Forget Socialism And Markets, It’s Time For Universal Healthcare – The System We Need And How To Pay For It
After decades of suffering under a private “market-based” healthcare economy, Americans who were also suffering under high unemployment rates, lower living standards, and high stress, found themselves burdened by a private health insurance industry that charged exorbitant rates while denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and refused to pay out for needed medical care for many whom it did cover.
For years, many Conservatives suggested even more de-regulation of the insurance markets and the elimination of any government involvement in the health industry. This, they argued, would create competition and bring about cheaper prices. Many on the left, however, aware that the Conservative argument was based on faulty principles and that it would, in fact, do the opposite of what well-meaning-Conservatives desired, argued for a “single payer” or “universal” program. However, these well-meaning liberals fail to define what they mean by “single payer” and typically rely on even more burdensome methods of funding for such a program; i.e. raising taxes, cutting care.
Ironically, however, Democrats and Republicans, despite years of hurling insults and launching political campaigns against one another, can actually agree upon the ideal healthcare system – forcing Americans to buy private insurance at the barrel of a gun, allowing those companies to raise premiums, and cutting costs by cutting care for the healthcare customer. This was an insurance companies’ dream as well as the dream of Big Pharma and Wall Street. For the American people, it was and already has been a nightmare.
Indeed, it was precisely the growing burden and the failure of both Conservatives and Liberals to produce a realistic, clearly defined, and desirable solution to the healthcare crisis that allowed insurance companies, Big Pharma, the medical industry, IRS, and Wall Street to dictate the terms of a “solution” that has made a crisis a catastrophe. “Obamacare” (more professionally known as the Affordable Care Act) has been an absolute disaster for poor, working, and middle class families. Most Americans have seen the cost of their insurance premiums rise and the quality of the care provided fall through the floor. As punishment for being too poor to afford health insurance, Americans were slapped with a fine that numbered from the hundreds to thousands of dollars (thankfully, this onerous part of the plan has been repealed). Insurance companies, however, were guaranteed tens of millions of new customers while massive insurance agencies getting even bigger. Those same companies were then able to drastically reduce the amount of procedures covered based on “effectiveness” and cost. In addition, hospitals are allowed to make decisions on care in relation to the amount of benefit one may have later in life, thus making healthcare an economic decision more akin to deciding whether or not to put an expensive part in an old car or to simply get rid of it than it does to a decision regarding whether or not a man or woman will continue to live.
Republicans and Democrats have always had an answer, however: Force everyone to buy insurance from private companies at the barrel of a gun, allow private insurance companies to deny coverage for life-saving and preventative procedures, and essentially ration healthcare except for those able to pay out of pocket. While Barack Obama has taken much of the blame (as well he should, it happened under his administration) it should be remembered that, under George W. Bush’s administration, it was the Republicans who were advocating for this very plan. Even before the Republicans, it was Hillary Clinton who advocated for the same plan even to the point that the plan was once labeled HillaryCare.
The added cutting and gutting of Medicare and Medicaid has effectively created “death panels” that determine what procedures are affordable and which ones simply have to be ignored both by the hospitals and the insurance provider. The party that has the least amount of say in the whole affair? The individual.
One can clearly see that the above-described scam is not unique to one party or one politician. Instead, it is a cross-party scheme that was finally realized under Obama and now, due to the need to continue the Republican-Democrat theatre, Republicans are now allowed to jeer and throw blame at Democrats for being the party chosen to implement the plan.
At the core of the issue, however, is that Americans need healthcare and the majority of them found it unaffordable before Obamacare and they found it even more unaffordable after Obamacare. In 2018, most people of good will can agree that the most powerful nation on the face of the earth needs a system in which anyone who gets sick can go to the doctor and receive the care they need without taking on a second mortgage, losing their homes, or going into massive amounts of debt. Unfortunately, in 2018, many Americans would be thankful for the ability to lose their possessions for a fighting chance to live.
So what is the solution?
We must demand a universal healthcare system where healthcare is available to all but also a system in which patients and Americans in general are not forced to purchase private products at the barrel of a gun. We must demand a system of Medicare For All.
Thankfully, the “individual mandate” aspect of the ACA has been repealed and this is a major step forward.
Logically, there must be a restoration of the money cut from Medicare under the Obama administration and an effort must be made to expand that program to address the needs of the population and ensure that adequate care is provided. In fact, the program’s funding should be dramatically increased and all of this restoration and increase in funding can be accomplished with the revenue taken from a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax.
This fully funded and restored Medicare be offered to all Americans for a reasonable fee (perhaps $70-100 per person per month or less) on a sliding scale, growing cheaper as one moves down the income bracket, cheaper for working Americans, even free for the poorest and most vulnerable. This should be offered, but not mandated. This plan will allow for universal coverage but it will not eliminate the private industry since those who can afford a private plan will still have that option available if they prefer. The private industry will then be forced to compete with reasonable levels of coverage with lower prices and better services and offer even better coverage than the comprehensive Medicare version. One thing that will be eliminated, however, is the private industry’s virtual monopoly when it comes to payment for medical services.
More importantly, it will ensure that every American has access to the basic level of health care and that no American who is sick and in need of care will ever be denied due to budgeting, policy, costs, or “death panel” rationing. To be clear, this Medicare For All program should include doctor’s visits, specialists, surgeries, preventative care, basic medical, regenerative health care, disease prevention, diet and complementary therapies. Alternative therapies that have demonstrated results should be included in the plans as well. This program should provide both basic and comprehensive healthcare.
