The issue of national health care is now front and center in the debate among the presidential candidates of both parties, with each offering their vision of what should be done about this important issue.
Some favor a repeal of Obamacare, some wish to improve upon it, and still others want to implement a “Medicare for all” system.
However, regardless of where one stands on the issue, it is important to keep in mind some basic facts about the costs of the present health care system in this country.
The United States presently spends far more on health care than any other nation in the world. Our health care costs amount to a whopping 17% of our gross national product, compared to 10% for countries in Europe and elsewhere that offer national health insurance. Ironically however, despite our huge expenditures, we rate near the bottom among developed nations in every category of measures of national health.
Moreover, gaps in our present health insurance system either leave many uncovered or underinsured. As a result, millions of Americans go bankrupt or become impoverished every year when faced with a catastrophic illness because they lack adequate health insurance.
Job mobility, which is a significant factor in the ability of employees to improve their financial circumstances, is hindered because of the lack of a uniform national health insurance system. The fear of losing their existing health insurance prevents millions of Americans from either taking a new job or starting their own business. Study after study has shown that our economy is being weighed down by the burden of a health insurance system that is inefficient and inflexible.
The costs of a Medicare-for-all system frequently are cited by those opposed to a national health insurance plan, but that is only one side of the equation.
The profits of the health insurance industry, about $20 billion annually, are cited by proponents of Medicare-for-all, but think about this figure: The gross revenues of the health insurance industry are about $500 billion. In other words, a half a trillion dollars is being spent annually in our health care system for a product that contributes nothing to anybody’s health or well-being, other than increasing the wealth of the shareholders of the health insurance industry.
In short, Medicare-for-all in nations throughout the world is both more cost-efficient and produces better overall health outcomes for the citizens of those countries compared to the U.S. When the various candidates discuss their solutions to the health-care crisis in our country, every voter should keep those two facts uppermost in mind.