The United States of America (USA) has the worst form of healthcare financing of any other developed nation in the world. USA citizens pay, on average, twice per capita than citizens of any other developed nation. USA is the only developed nation in the world that does not have some form of government financed healthcare for ALL of its citizens. USA ranks quite low in many important healthcare outcome categories. See a pattern here?
USA has a financing system based on a “free-market” economic concept. It is important to point out that our need for medical care is not well suited for a “free-market” system. The “free-market” concept is predicated on the premise that the parties involved in the contract/agreement have equal choice/power in the arrangements. In the case of our medical needs we seldom choose to become ill or injured. At the point of need we have little choice/power in our need for care. The power/choice is in the hands of the provider (in this case the insurance, pharmaceutical, medical equipment/supply, and some for-profit hospital/clinic industries).
It is for these reasons that I would strongly encourage the enactment into law H.R. 676. This resolution would establish a national government financed healthcare plan which would take the profit out of healthcare. This would eliminate the burden on businesses of providing their employees healthcare benefits. It would remove the dependence of employment in order to have healthcare benefits. Yes, we would all pay a little more in taxes in order to fund this financing plan, but we would pay less than we now pay for our healthcare insurance premiums. This would reduce costs to businesses as well as to employees in regard to our healthcare financing. We would join the rest of the developed world in providing all of our citizens the healthcare financing that they need and would improve our standing in many healthcare outcome categories.
For more information on H.R. 676 see www.pnhp.org (Physicians for a National Health Plan), www.healthcare-NOW.org , www.mforallorg. , or www.madashelldoctors.com Become informed … get involved. Let us provide for one another this very basic and important human need. Let us create healthcare freedom, justice and equality.
The U.S. needs to establish a national government financed single-payer healthcare insurance plan such as H.R. 676. As long as the private-for-profit healthcare insurance industry is involved in the financing of our healthcare we (all Americans) will pay too much for our healthcare.
H.R. 676 would pool all of the current revenues (private insurance premiums, Medicare, Medicaid, VA Medical Administration, etc) into a single insurance plan. It would be one large risk pool and everyone would pay their fair share based on ability to pay. The insurance plan would cover every American from the womb to the tomb.
Businesses would benefit as they would no longer be burdened with providing their employees (and their families) with healthcare benefits. This would improve their bottom line. Employees would benefit as they would no longer have the healthcare insurance premiums coming out of their paychecks. Yes, the Medicare tax would have to be increased, but not by as much as the premiums were. Everyone would have more cash left in their pockets. This would be a great stimulus for our struggling economy.
No longer would families have to worry about a major medical event wiping out everything that they had worked so hard for. No longer would families go bankrupt or be foreclosed upon due to medical bills. This too would boost our economy as households would be more stable.
Some conservatives scream and holler, ‘socialized medicine’, but they have no answer for our escalating healthcare costs. In reality we have many ‘socialized’ services. We live in an economy that is a mixture of socialism and capitalism. Some aspects of our economy are just not well suited for capitalism and healthcare is one of them.
The U.S. is the only developed nation in the world that does not have some sort of government financed healthcare.
The citizens of the U.S. pay about twice as much for their healthcare (per capita) than any other developed nation in the world.
The U.S. ranks from somewhere in the middle to the bottom in many important healthcare outcome categories.
There is a reason for these facts and it is primarily the private-for-profit healthcare insurance industry.
July 7, 2012
Now that the PPACA, know as Obamacare by distracters as well as supporters, has been, for the most part, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, we need to take a closer look at it. The main portion of the law that was found to be unconstitutional was the requirement of each state to expand its Medicaid program to those who qualify to a more liberal set of conditions. The Supreme Court declared that the Federal Government could not withhold Medicaid funds from those states which refused to implement this plan.
Obamacare has a number of attractive features. It will require healthcare insurance carriers to expend at least 80% of their clients premiums on healthcare claims. It will allow some young adults to remain on their parent’s healthcare insurance plan. It will not allow the healthcare insurance industry to discriminate against those who have “pre-existing conditions”. It will set up healthcare insurance exchanges in each state through which those who currently do not have healthcare insurance can purchase a policy. If the state does not choose to set up an exchange the Federal Government will set one up for them. This is a short list of what the PPACA is suppose to do.
