Free Health Care,
Like 22 Other
Out of the top 30 richest countries per capita, only the US doesn’t provide health care for all its citizens.
All health care is free in
- United Arab Emirates
All these countries above plus each of the countries below offer free hospitalizations and surgeries to all their people:
- New Zealand
Italy has free doctor visits, too.
Over 100 nations are working to give health care to all their citizens.
All family doctor visits are free in the Netherlands.
Countries with small copays for doctors, diagnostic tests, and medicines include:
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
Many countries have very affordable yearly caps, so chronic illnesses will not burden families. For example:
- Sweden only charges $12 for doctor visits and $12 a day for hospital stays, with a maximum yearly limit of $123.
- France gives free care to low-income adults and anyone with a chronic illness.
- Germany caps costs for those with chronic illness at 1% of their income.
A wealth of evidence shows care by family doctors emphasizing prevention protects health better and far more cheaply.
- Japanese people see their doctors an average of nearly fourteen times a year.
Here, approximately 500,000 Americans go bankrupt each year because of medical costs, including many who had health insurance.
Cheaper Health Care with Better Outcomes
Single payer systems in other countries are far cheaper than our private for-profit health insurance system and deliver far better health outcomes.
- Canada spends half of what we do on health care per person and gets better results than we do.
- Australia and Britain spend less than half of what we do on health care per person and they also get better results.
- We spend three times the average of other developed nations on healthcare.
Both France and Japan have universal health care systems that use insurance companies and both spend less than half what we do per person, yet they achieve better health outcomes.
- The World Health Organization ranks France as having the best health care in the world and they spend only 5% on insurance bureaucracy and billing.
Even spending far less, people in most other developed nations get better health care and live longer than we do. Compared to other developed nations, we:
- visit doctors less often
- have less doctors to choose from per capita
- have less hospital beds per capita
- have lower hospital occupancy rates
- have some of the worst rates of mother and infant deaths
- have some of the worst rates of deaths from preventable diseases
- have some of the worst rates of premature deaths
More US babies die on their first day of life than in 68 other countries.
- Our rate of infant deaths is worse than Cuba, Slovenia, Belarus, Egypt, Turkey, Peru, Singapore, and Malaysia and more than double the rates of Iceland, Japan, and Finland.
On average, people in 36 other countries live longer than we Americans do. People in even Cuba, Croatia, and Slovenia live longer than us.
Medicare for All Would Strengthen Our Economy
The Medicare for All Act has been introduced in every Congress since 2003. Many organizations support this bill, including:
- both doctors’ and nurses’ organizations
- 26 international unions
- over 461 unions
The bill even provides job retraining and placement for those who lose jobs in the health insurance industry.
Most Americans, doctors, nurses, and unions support Medicare for All.
Most economists and health care expert agree:
- Studies show a single payer system like an expanded, upgraded Medicare for All negotiating drug prices would save $650 billion a year and many trillions over the coming decades while providing much more comprehensive coverage.
- Hospitals spend about ¼ their budget on administration and each doctor, on average, has 7 workers taking care of billing.
- Physicians for a National Health Program believes Medicare for All would provide comprehensive doctor, hospital, long-term care, mental health, dental, vision, prescription drug, ,medical supply costs, and home care for the elderly and disabled to everyone for the same amount of money we are spending now.
- They also say patients would have free choice of doctors and hospitals and no copays or deductibles.
- A study by two nursing associations found a single payer system would create 2.6 million more new good-paying jobs in the US, even after subtracting all the lost insurance jobs, and stimulate the economy $100 billion in wages and $317 billion in new business and public revenues.
Health is a basic building block of prosperity.
- Economists estimate investing in universal health care would bring economic benefits more than 10 times the cost.
- Companies that pay for health care now, freed from the massive burden of health care, would be able to pay their employees better and compete better worldwide.
- If city, state, and federal budgets didn’t have to pay for health care, they could spend far more on education, infrastructure, and public services like policing.
