Ok. So, this needs to be addressed, and thoroughly.
I’ve recently been seeing sigh again, some people giving some “anecdotal evidence“ that suggests that health insurance companies “are just fine“. They arrive at this dubious conclusion because, as they say, “I’ve never had a problem with my insurance company”. Ok….
Now, while I am truly thankful that some people have had no issues of note when dealing with their insurance companies (and wouldn’t it be great if it were always that way, but never will be), it should be noted that it is not that way for the vast majority of Americans. These people are outliers. The anomalies. They are the exception, not the norm. It’s must be great to be them, but they need to look up and see the big picture.
I’ve even seen the occasional doctor complain about “single payer healthcare“ because “we can’t even do Electronic Health Records (EMR) well. You expect government run healthcare to be good?“
…. I know a lot of doctors who would slap someone like this up the side of their heads….😳
Yes, EMR’s can and should be better but as someone who has used a variety of them, I can tell you that a lot of what you get out of them is what you put into them. User error and, quite frankly, laziness accounts for a lot of user dissatisfaction. But this goes for those that code them as well as for those that use them. Yes, they can be better and they must be better, but people must also use them better or it won’t matter. And all of that must be fought for. It won’t simply happen on it’s own. But while some in healthcare setting lash out at some tools, we must pay attention to doctor dissatisfaction with insurance companies. It is a fact that cannot be swept away by simply saying that “I never had such issues”. These people will have to come to terms with the fact that their experience does not translate into ‘everyone’s experience’.
A lot of misconceptions about Single Payer healthcare are addressed here:
With special attention here:
We need to get serious here, because what is being discussed is literally life and death.
One of the more egregious things I’ve seen in defense of “Single Payer opposition” are Unions. A lot of people seem to think that Unions won’t fight for Medicare For All (in fact, many allude to the idea that they would even fight against it) due to how hard they fought for the coverage they have, having forgone pay rises in favor of better heath benefits.
Now, that is not an idea without merit, but some important things should be stated about that.
It was wrong for those workers to have to chose between good (let alone, living) wages and healthcare. This cannot be stated often enough or loudly enough. This has directly led to countless amounts of suffering, misery, bankruptcies, and death. And it has to end. Not incrementally, but as soon as is humanly possible! It is not morally acceptable to allow needless suffering or immoral practices to continue when it can be ended.
Next is this idea that, since there will be opposition to an idea that we therefore cannot achieve it.
I reject that out of hand.
A fight is not something to shy away from simply because it might be hard to achieve victory. That is a hollow reason and completely without merit. When something is morally right, especially when we have the real resource capacity to achieve it and the monetary system to make it happen, you fight for it! You take on all comers! For SO many this is literally life and death. So what if it’s not your life or death? It’s someone’s. Thousands of them. Millions, even. You fight. When enough people join, you will win.
And joining in the fight is a choice. To fight or to not fight is always a choice. “It’s not politically possible to…” is an excuse. You cannot expect Congress to act in our favor because it will one day “See the light” and do the right thing. That will never happen. It never works that way. They must be pressured and forced to act. Right now, the only main force being exerted on Congress is coming from corporations – from Oligarchs. So many that believe in Single Payer healthcare, as may state they do, fail to rise up and demand it. They give up their own power to effect change. And all based on a lie. This is tantamount to allowing corporate interests to run the table. To control our lives.
When these people brush their teeth, they will be seeing a picture of why we don’t have what we need: they chose to not fight for something they claim to support.
So stop doing that. Then get others to stop doing that. Then we’ll win.
But these people would rather blame the GOP, insurance companies, Big Pharma, or Unions. They prefer to blame others for why Single Payer won’t happen. What they fail to see is that they became the ‘others’ when they made the choice to not stand and fight.
Let’s get real: the only reason Single Payer Healthcare is ‘hard to pass’ is staring back at a lot of ordinary people in the mirror, and It need not be that way. I truly hope these people learn to make new choices, and do so fast. Because people are dying while they ponder…
But, to finish this thought on Unions, let’s examine the argument.
Corporations started offering ‘wage compensation’ packages to attract workers. A chunk of this was health insurance. This was intended to be ‘above and beyond’ what was normally expected from an employer.
But it soon became the norm. And as medicine became more robust, and more services and procedures became possible, it got to be more and more expensive. Before anyone knew it, it got to be impossible to take these costs on, all on your own, so the idea of health insurance became very attractive.
Then Nixon allowed insurance companies to finally operate as ‘for profit’. Coincidence? No. It wasn’t. “Decisions are made by those who show up”, goes the old expression. Well, when the only ones who show up to make those decisions are the ones who will financially profit, you get an outcome that reflects that.
Don’t waste your time being surprised or outraged that Oligarchs and corporations act this way. A fox is a fox and will act like a fox. If you put it in charge of the hen house, it will not protect them – it will feast.
So now wages vs benefits have become a real issue. And workers were made to believe that they had to make a hard choice. They didn’t, but that was the line that was sold to us and most of the country bought it; hook, line, and sinker.