The most controversial issue involving Obamacare is the “mandate” that everyone must purchase a healthcare insurance policy or pay a fine/tax. Whether it is called a fine or a tax is a moot point as the end result is the same. The only real difference is the legal and/or political implication. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are spinning this in order to promote their particular political agenda. It is a shame that as important issue as our nation’s health has to be so politicized. It seems that in the polls that I have seen 46% of those polled favor the mandate and 46% do not. The rest of the law seems to be supported by a fairly large margin.
Now let’s look at the down-side of the PPACA. It will continue to leave millions of Americans uninsured and millions more underinsured. Of these, those who suffer a major medical event there will be an impact on healthcare costs as those expenditures will have to be absorbed by the rest of society. Those supporting PPACA claim that healthcare costs will be reduced while those opposed claim that it will not only not reduce costs, but will actually increase costs. The CBO is still evaluating these claims and is to file a report sometime in the future. Now, remember, the purpose of healthcare reform from the beginning was to provide healthcare financing for every American and reduce our per capita costs. Does the PPACA accomplish these two goals? In short, no, not really. There will remain millions un- and underinsured. The reduction in healthcare costs is debatable.
The PPACA also provides the healthcare insurance industry with millions of new clients…most of whom will be young and relatively healthy. This will give this industry an influx of new capital and should make them even more profitable than they currently are.
What, then, is the answer? In my opinion our nation needs to establish a national government financed healthcare plan. We need to expand and improve Medicare to cover every American. With the passage and Supreme Court upheld PPACA we can not become complacent. We must continue to promote and educate the benefits of H.R. 676 which will do exactly what I have just written. H.R. 676 will provide the financing for every American and at a reduced cost per capita. It will relieve businesses and corporations from the burden of providing their employees healthcare benefits. It will relieve employees of the high healthcare insurance premiums. It will accomplish the goals that were established in the beginning as we worked to reform our nation’s healthcare system.
I encourage everyone to educate themselves. Go to
www.pnhp.org and www.healthcare-now.org and www.mforall.org and www.madashelldoctors.com for this and much more information.
Eliminate the healthcare insurance industry that comsumes nearly 1/3 of our healthcare insurance premium dollars. These dollars go to CEO salaries/benefits/perks, shareholder returns, lobbying, political campaign contributions, administrative costs/overhead. and oh, profits. These are dollars that, if recouped, could be used to actually pay for our healthcare. Bring H.R. 676 to the Congressional floor and get it passed into law. That would lower our nation’s over-all cost of healthcare and provide the needed healthcare for every man, woman and child from birth to death. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) does some good things, but it falls far too short. H.R. 676 would IMPROVE and EXPAND Medicare into a much better system for financing our nation’s healthcare. But how many of our elected officials are addicted to the corporate money coming in from the healthcare industry? Is it any wonder that they want to maintain the status quo?
Healthcare Costs…let’s make it personal. We are all well aware of the high cost of healthcare in the United States. As much as twice as high as many other developed nations in the world. The figures that we hear are sometimes difficult to put into perspective as they are such high numbers and don’t really seem to have much to do with us on a personal level.
To assist us in making these statistics relevant to us as individuals I would like to challenge you to calculate how much you/your family spends on healthcare on an annual basis. Most of us pay some kind of healthcare insurance premium so that would be part of our annual healthcare cost. Most of us also may Medicare taxes so that would also be included as part of our healthcare costs even though it may not be spent on yourself personally. Most of us who have healthcare insurance still pay some out-of-pocket healthcare costs such as deductibles, co-pays and uncovered medical procedures/products. Some of us may also have long term disability or extended care insurance.
There are also other healthcare costs that we pay individually that we are often unaware of. Anytime we pay a sales tax some of that revenue goes to pay for the healthcare benefit of a government employee whether it is city, county or state. Anytime we make a purchase of a good or service a portion of that sales price is used to pay for an employees healthcare costs. When we contribute to a church, temple or synagogue a portion of that contribution is used to pay for the healthcare costs of those who are employed by that faith organization. These are difficult costs for us to calculate so for the purpose of this exercise we will not attempt to include them.
Now I would ask that you add together what you spend on an annual basis for healthcare. Here is an example (figures are approximate but realistic in today‘s healthcare world):
Healthcare insurance premiums (medical/vision/dental): $5840.00
Medicare Taxes: 2160.00
Long Term Disability Insurance/Extended Care: included in healthcare insurace
Out-of-pocket Medical Expenses: 3000.00
Sales taxes at point of purchase that pays for healthcare: ??
Portion of purchase price of goods/services: ??
Total that can be calculated: $11,000.00
Now this example is for a family of two so the cost per capita would be $5500.00. But remember it does not include the costs that are paid through consumer purchases and sales taxes so it is a conservative estimate.