- Medicare For All would also put money in our pockets.
- Senator Bernie Sanders argues a typical family earning $50,000 a year would save nearly $6,000 a year in health care costs.
We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world and richer than ever before.
We already see Medicare taking care of the oldest and most disabled Americans with amazing efficiency and cost savings.
- Medicare’s administrative costs are just 2% of total costs, while private insurance companies waste up to 30%.
- Medicare has half the annual cost increases of private insurance companies.
Covering the rest of us is much easier and cheaper. Including everyone would greatly strengthen Medicare with far healthier people.
Americans work more hours than the people of any other rich nation. We deserve free health care. It would save hundreds of thousands of lives and make our nation stronger.
Many Health Care Options
Most Americans say they WANT Medicare for All.
But when polls explain they would have to give up their employer-based health insurance, most Americans REJECT Medicare for All.
This is a HUGE political problem.
And even those WITH health insurance hate their skyrocketing premiums, deductables, and out-of-pocket costs and 4 in 10 of them struggle with medical bills.
Clearly, if we don’t get rid of insurance companies and use a single-payer system, we will still have a massive, wasteful bureaucracy to:
- bill all the different insurance companies
- file pre-approval paperwork
- make calls to get prior authorization
- look up which medicines each insurance company pays for in their drug formularies
- fight denials with appeals
- collect deductables and copayments
But there are many helpful first steps we can take.
For example, we could extend Medicaid to all the working poor nationwide—everyone making approximately $17,000 or less.
- This would let the working poor in many red states enjoy the health care benefits those in blue states are already getting.
We could pass laws that offer more financial protection against unexpected or excessive medical bills or that give our government more power to control the cost of health care.
- For example, we could cap family out-of-pocket costs for health care or medicines, like many other countries do.
- We could set drug prices based on quality of life improvements.
- We could cap insurance premiums at a fixed number or at 5 or 8% of
- We could outlaw insurance deductibles completely or limit deductables to $500 or $1,000.
We could require pharmaceutical companies to:
- disclose their true research costs
- stop all the money wasted on advertising for medicines, which is illegal in most other countries
- stop wasting money on lobbying
Oregon has already passed a law that gives health care to just about everyone, regardless of income or type of insurance.
When Medicare began in 1965, our economy was only 1/4th the size and strength it is today. The plan was to expand Medicare to include all children, then eventually everybody.
- We should follow the original, wise plan and expand Medicare to ALL.
- At the very least, we should start by including those over the age of 50 or 55 and children up to 25 or 30 years old.
- This first step would strengthen Medicare with some younger, healthier people and help give the next generation a better start.
- If Medicare covered those over 50 or 55, it would make health insurance for the rest of the younger, healthier population cheaper.
Gradually expanding Medicare is clearly the best option because this would immediately start cutting the massive waste of administrative overhead.
Moderate Democrats try to calm fearful Americans by letting people of certain ages or all people buy into Medicare or a public option that would compete with private health insurance.
- Doing either of these things would help force the giant monopoly for-profit health insurance companies to compete with better prices.
- This might be a smart way to learn as we go and avoid the public anger and resistance to immediately eliminating private insurance.
- But this politically expedient start would come at the cost of continuing most of the massive bureaucratic waste.
- This would likely mean “Medicare for All Who Can Afford It” and continuing big copayments and deductables.
- Therefore, gradually expanding Medicare would most likely be better.
The Fake “How Will You Pay For It?” Talking Point
Republicans constantly criticize and mock proposals for free health care by asking, “How are you going to pay for it?”
They quote estimates like $40 trillion over the next 10 years.
But the most recent estimate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows continuing to provide health care the way we do now will cost us $50 trillion over the next 10 years.
That means if the cost actually turns out to be $40 trillion, providing free health care for all will SAVE our country $10 trillion over the next decade.
Our government and many expert organizations have made varying estimates of these costs. Many expect Medicare for All to cost about $3 trillion a year. This is about what we spend now.
