all the rhetoric, all the logic of the argument. The bottom line is that
this current private healthcare " non system" is beyond repair- its dead in
the water. It does not work and is literally ' killing" millions of
Americans with its negligence and stupidity. The time has come for a better
and more practical way to insure the health of all of our citizens My
proposal is not without flaws, yet generally a huge step in the right
direction- something to build on.
We all can look up the figures, check the files etc. If we simply reinstated
the Estate tax and rolled back the Bush tax cuts ( which he himself
remarked, according to Paul O'Neill, former Treasury Secretary, were "for
the rich") the federal government would have the funds to extend Medicare to
all Americans. Under this plan, working folks and businesses would
contribute into the fund as presently occurs with FICA ( payroll taxes). Not
only would there be enough "in the pot" to cover all Americans, but the
better umbrella of Medicaid could merge with Medicare. Think of the
comprehensive and improved services possible if that happened. All in all,
with a small co-pay to discourage frivolous use of doctor visits, medical
security would be a reality.
Under my Medicare For All system, the doctor gets a break as well. With
Uncle Sam as the insurer, the physician would pay the government all
malpractice premiums, at a beginning rate of 50% of his or her current bill.
As long as the doctor has no judgments, the rate may actually go down for
each year of satisfactory services rendered. In regard to medical
schooling, it seems foolish, from a business perspective, to " load up" a
medical student with close to $ 200k in loans. By the time the physician
obtains a license and a shingle, he or she is up to the eyeballs in debt. Is
that why many begin to look at this " healing vocation" as a business and
not a practice?
If the government was able to shop for the best deals on pharmaceuticals, we
wouldn't be paying outrageous prices for medicines. If the market was truly
open to fair competition, generic drugs would be allowed into the mix at a
greater rate, reducing prices .Under Medicare For All, the people would
demand, not ask , for such accommodations. Our government has, for decades,
helped the drug companies through subsidizing R& D ( research and
development) which translates into greater profits. The " wheel" has turned
now, and they " owe" us, the consumers.
Current statistics reveal that private insurance companies spend 11.7 cents
of every health care dollar on administrative costs (mainly advertising and
underwriting), compared with 3.6 cents for Medicare and 1.3 for Canada's
government- run system. Think of the savings that a non profit health system
could save we taxpayers, just in overhead.
When you extend healthcare in a mammoth manner, fraud and corruption will
occur. There is a way to cut down on it through decentralizing the claims
process. Rather than the millions of claims each day going to centralized
locations, why not have municipalities handle the intake? A whole new
localized employment system, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, would
occur. How about having local claims offices staffed mostly by former
private insurance workers and students from the medical arts? Nursing
students and medical administration students, to name a few, would work
these offices as part of their schooling. They would be paid and receive
course credits for their efforts. By localizing the intake of claims, more "
red flagging" would be accomplished. This, along with higher penalties for
fraud , would send strong signals before the fact, not just after.
Adequate healthcare for all should be a human right, not just a privilege.
Medicare For All must occur- the health for our nation and our economy is at
P. Anthony Farruggio is the founder of
FAER (Florida Association for Economic Reform). This Brooklyn NY born, bred
and educated (Brooklyn College '74) son of a longshoreman, has had over 35
columns posted on progressive sites and newspapers since the 2000 election,
including NewsInsider.org and Counterpunch.org. He can be reached at
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