Medicare For All: A Little Heard Argument

M4A, as it is often abbreviated, is a quite misleading name for what is essentially universal health care. Medicare as it is presently run still has a lot of holes in it. If you are on Medicare Advantage the holes are potentially much bigger. A true Universal Health Care will fill in those holes. For the purposes of what I want to say today, M4A will do as shorthand for an all-encompassing universal health care.

Oliver does a magnificent job of destroying right wing talking points in the video. We are only 2 weeks past the making of that video and new information has come out that makes M4A look like an even better choice than did John Oliver’s video. Yet there is something non-financial world that makes M4A look like the really smart choice.

The “something” that make M4A seem like a choice whose time has come is the potential of a pandemic. The Covid19 epidemic (pandemic possibly) that we may or may not be on the verge of. Whether this current mutation of the corona virus is the one that brings world wide health systems to their collective knees or another mutation of some virus in the future, the evolution of our microscopic enemies are always a problem.

Our current broken health system in the US will serve to really hinder any response to a real epidemic. We have some 37 million Americans who do not have insurance. Going to the doctor is often not an option for such people. So an uninsured American gets infected with a fast spreading virus with little initial symptoms – like Covid19. A non-insured, infected individual would be in no hurry to get to a doctor while continuing to move among the populace.

As if the 37 million uninsured is not enough, there are also 43 million under-insured Americans. Their out-of-pocket up front costs such as deductibles and co-pays will discourage trips to the doctors offices for all but serious issues. A mild onset of a disease may not be enough to push someone to the doctor until symptoms get much worse. Meanwhile, the under-insured is moving about in society as are his family – including the kids in school. 

Add 37M + 43M and we get 80M people whose insurance would deter a trip to the doctor. That is by my calculations one fourth (1 out of ever 4) Americans. That is a lot of people to be potentially out spreading the epidemic. Just to add to these roadblocks to seeking care let’s add the “in network, out of network” insurance company structures that may inhibit even those who have “good insurance.”

M4A solves these problems. No deductibles, no co-pays, no networks. This video of Illinois House candidate Marie Newman illustrates these concepts in a very quick fashion:

See? Simple. With no roadblocks, when the potential epidemics come along we can deal with it as we should  – as a health problem that affects the whole community and must be addressed as the whole community. 

To be honest, this is the basic reason why I have long been a proponent of a universal health care. I do not want to get sick because some person was unable to seek out medical help because of their financial situation and our stupid, broken health care system. I admit my reason is selfish, but I throw it out there because everyone should understand that their personal health may be dependent on the community health. Better to work to keep the community healthy to keep yourself healthy.

Timing is often somewhat serendipitous and so it seems in the debate on health care. This week a study was released by Yale University and the Universities of Florida and Maryland that confirms that M4A will save hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives. To be somewhat understated This Is A Big Deal. It may even be big enough that the main stream media will mention it, possibly:   

“The Medicare For All plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars each year and would prevent tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, a new study shows.

The analysis, conducted by researchers at Yale University, the University of Florida and the University of Maryland, found that transitioning the U.S. to a single-payer health care system would actually save an estimated $450 billion each year, with the average American family seeing about $2,400 in annual savings. The research, which was published Saturday in the medical journal The Lancet, also found that Medicare for all would prevent about 68,000 unnecessary deaths per year.

“Our study is actually conservative because it doesn’t factor in the lives saved among underinsured Americans—which includes anyone who nominally has insurance but has postponed or foregone care because they couldn’t afford the copays and deductibles,” Alison Galvani, an author of the study and researcher at the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at the Yale School of Public Health, told Newsweek.”

Just to add one more benefit to the M4A, it may be the remedy to the spate of closures of rural hospitals. 

We supposedly have a “government of the people and a government for the people.” It is high time that the government fix the major problem of our time – health care for all.

Then we can avoid tragedies like this: (3 minutes)

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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