By Earl Fuller
West Plains (Mo.) Daily Quill, October 26, 2019
To the editor:
I attended the Oct. 8 Medicare for All presentation at OzSBI in West Plains. The speaker, Ed Weisbart MD, is a family physician who volunteers in free clinics and chairs the Missouri Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.
I walked away a Medicare for All believer, but fear big money health insurance and drug company lobbyists will use our politicians to spread fear and lies and kill the program. Perfect example was news stories this week reporting Medicare for All would cost $32 trillion over 10 years.
What they left out was that Fortune magazine reports Americans spent $3.65 trillion in 2018 for healthcare. So current spending will be $36.5 trillion over 10 years, assuming prices stay the same. But Fortune reports healthcare cost is rising 5% per year, meaning we could spend $60 trillion for 10 years with our current healthcare system.
Another tactic is to claim private industry is more efficient than the government. But, health insurance companies use 18 cents of every premium dollar on profit and overhead, so only 82 cents go toward doctors. The Medicare system run by the government for our senior citizens uses almost 97 cents of every dollar for actual healthcare.
Employer provided health insurance for a family is now $20,000 per year with employers covering 71% of the cost. So an average family is spending $6,000 per year for its portion plus a $2,700 average deductible, plus drug costs, copays, extra costs for emergency room visits, the list goes on and on.
Compare this to a Medicare For All plan where everything is covered, every doctor is in network, and you don’t have to worry about dying or going bankrupt because you couldn’t afford a doctor.
A fear tactic is to tell you your taxes will go up. And that is true, but what if you could pay $5,000 more in taxes to Uncle Sam instead of $9,000 to United Healthcare or Anthem. A family would save $4,000 with much less to worry about.
But all you hear is “your taxes will go up.”
In 1972, when Canada implemented a national healthcare system, a Canadian and an American had the same life expectancy and spent about the same for healthcare. Today a Canadian lives three years longer and spends half per person for healthcare.
Think about this when Jason Smith or Roy Blunt warn you about socialism and left-wingers.