- Our government spends over $1.5 trillion on Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and other health programs.
- Private insurance and out-of-pocket spending costs another $1.5 trillion.
Other experts estimate Medicare for All will save us money, while still others believe it will cost a bit more than the status quo.
Most experts believe Medicare for All would require more taxes but families would save overall because they would get more health benefits without paying premiums, copays, and deductibles.
Change is scary, so many Americans fear Medicare for All. But by eliminating wasteful bureaucracy, it would give us all far better health care.
Private Insurance Can Work
Medicare for All as a single-payer system isn’t the only possible answer.
Some countries with excellent health systems use private insurance but require the insurance companies to be nonprofits or regulate them strictly.
- For example, Japan bans insurance companies from making a profit, emphasizes prevention, and achieves better health results than ours despite a far larger percentage of elderly people there.
- Most people in Germany get their insurance from nonprofit sickness funds with identical premiums. And the government takes money from funds that serve low-risk people and gives it to those serving older and sicker people.
This shows private insurance can work, with smart rules and regulations.
- We could force insurance companies to compete more and give Americans a better deal or even to operate as nonprofits.
- We could outlaw
- deductables, small health care provider networks, and eliminating coverage for medicines in the middle of the year.
- We could force private insurance companies to meet strict cost and quality guidelines, to perform closer to or as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
The Long Wait Time Scam
Contrary to popular opinion, most countries with single payer health care have no issues with wait times.
- No advanced country has waiting periods for emergency surgery or procedures that are urgently needed.
- In most developed countries, the majority of people can see their family doctors within a day of their requests.
- Many countries that cover everyone, like France, Belgium, and Japan, have no issues at all with long waits.
- Canada and England do have long waits for elective procedures and imaging services because when conservative governments came in, they slashed health care budgets and underfunded equipment and specialists.
The idea that single-payer health care inevitably causes long waits comes from Americans hearing complaints from Canadians or people in England.
The truth is many Americans face longer wait times for primary care, mental health, and even emergency care than other countries with single payer health care do.
The Army of Health Care Lobbyists
In 2018, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital giants spent nearly $568 million on lobbying Congress.
In each of the last 4 years, they have spent over half a billion dollars lobbying to stay in power and maintain the status quo.
Now they see the growing movement for Medicare for All.
So they have banded together and created the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future. This organization:
- lobbies and advertises to fight Medicare for All and public health care options or Medicare buy-ins
- fights all Democratic proposals to improve health care benefits or make health care cheaper or more fair
- creates fear-mongering ads with everyday people warning ominously about health care proposals
- claims changing the system will destroy employer-based health care
- claims new proposals will skyrocket our taxes or health insurance premiums
- claims any changes will result in closing hospitals, worse care, and long waits
- creates junk research to “prove” these points
- smears Medicare for All as unworkable “socialized medicine”
- gives templates full of these smears to elected officials to write editorials to publish in their own names
Of course, this is because these companies are scared that universal health care is so popular and Americans want a better deal.
So they will do their best to create fear among Americans, hoping to maintain their massive profits.
These lobbyists are so powerful that in the December 2019 $1.4 trillion budget Congress passed, they eliminated 2 popular proposals backed by the White House and both Democrats and Republicans:
- a law to clamp down on “surprise” medical bills
- a law to rein in prescription drug prices
The lobbyists even won 7 more years of patent protection for certain drugs by classifying chemically synthesized polypeptides to be biologic drugs.
This just emphasizes how difficult it will be to change ANYTHING without first eliminating money in politics!
Republican Lies About Medicare
Republicans pretend they want to “save” Medicare by raising the age to qualify and by turning it into cash vouchers.
- This would force everyone to buy private insurance.
- It would allow the superrich to invest in their stocks, charge fees and commissions, and speculate with the money on Wall Street.
This would only destroy Medicare and make health care more expensive.
Before Medicare, we saw how many seniors and those with disabilities couldn’t get health insurance at all at any price. Those who managed to find it paid extremely high rates.
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