as the other nations but it would be very significant.

They should stress the fact that the great savings would come from having no premiums, no deductibles, and no co-pays. Yes, Americans would pay some more in taxes but the overall savings would be far greater. And they need to mention that, very soon, they will present a great deal more detail on how all this would work.

Before long there are going to be many studies made of the costs and benefits of such a system. In the following, we already have a very comprehensive, 200-page analysis by Peri, the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

It determined that, "based on 2017 U.S. healthcare expenditure figures, the cumulative savings for the first decade operating under Medicare for All would be $5.1 trillion, equal to 2.1 percent of cumulative GDP; without accounting for broader macroeconomic benefits such as increased productivity, greater income equality, and net job creation through lower operating costs for small- and medium-sized businesses."

So it would seem that this U.S. Congress, knowing that such a new system would save this country over $5 trillion over the next decade, and greatly improve healthcare for all Americans, would be anxious to implement it as soon as possible. But, Republicans who could care less about the welfare of the people of this country, and our ignorant president, no doubt, will continue to obstruct all efforts to do so.

And if you can believe it, Republicans' Dear Leader Trump, not that long ago, made this observation in one of his twisted tweets about the possibility of some form of universal medical coverage., He said on SEPTEMBER 14, 2017, "Bernie Sanders is pushing hard for a single-payer healthcare plan - a curse on the U.S. & its people."

Well, that statement is certainly way over the top and shows his disdain relative to healthcare for every American. Next thing you know we may hear Trump saying something like this: "This Democrats advocating universal healthcare are nuts. I guess the next crazy idea they will put forth is to recommend we launch a program to send a man to the moon in a spaceship!"

And, for those who say that this government cannot be trusted to run a system of healthcare, that is just plain ignorant because it is already running the Medicare System which currently covers 44 million beneficiaries. Enrollment is expected to rise to 79 million by 2030.

Warren, who has been greatly criticized for failing to say how she would pay for such a system, has announced that she will roll out a plan in several weeks that will give the details of how she will pay for it. Let's see what she comes up with. If she does a very effective job of it then maybe we will see most of this current ignorance about this issue dissipate.

Such a complex system cannot, must not be implemented all at once but must be phased in over some ten years or even more. And here's where a major decision must be made. Sanders and Warren want to eliminate all private insurance and have a system run solely by the government. Biden and others favor one which, at least in the beginning years, allows people to keep their private insurance; or they can opt for the public option which is Medicare for All.

That is certainly a big decision and it will be made after much deliberation. But in the end, I feel that Medicare for All must cover every American and private insurance must eventually become a thing of the past.

All that having been said, this government, the Congress, and all its members should do what is right and grab this opportunity to save these trillions of dollars and provide what might turn out to be, at some point in time, the best healthcare system in the world.

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