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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

$5.2 trillion; that’s the savings over 10 years by creating a Medicare for all system

How can such monumental savings be captured?

Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

That’s $5.2 trillion that America can save by creating a Medicare system by which every American has medical coverage. This new system that will be far less wasteful and far more effective in the way it operates. It has the potential to eventually put America on a par with the best systems in the world.

How can such monumental savings be captured? Check out the press release area in the 200-page analysis by Peri, the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It determined that, “based on 2017 U.S. healthcare expenditure figures, the cumulative savings for the first decade operating under Medicare for All would be $5.1 trillion, equal to 2.1 percent of cumulative GDP; without accounting for broader macroeconomic benefits such as increased productivity, greater income equality, and net job creation through lower operating costs for small- and medium-sized businesses.”

Up to now America has a third-rate healthcare system in place for many years and it keeps getting worse; it is a paperwork nightmare, it does not cover 9%, or nearly 30 million, American and about 26% are underinsured. It is obsolete and outdated, and it must be replaced with some form of universal healthcare in which every single American is covered.

We’re not talking about the quality of the healthcare that is provided by doctors and hospitals, though there are some problems to be found there. We’re talking about the high costs and inefficiencies of a system that is not one overall system at all but has five separate systems within it; private medical insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and the VA, Veterans Administration system.

What a convoluted system this is. These five healthcare entities operate on their own with little to no connection between them. All of them are greatly burdened with massive paperwork and high costs of operation. Private insurance premiums never stop increasing. Republicans tried hard to destroy Obamacare and failed, at least so far.

Here are some statistics from NerdWallet.com, the personal finance and credit card comparison website which illustrate how very badly these systems are working:

*56 million Americans under age 65 will have trouble paying medical bills.

*Over 35 million American adults (ages 19-64) will be contacted by collections agencies for unpaid medical bills; 17 million of the same age group will receive a lower credit rating on account of their medical bills.

*Over 15 million adults in the same age group will use us all their savings to pay medical bills; over 11 million in the same age group will take on credit card debt to pay off their hospital bills.

*Nearly 10 million adults will be unable to pay for basic necessities like rent, food, and heat due to medical bills.

*Over 16 million children live in households that are struggling with medical bills.

*To save costs, over 25 million adults will not take their prescription drugs as indicated, including skipping doses, taking less medicine than prescribed, or delaying a refill.

Now let’s talk about the Medicare system for all Americans that Sen. Bernie Sanders has been promoting and which, based on an in-depth study, concluded that this nation could save $5.1 trillion over 10 years if such a system were implemented.

This kind of savings is very much possible when you consider that the cost of the U.S. system of healthcare is known to be two to two and one-half times as much as the cost of European and Scandinavian systems.

Sanders has proposed legislation to create this new system; it’s the Medicare for All Act of 2017. Jeffrey Sachs, a world-renowned professor of economics, has stated that “Medicare for All promises a system that is fairer, more efficient, and vastly less expensive than America’s bloated, monopolized, overpriced and under-performing private health insurance system,” Sachs said. “America spends far more on healthcare and gets far less for its money than any other high-income country.”

So it would seem like this U.S. Congress, knowing that such a new system would save this country over $5 trillion over the next decade would be anxious to implement it as soon as possible. But, Republicans who could care less about the welfare of the people of this country, and our ignorant president, will totally ignore it and wait for it to just go away.

And, in fact, if you can believe it, Republican’s Dear Leader Trump, not that long ago, made this observation in one of his twisted tweets about the possibility of some form of universal medical coverage that would cover every single American. He said, “”Bernie Sanders is pushing hard for a single-payer healthcare plan – a curse on the U.S. & its people.”

What? How could any rational-minded U.S. president put down an attempt to see that all Americans are covered?  Why would he condemn an initiative by a U.S. senator to create a healthcare system which would save this country $5.1 trillion? Well, no rational-minded U.S. president would; but this president is entirely capable.

Here’s what those other developed nations, primarily located in Europe proper and Scandinavia, have as healthcare systems that cover every one of their citizens:

These countries are distinctly different from America in that their people share the same belief; that healthcare is a right for every citizen. They make it clear that they feel this way because they care for their fellow citizens, something that is hardly the case in this greatly divided America.

Countries in Europe have had such healthcare systems in place for decades; some are better than others, some have problems that need to be addressed but, for the most part, they are quite effective and the people of these countries are quite satisfied with them.

The costs per capita of most of these systems are about half of the cost or more of America’s. Check out this article that shows the 16 countries that have the best life expectancy in the world. See the United States anywhere on the list? Nope.

Want to see something really shocking and troubling? Here is a link to an article that includes a chart that compares U.S. health care costs and age longevity versus that of the industrialized nations of the world.

Look at where the U.S. is located on this chart; it is on the far right side and lower on the scale than most other countries. The article states, “Yes, among this group of large countries, the U.S. spends far and away more on health care than any other. And yet it has among the lowest life expectancies of any developed country.”

This is a clear sign of the failings of the U.S. healthcare system. And yes we know that this system is great for those at the top of the income spectrum but for millions upon millions of their fellow Americans this system is a disaster.

Now let’s ask this very pertinent question involving this critical issue: How many people in these other developed nations die annually because they have no medical coverage? The answer is NONE! And that is because every one of these other countries has some form of universal health care; so no one can possibly die because of a lack of coverage.

Suppose that all Americans had the opportunity to take preventative tests that identify serious problems in their early stages; that then provided the necessary treatment leading to a satisfactory outcome. Is that a curse? And, if as a result of large-scale preventative testing, Americans’ life expectancy would rise. Is that a curse?

It’s so shocking to learn that some 45,000 Americans die each year from a lack of medical insurance, that’s terrible, appalling news. Here is the link to a study conducted at Harvard Medical School that supports that statistic.

It also indicates that “Uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher death risk than privately insured counterparts.” This means that in 10 years almost 500,000 Americans will die because they were without coverage.

And the one thing we don’t need relative to this great opportunity is a president who doesn’t have the slightest knowledge about healthcare or how it operates and how to make it more effective; And yet he has the gall and audacity to label it as a curse. And he would pass up this great opportunity without even blinking.

All that having been said, this government, the Congress, and all its members should grab this opportunity to save these trillions of dollars and provide what might turn out to be, at some point in time, the best healthcare system in the world.

If those in this government that are responsible for making these decisions doubt that these huge savings can be made then they should study the Peri report, as discussed above, and its findings, to satisfy themselves that this can be done. If they agree that it can be done and that it will be a boon for America, then they must make this creation of Medicare for all a top priority for the good of all Americans.

There are so many millions of Americans without any medical coverage and millions more who are underinsured, all of which are going through monumental misery and deterioration of their quality of life. They are victims of this pathetic current system and its many shortcomings and failures.

These politicians in Washington cannot allow this American Tragedy to go on and they must finally understand that it is way past time when they think about this suffering of so many of their fellow Americans. Their attitude must be, like that of the other developed nations in the world, “We care for our fellow citizens and every one of them is entitled to the best medical coverage in our country.”

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