Imagine what it would be like if your family did not have to buy healthcare insurance. How much more money would you have for discretionary spending? Imagine businesses (large and small) that did not have to provide healthcare insurance for their employees. How much revenue that would free up for expansion and development and the creation of jobs.
It has been proposed that if we were to take all the current revenue being consumed by our healthcare system and create a single-payer national healthcare plan, we could cover every man, woman and child from the womb to the tomb and still have monies left over. H.R. 676 is such a plan. H.R. 676 would reduce our nation’s over-all cost of healthcare (and each individual/family’s cost of healthcare) and provide the financing for the healthcare needs of 100% of our population.
Please take the time to educate yourself about H.R. 676 by going to these web-sites:
www.mforall.org www.healthcare-now.org www.pnhp.org and www.madashelldoctors.com If you agree that our nation would be better off with a healthcare system more in line with the rest of the developed nations of the world please add your voice to promote H.R. 676. Contact your elected representatives and let them know how you feel.
H.R. 676: The Sustainable Solution to our Nations Economic and Healthcare Challenges
It’s time to look at the hard and real issues surrounding our nations healthcare and economic challenges. For too long there has been this exchange of rhetoric between the right and the left, progressives and conservatives, regarding the issue of healthcare reform. It is pretty much agreed on that healthcare costs are far too high in this nation and that the rate of cost growth is simply unsustainable. Everyone understands that each year healthcare insurance premiums rise at a disproportional rate to the rise in the cost of living.
While the Affordable Care Act (dubbed Obama-care) has many beneficial features and may contain costs to some extent, it is becoming obvious that it is not enough. There are still far too many who are without healthcare coverage. This is a continual added stress on our struggling economy when families and individuals encounter a major medical event and, as a result, lose their income forcing them into bankruptcy and/or foreclosure. These situations cost all of us directly or indirectly.
Opponents of H.R. 676 continue to use motive words and phrases such as “socialized medicine”, “death-panels”, “loss of choice”, and many others. In reality we already have “socialized medicine” though the VA Medical Administration, Medicare and Medicaid, and other federal, state and local government programs. In fact, these programs make up half or more of our nations healthcare expenditures. Considering that Medicare expends only about 4-6% of its revenues on administrative and overhead compared to the healthcare insurance industries 30% or more, it makes economic sense that H.R. 676 is the most economical and efficient way to move. The concept of “death-panels” came from the portion of the law which refers to whether healthcare providers should be compensated for consulting with patients and families regarding end of life issues. This issue is no different that what we call advanced directives and/or “no code” status in our present situation. As far as choice is concerned, the insurance industry restricts our freedom of choice in regard to the healthcare providers we wish to see. Under H.R. 676 one would be free to see any healthcare provider as long as he/she was licensed or registered in the state in which he/she practices. Of course, licensure and/or registration is already part of our healthcare system.
We need to move away from language that continues to distort and/or skew the issues we face. As I understand it there are individuals who specialize in creating language which will put either a positive or a negative (depending on which way they wish to move) connotation on any particular issue. This is an intentional attempt to sway public opinion. We need to move away from this and address the issues directly without the use of these motive words and/or phrases.
H.R. 676, if brought out of committee and enacted into law, would eliminate the need to pay healthcare insurance premiums. For those of us who currently pay these premiums imagine how much that would leave in our pockets. It would also eliminate the portion of the premiums that employers currently pay. This is money that small businesses and corporations could put to use in expanding and hiring. Think how this could stimulate our struggling economy…not only in the short term but far into the future. H.R. 676 would provide a sustainable method for which to pay our nations healthcare costs.
But what about the Republicans…especially the Tea Party Republicans…who have vowed “no new taxes”? Yes, new revenue would have to be raised in order for this healthcare plan to be implemented. However, the additional taxes would be far less that the healthcare insurance premiums that we are currently paying.
In the final analysis H.R. 676 would provide healthcare for every man, woman and child…everyone in and no one out…from the womb to the tomb, and would reduce our nations over-all cost of healthcare. It is sustainable economically and is the social and moral direction that our nation needs to go.
For more information on H.R. 676 go to www.healthcare-now.org www.pnhp.org www.madashelldoctors.com and www.mforall.org You can download a PDF copy of H.R. 676 from some of these sites as well.
Support H.R. 676: Reduce the overall cost of out nations healthcare…AND…provide healthcare for every man, woman and child…no exceptions…from the womb to the tomb.