Everyone agrees that the most important thing in life — the thing without which nothing else matters much — is health.
There have been numerous studies comparing the health of U.S. citizens to the health of people in other countries. In a list of the healthiest countries, the Scandinavian countries are almost always near the top. In a 2016 Bloomberg study, Iceland was rated as the healthiest country in the world; Sweden was second. The United States was rated 28th.
In 2015, the per capita cost of healthcare in the U.S. was about $9,500. The cost of healthcare per person in Iceland was the equivalent of about $4,000; Swedes paid about $5,200 per capita; Japan — the 6th healthiest country in the world — only spent about $3,700.
The total cost of healthcare is more than just your premiums.
The total cost of healthcare takes into consideration every dollar spent. Your premiums are only the tip of the iceberg. There are costss paid by employers and paid from the public coffers. The total cost is best expressed as a % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Iceland spends about 9% on healthcare, Sweden about 11% and Japan about 10%. The U.S. spends more than 17%. We’re wasting money by “hiring” expensive insurance companies to create insurance for profit.
Would you run your company that way? Would you pay someone a boatload of cash to pay your bills and decide what you can spend your money on?
It’s also an issue of national security.
But there is an even more important consideration. Healthcare is also a major security issue. According to epidemiologists, a pandemic of a deadly infection similar to HIV, Ebola or Zika will occur in the not too distant future. Universal healthcare coverage would help to save thousands or maybe millions of lives.
In the age of bioterrorism, the possibility of an attack using a deadly microbe is very high. If/When it occurs, our only real defense will be a strong health system in which every person is covered.
The U.S. should be moving toward a Single-Payer system.
Sweden, Iceland and Japan, who have the healthiest populations and spend the least on providing healthcare, are all Single Payer systems. The case is clear: The United States should be moving toward a Single-Payer system.
Single-Payer national health insurance, also known as “Medicare for All,” is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. The government becomes the insurance company. It negotiates national deals with drug companies and providers to bring costs down. They do that in the VA right now.
The energy and capital that would be put back into the economy is staggering.
In addition to reducing costs and probably improving health outcomes, a Single-Payer system would allow individuals to change jobs without fear of losing health insurance and would encourage people to pursue entrepreneurial business opportunities with no fear of losing insurance coverage. The energy and capital that would be put back into the economy is staggering.
In addition, we could be assured that no one would ever go bankrupt because of health issues or be refused care because of inability to pay, that everyone would have access to preventive health care and there would be a universal system for treating mental illness and addiction.
The time has come to drag the U.S Healthcare system into the 21st century.