About Health Care

Democrats should start working on their own alternative health care plan as soon as possible, because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will soon go away, and without a better alternative ready to go, we will be stuck with whatever terrible plan the Republicans come up with.

The Republican health care plan will reduce many of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and it will end up being more expensive for the poor and the older people who need health care the most. It will help the rich and the young who need health care the least. Ironically the Republican plan will hurt rural people who voted for Trump the most.

Trump promised better cheaper health care for everyone, but the Republican plan is just about the opposite. When the CBO analysis comes out, it will show that the repeal of the ACA will also drive up the deficit and add to the $20 trillion national debt.

Most people who have health care from the ACA like it. They just want better and cheaper care and that is what Trump promised them. Now we know that the only way that we can get cheaper and better health care is the same way that all of the other developed nations do it, with socialized medicine.

This isn’t really, rocket science. We have two choices. In a free market insurance based plan, the insurance companies are not motivated by the well-being of the patients, they are motivated by profits, and they make most of their profits by denying service. The ACA limited insurance company profits to 20% but the new Republican plan will allow them to return to profits of 30% or higher.

The alternative that the rest of the world has chosen, is a government-sponsored nonprofit program, in which the motivation is to serve the patients. In the Medicare, system overhead is only about 3% so eliminating the profit motive means an immediate cost saving of around 20% and more compassionate care.

A Gallop survey indicated that 67% of people are satisfied with their insurance based health care, like the ACA, but 87% of people with socialized medicine like Medicare or the Veterans Administration care are satisfied with their care. http://www.gallup.com/poll/186527/americans-government-health-plans-satisfied.aspx

The simplest and most efficient thing to do is simply expand Medicare for everyone. That way instead of setting up a brand new vast bureaucracy, you can simply expand the existing institution. California, Oregon, and many other states are now considering moving to a single payer system. California has enough people to really be able to negotiate lower drug prices. If Oregon joined with California and possibly Washington a regional single payer plan could save even more money. The only question is, how will it be paid for? Americans like health care but don’t want to pay higher taxes for it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one-fourth of illnesses have preventable environmental causes and that is true for one-third of children. The WHO believes that 13 million people a year die due to preventable environmental causes. Donald Trump and the Republicans are trying to eliminate all environmental and health protections and as a result, tens of thousands of Americans will die due to preventable environmental causes. At the same time, Republicans are trying to eliminate the health care of millions of people. That will cause the unnecessary deaths of thousands of additional people each year.

Everyone hates taxes, but if taxes are necessary, and they are, sin taxes (like taxes on tobacco and alcohol) are more popular than any other form of tax. They are popular because they do double duty. Taxing bad behavior discourages and reduces that bad behavior, as well as generating revenue that can be used to help the people whose lives are harmed.

We all know that pollutants, pesticides, and contaminants, cause cancer, respiratory illness, and many other maladies. Why not have the polluters pay for the problems they create? Why can’t we pay for a single payer health care system by taxing greenhouse gasses that are causing Climate Change, and other pollutants and poisons that are making people sick? California. Oregon and Washington have already made a commitment to put a price on carbon. Why not return that revenue to the people in the form of health care?

Paying for health care by taxing the causes of poor health, is a win-win for everyone concerned. Taxing the pollutants would be an incentive to reduce the pollutants and to find cleaner alternatives. We get cleaner air, water, and fewer poisons in our food and that keeps we the people healthier, which in turn reduces health care costs.

Democrats should support such a plan because it would unify all of the disparate interests in the party to a single cause, protecting the environment, while helping the people.

About altruist1

I am a raging progressive and a writer. I received Bachelors degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Arts with a Secondary teaching certificate and a minor in Physics. I taught for about ten years, then did various jobs including welding,fabrication and traffic engineering, and am now retired. I am interested in science, energy, the environment, and architecture.
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