Back in late March, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced he would sponsor a single-payer, universal healthcare bill by expanding Medicare to cover all Americans. In the wake of the Republican’s continued failure to fulfill their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, Sanders upped the ante, by stating that he will “absolutely” introduce that bill in the coming weeks. Then he took the unprecedented step of emailing his supporters to ask that they sign on as “citizen co-sponsors.” The full letter, included at the end of this article, Sanders argues that when he introduces the legislation, he wants it to be clear to the Republican-led government “that the American people believe health care should be a right in this country.”
What “Single-Payer, Medicare For All” means for your wallet
Let’s just talk dollars and sense (pun intended). Specifically, overhead. 01These are the costs piled on top of your actual insurance premiums, for marketing, and to provide profit to the companies and their brokers. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, overheads have been falling since 1970 in every insurance market except health care. In short, says the CEPR, “Americans are spending more of their incomes on insurance middlemen” without getting any increase in health care benefits.
So to cut to the chase, what would single-payer health care would do for the average American, like you and me? Consider the overhead costs of private insurance vs. government-provided options like Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the VA.
As you can see above, private insurance tacks on an extra 12-18% to our premiums, compared to public insurance, whose overhead doesn’t even hit 2% of premiums. That isn’t because the government is subsidizing the rest; it is because public insurance is not-for-profit and doesn’t need to market itself. That difference right there would save the American public from paying out about $100 billion per year. That’s billion, with a “b”. With 325 million Americans in the country each and every one of us would stand to save hundreds right off the bat.
Now add to this the savings that comes from the power of the government “to negotiate much more favorable terms with service providers.” as explained in the New York Times. “In 2012, for example, the average cost of coronary bypass surgery was more than $73,000 in the United States but less than $23,000 in France.” Don’t forget prescription drug savings, too.
What “Single-Payer, Medicare For All” means for the economy.
First, single-payer insurance means substantial cost savings to businesses, large and small, since their share of the premiums goes down. That means more money for them to invest in salaries, growth, and innovation. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win?
Also, it means that Americans won’t lose their coverage if they leave their job or are terminated. Your health care costs can rise by a factor of 10 when this happens. This provides a critical incentive for Americans free to strike out of their own to launch new careers, or even better, to create small businesses of their own. That is the lifeblood of the American economy, mind you.
And finally, it means that Americans won’t need to engage in “medical tourism” across state lines or to foreign countries to be able to afford procedures that are too expensive locally.
What about all the doom and gloom that Conservatives promise if we adopt single-payer health insurance?
Read for yourself anywhere on the web. Most arguments against a single-payer system pray on fear and lies. Like “death panels.” Want more? Here is a good start from the National Institutes of Health: Myths and memes about single-payer health insurance in the United States: a rebuttal to conservative claims.
Senator Sanders’ call for citizen action
This brings us to Bernie Sanders’ email for citizens to voice their endorsement for public healthcare for all Americans.
Last month, we won a very important victory against the Republican plan to kick millions of Americans off their health insurance, a plan that would have raised premiums for seniors and defunded Planned Parenthood.
Now let me be totally clear: if Republicans try again to repeal Obamacare, we will fight them with everything we have. But our ultimate goal is to understand that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, health care must be a right, not a privilege, for every man, woman and child.
That is why, in just a few weeks, I am going to introduce a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care bill in the United States Senate. It is time to wage a moral and political war against a dysfunctional health care system in this country. Say you’re with me:
Add your name as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of my Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care bill. When I introduce the legislation, I want it to be clear that the American people believe health care should be a right in this country.
Medicare-for-all will mean that people won’t die in this country simply because they cannot afford the care they need. It will mean everyone, and every loved one, has the freedom to go to a doctor when they need without going bankrupt.
A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system would save hundreds of billions in health care costs a year. The savings for businesses would be astronomical and allow them to compete on equal footing with companies in Europe.
And for the millions of Americans who are currently in jobs they don’t like but must stay put because of health care access, they would be free to explore more productive opportunities as they desire.
Right now, our nation spends more than any other on health care with higher costs and worse outcomes in many cases. If we are serious about providing high-quality and affordable health care, the only real solution is a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system that provides health care to ALL Americans, including the 50 million uninsured and underinsured in this country.
Before I introduce my legislation, I want to know that you’re with me:
The insurance companies may not like this legislation and the drug companies probably won’t either. They will try to make words like “NATIONAL HEALTH CARE” sound scary.
But the truth is, for far too long they have been bribing the United States Congress, spending billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions to make sure we maintain a dysfunctional, but profitable, approach to health care. Enough is enough. Now is the time to take them on and do something about it.
The American people are with us on this issue, and there is nothing to be afraid of. Because right now, we already have a very large single-payer system in this country. It’s called Medicare and it has succeeded in providing near-universal coverage to Americans over the age of 65 and gets high marks from people who are enrolled in the program.
I believe the American people are ready for a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system that guarantees health care as a right for all Americans. But getting there will require nothing short of a political revolution in this country.
Add your name to say we’re in this together.
Add your name as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of my Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care bill. When I introduce the legislation, I want it to be clear that the American people believe health care should a right in this country.
We need a revolution in how health care is provided in this country. My bill will do that. If every other major country on earth can offer health care as a right, then so can the United States of America.
Disagree with all this? Let’s have a reasoned debate, not one based on fearmongering and lies. Like Trump’s recent insistence that it would “bankrupt our country.” It just isn’t true.
Featured image from Flickr