NOW can we please get single-payer?

For those of you who are against Obamacare:  Most of you are not deluded.  You understand that it’s not going to get repealed.  We’re stuck with it.

But it has a whole lot of problems.  There’s a new bureaucracy, and that damned web page, and there’s still issues involving businesses that don’t want to provide health care for things they don’t believe in.  It’s a bother to force people to sign up for it, and then there’s the penalty part of it if you don’t.  And insurance companies can still limit which doctor you get to see.  (That happened to me when I switched and suddenly discovered that they wouldn’t cover payment to the family doctor my wife and I have been seeing for a dozen years or more.)

There is one easy solution.

All we have to do is remove the age restriction on medicare.

The bureaucracy for it is already in place, and the elderly are overwhelmingly happy with the way it works.  You get to choose your own doctor.  Insurance companies are out of the picture and can’t regulate what gets covered.  medicare
We spread the costs out among 300 million people or so (as opposed to the way we spread them out among much smaller insurance groups today) and reduce the average expenditure per person.   And a new Obamacare bureaucracy, with its books full of regulations telling the insurance companies what they can and cannot do, can be thrown in the garbage.

And just like the elderly do now, you can buy insurance that goes beyond what medicare covers if you so desire.

This is the original plan the Democrats wanted way back when, but you folks insisted on a “market-based” plan similar to Romneycare.  That is, until the democrats agreed to do it that way.  Then you hated Romneycare.

Medicare for all is the way to go.

This is why every other industrialized country has done it this way, and has had many years of experience doing it to show that it works.  (Heck, we have many years of doing it, if you count medicare.)

But the fact is that this is the easiest, cheapest, and best way to provide health insurance to Americans.  That’s what you like, right?  Saving money?

This will do it.

Health care for profit

In the rest of the civilized world, health care is not a profit-making venture. Oh, sure, doctors are well-paid, but your health decisions aren’t made based on money. While everyone else realized that making sure their citizens needed health care in the same way they needed fire departments, America moved in the opposite direction — and now we pay more for health care than anywhere else and don’t get any advantage from it.

Just look at this chart (click on it to make it bigger and easier to read) … you’d think with the amount of money we’re spending, we’d be the healthiest people ever. original But no, we have lower life expectancy and higher childhood deaths than any comparable country. Partially that’s because a ton of that money goes to insurance companies, who provide no health care whatsoever, and partially it’s because we don’t cover preventive care. Instead, the insurance companies only concentrate on treating you after you’re sick.

Capitalism does not solve everything. The market clearly does not solve everything. There are many examples of this, especially in the area of health care.

And that’s why I get so frustrated with people who say the government should stay out of health care. Are these people not paying attention? We’ve done that. It hasn’t worked. All the evidence is against you.

Mostly it’s just people who have this ridiculous libertarian view that all government is bad. If only the government got out of our lives, they think, we’d all live in a utopian paradise. This despite the fact that this has never happened in the history of the world and whenever these sorts of things are tried, we end up with an unhealthy and broke populace (like now) and with markets that collapse and go into recession every twenty years or so. Yet these idealists continue in their dream for a world that has never exist and never could.

Health costs to drop 50% in New York

As predicted by those who understood it, Obamacare is making health care costs drop (which is exactly the opposite of what opponents said would happen, of course). We’ve already seen that happen in California, and now New York is seeing the same.

“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have already been implemented and constrained government payments to doctors and hospitals appear to be trickling down to consumers, in the form of less expensive insurance plans, and cheaper drugs and treatments,” says The Week.

Admittedly, this will not be true in every state. Some will see rises, but from what I understand, it is mostly because Obamacare is making those states cover more than they used to whereas in other states, they had already been covered. In other words, in states where there was already a mandated coverage from state regulation (mostly Democratic states as you’d guess), Obamacare appears to have brought prices down, whereas in states where insurance companies did not cover much (mostly Republican states) and are now required to cover more, the prices will go up a bit.

