Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Government Must Begin A Program Of Medicare For All.

One of the reasons Americans are having such financial problems is because many of the sectors in our economy are subject to the monopoly control of just a few businesses. For example, Blue Cross (which changed its name to Anthem) is a major health insurance company throughout the country, often with little competition in any given state, and therefore they can dictate whatever prices they want. Hospitals are owned by a few major corporate interests (including the Catholic Church) and people often have no choices about which hospital to use.

The American Medical System has been taken over by criminals and thieves who are using our sick bodies as profit-making centers. They have a monopoly control of everything relating to healthcare, and Americans are the hostages. Our politicians take bribes from the Sickness Industry to prevent us from escaping. The corporate Medical Industry is going to bankrupt our country and kill us all if we don't stop them.

The public generally only has two choices: either pay the outrageous amounts Blue Cross charges, or go without health insurance and hope you stay healthy. Americans pay way more for healthcare than do people in other counries, yet we don't get anything of value for that money. We are grossly overcharged. The medical industry insiders get rich, the public goes broke, politicians get kick-backs and bribes from the corporate Medical Industry, and Congress fiddles while the country burns.

Recent polls have shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans want the government to provide a "public option" -- something like Medicare for All, and let Americans decide whether to buy into a Medicare system, or continue in the private healthcare and private insurance prison. But the politicians take bribes from the Medical Corporations and refuse to do anything to help the people of this country.

According to the National Geographic (chart above) we spend $7,200 per person per year on healthcare. Most of this money is paid to insurance companies, who simply take it all as profit. Yet despite that outrageous amount, the life expectancy for Americans at birth is currently only 78 years. In Switzerland, they only pay $4500 per year per person, but their life expectancy at birth is 82, four years longer.

In Canada, which has a national healthcare system in which all Canadians receive healthcare free of charge (paid for by the government), they only spend $3900/year but their life expectancy is longer than ours -- 81 years.

In France, which also has national healthcare, they spend less than half of what we do, about $3100 per person, but they have a longer life expectancy -- about 82 years.

What's the difference in these other countries? The doctors, hospitals, and drug companies are not allowed to overcharge the patients. The insurance companies are cut out of the middle, and not allowed to add 30% profit on top of every single penny spent for healthcare, which is what they do in the United States. Healthcare in other countries is seen as a basic human right, like an education, provided by society by using taxpayer money to fund the system, and operated on a non-profit basis.

Americans are victims of healthcare profiteering, groups of individuals who make millions off of grossly excessive charges for life-saving services. Our government refuses to help us. They will allow Americans to die rather than interrupt the Medical Industry in its profiteering. They also are throwing families into bankruptcy and heading our entire nation into bankruptcy by refusing to provide a real solution to the obscene profiteering by the Sickness Industry. None of the proposals by Democrats will do anything to stop this obscene medical profiteering.

We spend $7,200 per person per year for healthcare, or $28,800 for a family of four. Your average family only earns $55,000/year, which means over half of each family's gross earnings are paid out every year for healthcare. When you realize that most families are paying 40% for housing, that leaves 10% for everything else. Our country cannot continue to survive economically with this type of out of control spending.

Of course families do not directly pay the entire $28,800 -- the government pays part of this through various programs. Sometimes the employer pays for part. But where does the government get its money? From taxes on the employers and on families. So indirectly, every family is spending half of their gross income for healthcare, even when they are perfectly health and rarely go to a doctor -- the insurance companies take all that money. The insurance companies take most of this money and put it in their pockets as profit. We cannot afford to continue with this gross profiteering. Can't afford it as individuals, and cannot afford it as a country.

Medicare for All is the proposal that would end the healthcare profiteering, the Sickness Industry. Under Medicare for All, anybody under 65 could buy into Medicare for a monthly premium, much like they would pay for health insurance. But they would get healthcare on a non-profit basis, just like everybody over 65 does. This would accomplish two things. The people who chose to buy into Medicare (and you could bring them in by age groups, say starting with people over 50, then in a year go to people between 40 and 50), but for the people who buy into Medicare, their costs for medical care would immediately come down. The Medicare system would be improved by bringing in cash from people buying into it, and also by bringing in a healthier (younger) group of people.

All other citizens would also profit because once Medicare was available to the public, the private insurance companies would have to cut their costs to entice (compete for) customers. Doctors and hospitals would have to cut their costs too, because they would prefer getting paid a little more by private insurance than getting paid a little less by Medicare.

As for drugs, the government should allow any individuals or business to buy drugs in Canada or any other country where drug companies sell cheaper, then bring them into the U.S. The exact same drug company will sell the exact same drugs in Canada but charge half what they charge Americans. They are screwing us. And the drug companies bribed Congress to pass a law making it illegal for Americans to buy their drugs in Canada. Even people who live right on the border and could walk across are hostages to the drug industry and our corrupt politicians. So people go without their drugs and die, because of the corrupt monopoly control of our medical care system.

Our democracy is being destroyed by our politicians taking bribes. The Supreme Court is packed with right-wing zealots who hate our democracy and believe in corporatocracy -- control of everything by corporations and CEOs with the citizens having no rights at all. We are headed over the cliff because our people are being crushed by profiteering. Healthcare profiteering is the most offensive because people are dying every day for lack of life-saving healthcare, while insurers get rich and politicians do too. If we don't stop this Sickness Industry, it will bankrupt our country and kill us all.

It's very simple. We need a Medicare for All system. Anybody who wants to can buy in. Discounted prices should be paid to doctors, hospitals, and drug sellers. And the health insurance industry should be cut out like a malignant cancer.

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