Aug 31, 2017
by Loren Carnevale
Single payer, universal healthcare, socialized medicine, call it what you like. The fact is that the United States is the only industrialized nation on earth without a universal healthcare system. Why? I wish the cure was as simple as the answer to that question. The fact is, we live in a country where lobbyists control our government like puppets. Most politicians wish to do the “right thing” but are unable to because they owe the lobbyists and industries political favor. Regardless of the fact that we are far from removing lobbyist money from our political system, here is a simple outline of how our single payer healthcare system could be funded.
Depending on where you mine your facts, insurance companies retain (keep) roughly 40% of every dollar that members pay towards health insurance and the actual practitioners of medicine receive approximately 60% of each dollar spent. By eliminating private/group health insurance, we could actually pay our doctors and their staff more. This would increase the number of people entering the medical field. A field starved for staffing from the top down.
It is agreed by most that universal healthcare will need to be a state by state issue. In other words, each state would be in charge of their own universal health care program. This is the precise reason why the United states is broken up into individual states. It is easier and more effective to represent smaller groups more accurately than it is to represent this large nation as a whole.
How would we fund this Universal healthcare system you ask? Well lets first remember that one way or another we ALL already pay for our own healthcare. Removing the health insurance burden from employers who provide healthcare translates into higher wages for workers. Our current system is not free. It not cheap either. So why don’t we start by taxing the non necessities in life that actually affect our health in a negative or adverse way? Tobacco, alcohol, recreational marijuana, calorie rich/nutritionally poor foods like soda and candy. Taxing such non necessities would ensure that we were not penalizing the lower income bracket because these are non essentials. Lower income folks can still purchase healthy food at the same cost. In our agriculture industry it actually coasts considerably more for farmers to grow organically and to be certified organic. We literally penalize our farmers for being better stewards of our planet and our health. This notion is ludicrous, but that is subject for another time. In order to provide further funding for universal healthcare, we could tax non organic meat, dairy and produce products. The benefit to this would arrive in several ways. We would have more healthier choices in the markets at a lower cost. We would be helping to protect our resources by reducing toxins in the form of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and hormones from polluting our soil and entering our waterways. By taxing the things that are less healthy for us in order to fund healthcare, we would be improving our collective health at the same time. I am fairly certain that we could fund our universal healthcare in these two ways alone without punishing people or families with limited resources. In the event that these two solutions were not enough to fund the system, we could add an income tax to those who earn over a certain threshold. Once again supporting our lower income citizens. I can hear the groans in the distance already saying “no more taxes”, and I am with you 100%. We are taxed enough already. But lets not forget that regardless of how it is funded, no healthcare system is free. One way or another we have to pay for our medical services. Paying in small increments rather than one lump each month would ease the sting for many. Would you rather share your contribution to the system with the insurance companies, or have all of your hard earned dollars go straight to the medical care system?
Lets not forget that we have plenty of current universal or socialized programs in place around the world that we can use as a model. We can take these ideas and even improve on them. No system is perfect, but the bottom line is that people in every other industrialized nation on earth are benefiting from a universal “single payer” system, most of which the people are extremely happy with overall. Just ask the next Canadian or French person that you see. Its time we expected more from our leaders and insist that they provide us with a medical system that provides us the beast care possible rather than generating profits for insurance companies.