Civil Discourse Now

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Our health care is 37th & all but 2 of the 36 ahead of us have forms of socialized medicine

Several of my opponents in the GOP primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District seem unified in their positions on several issues. One is health care: they are against “Obamacare” (Affordable Care Act or ACA) and anything that smacks of “socialized medicine.”
The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines “socialized medicine”: as “a term used in the United States to describe and discuss systems of universal health care: medical and hospital care for all by means of government regulation of health care and subsidies derived from taxation.”
Andrew Bales, an Anderson businessman, states on his website that “government has no business running healthcare for Americans. The ACA was a disaster.” He says “Single Payor” or similar ideas “will bankrupt America” and “lower the quality of healthcare in this country for all Americans.”
He suggests “incentivizing businesses to provide healthcare for their employees and fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs and hospital care through a National Fee Schedule, or cost Transparency and competition. We can also increase federal and state tax deductions for individual insurance premiums.”
A few problems with Mr Bales’s position: 1) How is the “National Fee Schedule” not “government ... running healthcare”? I don’t think large corporations - that by the way run healthcare for Americans - will voluntarily do these things. A National Fee Schedule won’t work without compulsion.
2) As to bankrupting America, the private healthcare system of the USA has done a pretty effective job of that, person-by-person. A study issued in February of this year found that 66.5% of bankruptcies were tied to medical issues. 109 Amer J Public Health No. 3, p. 411, 02/06/19.
The report also notes the numbers are similar to those pre-ACA. A lot of us believed when ACA was proposed that it did not go far enough. These debts could have been off people’s shoulders if the USA had single payor.
3) In case Mr Bales does not realize it, the ACA originally was a plan presented by a GOP Governor - Mitt Romney.
Micah Beckwith is a minister who will defend “true CONSTITUTIONAL conservative values,” according to his website. On a Ballotpedia questionnaire, he said he favors “Healthcare policy that cuts costs for families and opens up the free market and competition that will drive down costs and increase quality of care.”
Unfortunately, we have had “free market” in healthcare and the “competition” is one in which the single-loss tournament of capitalism delivers us to oligopolies. Theodore Roosevelt - a GOP Prez - busted up monopolies and oligopolies, but they came back.
A free market approach does not work with healthcare because people (usually) are not in a position to make choices when they need that care. Also, he wants to help families, and that’s great. However, a lot of people are single. His focus omits a lot of people.
Finally, my pal Danny Niederberger does not fail to provide a solution to the problem: “Health insurance premiums and deductibles have sky rocketed, and many insurers have left exchanges.” He points out a problem with ACA was it required insurance companies to cover “high risk individuals” and that meant heavier premiums for “low risk individuals.”
He suggests allowing insurance companies to cross state lines, to decrease those pesky regulations, and promote the use of health savings accounts.
I know CEOs of large insurance corporations should be protected and their very nice lifestyles preserved - Hey, Barbados can be pricey! - but to preserve a system with an expensive middle thing - an insurance company - means we line pockets unnecessarily. We need Single Payor.
If what these candidates say is true, then the USA’s health care system pre-ACA should be right up there at the top. It was not. It is not today. There are various ways to gauge quality of healthcare.
In 2007 the USA was ranked 37th in the World for overall efficiency in healthcare. In a March, 2019, paper, “How does the quality of the U.S. healthcare system compare to other countries?” The USA still was 37th in that category.
Of the 36 countries ahead of us in those rankings, only two - 2 or II or deux - do not have either socialized medicine or a large component of its system that we would call “socialized.” Norway, ranked 11th, however, has a deductible of equivalent of $200, after which there is no charge. Morocco has mixed mandatory and private insurance.
There are other gauges for quality of health care, but overall we come up dismally short. We need universal health care - i.e., socialized medicine. If we cut out insurance companies, we’ll have big savings there.

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