In addition, the Medicare program should be given license to negotiate prices with hospitals and doctors with the force of the Federal government behind it to prevent unreasonable pricing, gouging, and withholding of care. Negotiation should be able to take place before or after services are rendered but never in a manner that would see the care delayed or denied. The service must be provided and the bickering over prices, if necessary, can be settled later.
In addition, the closing of community hospitals must be stopped since it is not only making healthcare more cumbersome and costly, it is depriving rural and less affluent people of even the access to expensive rationed care in our current society. Not only must the closing of hospitals stop, hospitals that have been closed must be re-opened and new hospitals must be built so that more and more Americans have access to their services. These hospitals can be reo-opened, rebuilt, or built with low to zero percent interest credit provided by the Federal Reserve.
Providing a system of universal healthcare will itself jolt the economy as the burden of providing health insurance will be eased off the backs of industry and business and the American people will be free from the prospect of financial apocalypse when someone in their family becomes ill. In addition, it will create a healthier work force also benefiting business, industry, personal financial stability, and the economy as a whole.
A New Culture Of Healthcare
A complete overhaul of how healthcare is provided should be performed as soon as possible. From an update of healthcare technology (as well as training in non-tech based medicine and analysis in case the power ever goes out), improvement in the cleanliness and outreach of hospitals, better medical training for doctors, nurses and other staff (with more focus on care and medicine than pushing drugs or billing) must all be paramount.
In addition, medical personnel, doctors, and mental health professionals must no longer be considered “authorities” with the ability to forcibly medicate, evaluate, or restrain individuals due to drug usage, mental health, or other activities. Law enforcement is for law enforcement – medicine is for doctors.
Another important aspect of healthcare overhaul is the need to develop new and improved medicines and treatments while keeping costs down for those medicines. This will involve preventing unreasonable pricing for medicines and treatments developed by private Big Pharma companies through all legal means. No longer should “charge as high a price as you can fetch” apply to life-saving medicine. Drug companies should be able to make profits, even massive profits, but not at the expense of the lives and health of the American people. In addition, low to zero percent interest credit from the Federal Reserve to develop new medicines and investigate the untapped possibilities of natural medicines, herbs, and nutrition should be immediately be issued to jumpstart innovation and open the floodgates to new developments in healthcare and medicine.
How Will You Pay For It?
While the concept of a universal healthcare system is desirable to most people, the next logical question quickly becomes, “But how are you going to pay for it?” The answer is simple – a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax.
In terms of funding, the Wall Street Sales Tax is a necessity. This tax would solve both the “crisis” of the social safety net as well as the general budgetary crisis at all levels of government in the United States of America.
The Wall Street Sales Tax should be applied at the rate of 1% to financial market transactions such as stocks, bonds, flash trading, e-trading, high-frequency trading, debt instruments, and the notional value of derivatives. A reasonable exemption of $1 million per person per year should be enacted in order to prevent the placement of taxes on individuals who shift around personal financial assets or make investments for their 401(k) or other retirement account. The 1% tax should be paid by the seller of the instrument, not the buyer, and the proceeds accrued from the tax should be split evenly between the federal government and the states.
Given that the implementation of a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax would be applied to toxic financial transactions such as derivatives as well as flash trading, it is estimated that the revenue obtained from the tax would amount to several trillion dollars, more than enough to eliminate the budget deficit at the federal and state levels, account for on budget spending, and provide for a robust system of universal healthcare provided by a Medicare for All system.
I highly encourage everyone to access the article, “The Case For The 1% Wall Street Sales Tax,” in order to see how at WSST (Wall Street Sales Tax) would be implemented and what the results of the tax would be.
Essentially, there would no cost to the American taxpayer and the Wall Street bankers would only be paying a fraction of their fair share. However, the benefits resulting from the revenue of the tax would result in the lack of a budget deficit at the state and federal levels, elimination of on-budget spending shortfalls, universal health care, fully funded education and infrastructure systems, and much more. In the context of the American healthcare system, the implementation of a Medicare For All, funded by a Wall Street Sales Tax and, where applicable, low to zero percent interest credit extended by the Federal Reserve, would provide all Americans with affordable to free access to healthcare while not costing the American people a dime.
While most Americans agree that healthcare is prohibitively expensive and even out of reach for many, there is a great deal of resistance to a true universal healthcare system coming from political circles. Republicans and Democrats can agree that universal health care is a bad idea and argue for the domination of the health care system by private industry, i.e. insurance companies, private providers, and Big Pharma. The more ideological political divisions such as “conservatives” and “liberals” differ on their approach with the former arguing to “get government out of health care” and the latter arguing for a forced participation with heavy taxation to pay for it. But while those in positions of political power attempt to prevent adequate affordable healthcare from becoming a reality and the ideologues argue over political mythology, the American people continue to face high prices, lack of access, and hospitals that turn them away from receiving life-saving treatment. For most Americans, making arguments about the sanctity of the “market” or the “collective society” is a luxury they do not have.
Americans need a true system of universal healthcare that does not involve force by government agencies, collectivism, or reliance on the “market.” Ideology and philosophy are fine but they do not take precedence over human rights, individual rights, or the lives of human beings. Simply put, Americans are in desperate need of a system where, if they are sick, they can go to the doctor and be confident that their illness will not result in poverty or undue stress. Such a system can be created as soon as the political will exists or, in the absence of political will, when the American people demand it.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies,Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria,and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 1,000 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.