So now, instead of having higher wages, they have lower wages but ‘decent’ health insurance, and they want what they fought for. Under the circumstances, this is more akin to Stockholm Syndrome that anything else. Or the desperate cries of Salem residents who, when they realized that the witch hunts were all lies, stated “We cannot stop burning witches, now. It would be unfair to all those we already burned”! In other words “I suffered, so why shouldn’t you?”
Again, it need not ever be this way.
But, they should be taken care of. They did, in fact, fight hard for their compensation. But while their employers would no longer be on the hook for the outrageous sums needed to pay for their employees heath insurance plans under a Single Payer system, there is no guarantee that they would then turn around and invest this saved money in their employees in the form of wage hikes. I seriously doubt if any would. And why would they? That is not how corporations operate. Remember, they are foxes.
And I suppose the Unions could simply fight for those wage gains. This is what Unions are for, after all. But, they did already fight for those compensations, in one form or another, so it would be cruel to make them fight for them all over again. 100%.
So it’s a good thing that they don’t have to, right? Because they don’t. Again, it’s about the choices we make.
I understand it can be hard to get real information from a media that hates Bernie Sanders. I, myself, am agnostic about all candidates, including Bernie. I fight for policies. That means my fight is with all candidates and current office holders, no matter who they are. No matter what they promise. All of them. None of us can afford to trust any of them. They all need to be pushed to do the right thing.
But we all must be armed with the knowledge of what is possible if we are to make an effective stand against the overwhelming forces arrayed against us. And making regulations to force companies to give to Unions what they already earned is possible. And simplicity, itself. And Bernie already made that amendment to his bill.
So, let’s put this ‘political reality’ and ‘Unions don’t want this’ to bed.
A lot of people say that Medicare For All is a misused term. I agree. It’s why I always say “Single Payer”. But what is actually being proposed should be called “National, expanded, and Improved Medicare For All”. Everyone in, and everything covered, from womb to tomb. We’re not “taking away your insurance plan” so much as we’re making it unnecessary. Irrelevant.
When people like Paul Ryan say stupid things like “single payer healthcare will end Medicare as we know it!“, he’s trying to scare people who don’t know enough to argue against him. But I say that ending Medicare ‘as we know it’ is a good thing. Because Medicare, as we know it, is not good enough.
So why not a ‘public option’? Because history has shown us that if you allow an immoral system to continue to limp along, it will find a way to recover. When Mayor Peter started his campaign he started talking about healthcare by saying that Medicare For All, as Sanders proposed it, WAS the compromise. But as soon as he realized that he needed a lot of money to run, and that he wasn’t getting it from small dollar donations, he realized he had to go to the big money (including a ton from various healthcare industries that will lose money and power form Single Payer). Soon after that, he changed his tune. Suddenly it was “Medicare For All Who Want It”. Is anyone surprised? They shouldn’t be. When a politician that takes corporate money speaks, all you’ll hear are the words of big business coming out of their mouths.
The insurance companies know they can ride out a “public option”. They would still have tremendous power and influence, more than enough to kill that public options’ implementation. If you allow a cancer to survive, it will come back. There is literally no good reason to allow this to happen.
Healthcare is about resource allocation, not money. It takes resources to accomplish any goal, whether that be a business, a war, or a heathcare system. Starve that endeavor of the needed resources then you doom that endeavor to failure.
This is why “Medical Deaths in Hospitals” is the 3rd leading cause fo death in the US.
If you’re in business, your first and most important question is “How can I make the most profit from this endeavor?”
If you’re in Healthcare, your first and most important question must be “What is in the best interest of my patients?”
But much of healthcare is a money losing proposition. So, if you are in business, you cannot be in healthcare. And if you are in healthcare, you cannot be in business.
For profit corporations are about profit, first and foremost. You’ve heard it before: “There’s no money in a cure”. That’s American healthcare, in a nutshell. It’s a business. Big business.
A corporation doesn’t want to pay out. It wants to keep as much of it’s profits as it can. It’s loyalty is to it’s shareholders, not to patients.
Only the Federal Government, with full Monetarily Sovereignty, that needs no income, that needs no financial profit or financial return on it’s investments, can marshal the needed resources to achieve whatever goal it sets out to achieve, whether that be to win a war, to send a man to the moon, or to create the greatest healthcare system the world has ever seen. Because it is not financially constrained. It is resource constrained. And we live in the richest resource nation on the planet.
Will it be disruptive? Of course, but why should that stop us? It’s nothing we can’t deal with. We simply have to decide to do it. You can help make that decision instead of insisting it will never happen, thus becoming one of the reasons it doesn’t happen by virtue of that very choice.
In the end, it is insufficient to look to lesser plans like the Canadian or European plans. Canada has chosen to not put it’s full capacity to the task, choosing instead to parter with the Provinces and private insurance companies? Why should we do that when we can do so much better? They can, too. Their poor choice should not dictate our choice. And most of the European nations gave up their Monetary Sovereignty. Their policy options are vastly limited compared to ours.
Sets your sights high. Settle for less and that is all you will get.