The United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide health coverage for all of its citizens. We
pay twice as much for healthcare in our country as any other country that provides medical care for their people, and that leaves 27 million Americans that are not covered. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about Medicare for All.
We need to set the facts straight.
Medicare For All
MEDICARE FOR ALL
A single-payer system would save Americans money. Some people argue that a Medicare for All, one such single-payer system, would cost too much and raise taxes. The truth is that the profits that our country pays to individual insurance companies and their executives costs us more than Medicare for All would cost. If all the rules were the same for everyone, it would cost less by making the charges for care and procedures the same across the board, while simplifying the process and requiring less filing and billing differences. It would save on the cost of care and medication by assuring that that charges were fair for everyone.
We have many examples of single-payer systems in other countries to use as an example. Most of these programs require no co-pay for their services, and include head-to-toe coverage that provides dental and eye care.
Would it increase taxes? It would increase the taxes of the wealthy, who don’t pay their fair percentage of taxes. It might increase the taxes of the upper middle class and middle class, but would do away with co-pays and deductibles, and decrease the monthly cost of healthcare for all. It would also provide healthcare to every person in this country, rich or poor. It would assure that a high standard of care would be maintained for every one of us. If you are a Senator, a Congressperson, or a homeless person, your care would be the same. A healthier nation means a happier nation. All human beings have the right to housing, food and healthcare. How can you go to work, get an education, and feed your family if you don’t have the healthcare we all need at some time in our lives to stay in the workforce.
Tying your healthcare to your job is particularly dangerous, as our recent economic troubles have shown us. What happens when you are laid off, or lose your job? You lose your healthcare. As we have seen during the current pandemic and economic recession, this can be a deadly combination. A single-payer system takes the responsibility of healthcare off of the employer, and in the case of small business owners saves them money. This enables these employers to pay better wages and be more able to provide benefits like paid family leave.
Some feel that care would be slower and not always available with a single-payer system. They worry that they would have to wait for needed surgery. If that were true, then Medicare and Medicaid would not work—but they do. In an emergency care situation, surgery is available immediately. The only surgery that may be delayed is non-life-threatening and elective surgeries. We all know people waiting for surgery that they need right now, under the current system. The hold-up is almost always associated with paperwork and permissions associated with your private insurance carrier.
My husband was a disabled Vietnam era veteran. I am privileged to have TriCare for the rest of my life, which will become my secondary coverage when I turn 65. I had a lumbar disc replacement a few years ago, and recently had to undergo a rotator cuff repair. With my “government insurance,” I was treated in an acceptable time period, with successful treatment, and without expensive deductibles. Everyone should get the care and treatment that is provided to me at a cost that is affordable. No one should have to go into medical bankruptcy to stay healthy and active. I’m proud that healthcare is a benefit that my family has received because of my husband’s service to our country. I feel that this is a benefit we all should have as Americans who work and pay fair taxes.
This issue has been pursued by many brave Senators and Congresspeople since 1955 (the year I was born). In 1965, their efforts did result in the Medicare and Medicaid programs that we currently have. It is past time to assure care for all Americans. It is past time to stop providing profits to insurance companies that pay their executives millions of dollars in yearly bonuses on the backs of the working people that go bankrupt paying medical bills. That is why I, along with many other nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals, am joining with groups like National Nurses United to support a Medicare for All single-payer plan.