I am no economist — far from it — but I did want to point this out as a counter to the constant drone that this would make all insurance costs go up. Perhaps some of you reading this may have more expertise on this to contribute, and hopefully as free from political bias as possible, because I’d really like to know the facts free from spin.

Editorial cartoon of the day

Your boss gets to decide your health care?

…At least, that seems to be the ruling of a Federal court in Oklahoma, which held that the owners of Hobby Lobby don’t have to provide health care coverage to their employees if it may include nasty things the employer doesn’t like, such as abortions.

Yes, that’s right. Your employer gets to decide health care decisions for you.

This has been framed as a 1st amendment Freedom of Religion argument, but apparently the court only cares about the employer’s religion and not that of the employee.

Could be worse, I suppose. If he was one of those Jehovah’s Witnesses who thinks that you can pray away disease, then you wouldn’t get any coverage whatsoever according to this opinion.

I guess if a business owner didn’t like, I dunno, kidney stones, then those wouldn’t be covered either. Oh, right, only religious reasons allow an employer to discriminate like this.

Let’s see — I seem to remember a Constitutional amendment that prohibited that sort of thing.

This is an absolutely ridiculous decision. Hobby Lobby is not a religious organization; it’s a for-profit business. A business owner should not have the right to decide health care decisions for his or her employees. This is not comparable to a church, for instance, being forced to disobey its beliefs.

Should I, as a business owner, be allowed to force my beliefs on my employees? What if my religion believes women should wear burkas and never speak? Should I make all my female employees wear burkas?

The Court apparently believes employers have powers to ignore laws they don’t like. “If you work here, you have to live by my beliefs, not yours. Don’t like it? Tough!” I think we should say to business owners, “These are people who work for you, who have the right to make their own decisions about health care. You will give them the option, because this is America where we value individual decisions. Don’t like it? Tough!”

Your religion does not give you the right to disobey the law. There are Jamaican religions that believe in smoking marijuana during their ceremonies — tough, that’s illegal. Animal cruelty in the name of religion is illegal. Refusing to give your child medicine in the name of religion is illegal. Religions shouldn’t be exempt from the law just because they “really really believe” something. That’s not what America is about.

Look, if you start a business in America, we expect certain things from you. You have to pay a minimum wage; you have to have a safe working environment; you have to pay business taxes; you have to pay for worker’s compensation; you have to provide health care. Keep in mind that your employees may decide to use their money or benefits to do things you personally disagree with. Don’t like it? Tough. Don’t open a business.

If you don’t like the fact that we have freedom from religion in America, then maybe you should open a business somewhere else, like Iran. I understand they have no problem with you forcing religion on people who work for you.

A short play

Family one: “Help! Terrorists might harm me and my family, destroying our home and ruining our lives!”

Republican politician: “Don’t worry, the government is here to help you, by checking phone messages and emails for suspicious types and stopping them before they can act! We’ll make sure nothing bad happens to you and your family!”

Family two: “Help! Cancer is destroying me and my family, and the costs have made us lose our home and is ruining our lives!”

Republican politician: “Oh, well, tough luck. Sorry, it’s not the Government’s job to help you.”

(curtain call)

No, That’s Not the Point

“America has the best health care system in the world! That’s why people from countries with socialized medicine come here!”

I’ve seen this used as an argument against having any sort of “medicare for all” plan in America. It’s a silly argument which completely misses the point: It’s not whether we have the best care, it’s who gets the care. We also have the best hotels in the world, but most of us can’t afford those, either.

Paul Miller

Apparently, people who make this argument think that if we have socialized medicine here, then we will no longer have the best medical care in the world — that our doctors will forget all they know and hospitals will suddenly become backwater chop shops.

Well, no. No one has ever suggested that all doctors have to work for the government. A “medicare for all” plan keeps doctors independent, and they can decide whether to accept patients or not. Hey, just like it works now!

A national health care policy will not stop independent health care. Public schools did not stop private schools. Public defenders did not stop private attorneys. If you’ve got money, there will be nothing stopping you from affording that high-cost health care you want.

Anyone who tells you different is just plain wrong.