To The Daily Sun,
I was taken back when I read Jim Hightower’s column suggesting Medicare for all was the next step in health care and would cut the cost from $6,200 to $466 per family. I have read Jim’s articles in the past and think he’s a smart guy so I would like him to explain "with facts" where he came up with that amount. I have flash backs of our previous president saying the ACA (Obamacare) would save each American family $2,400 annually.
That was not true and he knew it. I have read many articles that support that conclusion but the best one was by Forbes. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/11/10/aca-architect-the-stupidity-of-the-american-voter-led-us-to-hide-obamacares-tax-hikes-and-subsidies-from-the-public/#5f8fe1b77c05 — Note, you have to click on “continue to article.) For those that do not know who Johnathan Gruber is, he was one of the architects of the ACA. Please watch the video in the link above. The statement he makes is that Obamacare was written in such a torturous way so people would not realize that healthy young Americans would subsidize older sicker Americans, which is exactly what it has done. Single payer is just Obamacare on steroids. I did a web search on health care costs and came up with (https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html), which is the historical data for what health care has cost in America since 1960. There are charts for just about everything but the one I was most interested in was the total cost. Since its historical data 2016 was not complied so the last year in the table was 2015 and the total cost to the American public was $3.2T or $9.990/citizen which is consistent with Jim’s number above. That cost is not shared evenly but it is shared by everyone that pays for health care and/or pays taxes. I will say this bluntly, the “government” pays nothing; they just take in taxes and redistribute them to others based on laws, primarily and discretionary spending for the balance.
We, the American taxpayer, foot 100 percent of government spending and when they spend more than what we give them the national debt goes up. If you don’t understand that you should not be voting. We have a $20T deficit and paid $260B in interest on that debt last year. It amazes me that no one in Congress bats an eye at forking out $260B in interest but will argue over funding $8B for a border wall.
Getting back to the single payer debate. It is really a question if we are we going to be a socialist or capitalist county. The basic difference is in capitalist countries workers get to keep a significant portion of their earnings and they are responsible for their own health care. In a socialist country workers keep a smaller portion of their earnings and everyone has unlimited health care. Actually that is not an accurate statement. Most socialist countries ration health care. I have friends in both Canada and England and the wait times are four to six months for procedures we can have in the U.S. in a week or less. I do want to make one point here that I have made in a previous letter to the editor.
We as a country already have a “partial” socialist program in place. It’s called Social Security and Medicare. Everyone who works pays into those programs and gets to take out from that program when they reach retirement age. Again to put it bluntly, that system is broken. In 2016, Social Security and Medicare taxes took in $1.11T and paid out $1.54T — for a net shortfall of $.43T. And who picked up the difference? Well the American taxpayer of course. Actually Congress just kicked the can down the road and covered it by increasing the national debt by another $.66T in 2016. Where I’m going with this is: until elected government officials balance the budget we should not be voting in any more programs that will cost the American worker more. Telling voters that single-payer health care will cost less is as false as Obamacare will save the average family $2,400/year. Total health care cost was $3.2T in 2015. That was an increase of $176B from 2014 and there was an increase of $152B in the previous year. To think that trend will stop is just wishful or maybe delusional thinking. Jim’s statement that just “cutting the fat” out of the medical system will decrease the costs to a family of say four, which is $40,000 (by his numbers) to $466, is laughable. Even if he meant $466/month it would come to $5,592/year or an 88 percent decrease which is equally ridiculous.
I’m frustrated that the media refuses to call out government officials for misrepresentation and in fact most support that viewpoint. Articles like Jim’s are just irresponsible and get people fired up with “unsubstantiated facts” that they quote as “truth.” Here is a quote that I think is appropriate: “Socialism is a great form of government until you run out of other people’s money.” If you “work” for a living don’t be duped by those that “talk” for a living. In this country only 63 percent of the population over the age of 16 is working. (See https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000) In my opinion, senators and congressmen who promise the 37 percent who are not working free stuff like health care, housing, welfare, etc. are “buying” votes. Do I think as a nation we should not help those in need? Absolutely not, but I do think that we should not take so much from the American worker that the nonworkers can maintain the same standard of living as those that do work. It takes away the incentive for both groups to get up in the morning and show up to work. I knew one billionaire in my life who was born into poverty, in China, and started multiple successful companies in the U,S. He once told me that, “Hunger is a great motivator.” To that point, subsidizing people who are capable of working to not work is in my opinion morally wrong to both the individual and those of us that have to pay for it.