Universal Health Care

As a political commentator, I tend to get emails from all corners of the political spectrum, from the extreme left to the extreme right. Most I take in stride as “that’s interesting.” Others I tend to read because of the header or the subject line.

Recently I received an email from the National Republican Campaign Committee and someone named Jesse; no last name given. I am not sure who Jesse is, but have reason to believe that he is a member of the communication committee. At least when I get emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I know who signed the note.

The subject line was simple and direct, “Reject Socialized Healthcare.” I just had to read the note to find out where this email was going.

“It’s no secret that Democrats want the government to control every aspect of your life,” the email stated. “Now, they want to control your health.

“In an effort to expand government, Democrats have fully embraced the idea of European-style socialized healthcare in America.”

Image result for medicareAnd what is wrong with a universal health program for the entire nation? We already have three such programs, the Veteran’s Administration Health Care program, Medicare and Medicaid. OK, there have been some problems with the systems as of late, but for the majority of care recipients there is no problem with receiving the care they need without question or problems.

In fact, the polls concerning a universal health care program contradict the NRCC’s position. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll;

“A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance…”

Needless to say, Democrats and liberals support the single payer plan, including right leaning Democrats, while Republicans and conservatives believe the government should not be involved in the public’s healthcare. In fact, it appears that 33 percent of the general population prefers a universal health care plan.

Many on the right look to a US News and World Report article from October 2016 indicating that Americans and special interest groups just don’t want a universal healthcare program that leaves the insurance industry in the cold. Yet those numbers have moved over the last two years. Again from Pew, “33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014.”

A 1999 Stanford University study opens their discussion on universal health care with eh following:

“Compared to other Western countries, the United States spends more per capita on health care than any other nation. In 1990, national expenditures for health care were more than 40 percent more than in Canada, whose spending was second highest. Despite the enormous expense of health care in the United States, the general standards of health, such as life expectancy and infant mortality, are not as high as those in countries which spend less. Costs are enormous, yet Americans do not fare better, and often fare worse, than citizens in countries which spend substantially less on health care.”

Studies since show the same disparity between the amount of money we pay for insurance the care approved and paid for by the insurance industry.

What does a universal health care program look like? There are a number of different models, some including private insurance and some do not. Medicare is a system where the government is the primary provider of health coverage and the insurance industry provides supplement policies of various coverages that can be added to Medicare Part B. (By the way, Part B coverage costs about $400 every three months for the recipient.) Though the primary programs are regulated by the federal government, the insurance companies determine premiums for the supplement plans.

Image result for Bernie SandersMany, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, look to the “less expensive” Medicaid program as the basis for a universal health care system. Even here, the insurance industry can be included through supplement policies and claim’s adjustment services.

Not all conservatives are against universal health program. Christopher Ruddy recently wrote for the online conservative publication NewsMax, that universal health care may be the answer to America’s health care crisis. He states that both Obamacare and Trumpcare have the same odious problem, a “demand that almost every American should buy health insurance from the private market.”

The Republics have had over seven years to dismantle the American Care Act, Obamacare, and have failed miserably. Instead of scrapping a program that has taken a strong foothold and creating an uncertainty in the market place, expand the ACA program to include Medicare for all.

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer and professional speaker. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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