To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Observercast

The Case For Real Healthcare Reform

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BY SHARON MARTIN

In 2010, when the ACA was passed, there were 48 million people in this country under 65 who were uninsured. In 2016, that number had dropped to 28 million. Still too many.

From 2008 to 2014, average employee-sponsored family premiums rose 33%.

“Rates skyrocketed,” say Republicans.

But rates rose 58% from 2002-2008, during the Bush Administration. The ACA slowed the rate of growth.

The GOP would like to make these improvements go away. Why? Is the ACA perfect? No. Could Democrats and Republicans work together to make it better? Yes. The best outcome would be universal coverage.

We are the only industrialized nation on this planet that doesn’t offer universal healthcare. In 2016, the per capita cost of health care for Americans was over $9,000.

What’s the per capita cost of healthcare in countries that offer universal coverage? Among the 38 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], the average cost is $3,620.

How do we get to universal healthcare in the United States? Ask people who are over 65. We’ve been contributing to our universal health care all our working lives.

Even people who don’t earn enough to pay income tax pay FICA taxes. You might hear people complain about how much comes out of their paycheck, but you won’t hear them complaining about being eligible for Medicare.

If Medicare were extended to every citizen, there would be substantial costs savings. Yes, it would mean a tax increase, but it would be less than the current cost of premiums.

Employers would benefit, because health care is a major business expense. Perhaps the money they saved could be used to raise wages. And every one would be covered.

A self-described conservative family member objects to this.

“I don’t want to pay for other people’s health care.”

We do already. That’s what insurance is. Your premiums are the money you put into the pot. When you’re sick, you take money out.

Hospitals don’t turn away uninsured heart attack victims. People with no insurance often show up in the ER for things that a family physician could treat much more economically. We pay for Medicaid with our tax dollars and for the uninsured with higher premiums.

Universal coverage would reduce the cost of health care in this country. What’s more, it’s the right thing to do.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer