By Ernest A. Canning
Ventura County (Calif.) Star, May 16, 2016
Re: Martin Schram’s column May 13, “Sanders escapes watchdogs’ bark”:
Martin Schram underscores the wisdom behind Mark Twain’s observation that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
He repeats the canard, initiated by The Washington Post and reinforced by the billionaire-funded Brookings Institute, that Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan would add $18 trillion to the deficit. In truth, as revealed by University of Massachusetts Amherst economist Gerald Friedman, a single-payer system would save $5 trillion.
Per capita, the U.S. spends three times as much for health care than the U.K., whose taxpayer-funded National Health Service provides health care to citizens without additional charges or co-pays. In 2013, U.S. taxpayers footed the bill for 64.3 percent of U.S. health care — about $1.9 trillion. Yet in the U.S. nearly 30 million of our citizens still lack any form of insurance coverage.
The for-profit U.S. health care system is corrupt, dysfunctional and deadly. In Canada, only 1.5 percent of health care costs are devoted to administration of its single-payer system. In the U.S., 31 percent of health care expenditures flow to the private insurance industry. Americans pay far more for prescription drugs. Last year, CNN reported, Americans paid nearly 10 times as much for prescription Nexium than it cost in the Netherlands.
Before Obamacare, 47 million Americans were uninsured. According to a pre-Obamacare Harvard study, 45,000 Americans died each year for lack of coverage. Through wasteful insurance subsidies, we’ve experienced a 36 percent reduction in the number of uninsured. Simple but ghastly arithmetic suggests our for-profit system is still killing 28,000 Americans each year.
In the U.K., no one one faces personal bankruptcy due to medical expenses. In the U.S., half of all personal bankruptcies are health care-related.
Ernest A. Canning resides in Thousand Oaks.
PNHP note: Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is a nonpartisan educational and research organization. It neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office.