The words “universal healthcare” cause unnecessary revulsion and even panic among Americans in the 21st century. Cries of “Socialism!” ring out and spur people into believing all sorts of hogwash about single-payer systems. Simply put, these fears are unfounded. The only thing that universal healthcare threatens is the insurance cartel’s monopoly on life-and-death decisions for millions of Americans. Here are a few myths that people believe about single-payer healthcare:
It Costs a Lot
In fact, a single-payer system would cost far less than the private insurance-driven model we have today. To begin with, a single-payer system would save more than $350 billion in administrative costs alone. Also, as people had better access to care, their overall health would improve, which would mean they wouldn’t need to go to the doctor or to the hospital as often, further reducing the overall costs. Insurance companies like our present system precisely because it costs more than a single-payer healthcare system. The “it’ll cost more” mantra is simply an insurance company dog whistle meant to mislead the public.
Single-Payer Care Must be Governmental
Medicare, which covers people 65 years of age or older and children with disabilities, involves the government paying for people’s medicare through private providers. It is not a government agency that dispenses healthcare. Even if it were, Medicare is far more efficient than private insurance companies because it operates as a not-for-profit system. There are no shareholders to keep happy with big, fat dividends. There are also no expensive ad campaigns to fund and no palms to grease with favors for the next ad campaign.
Healthcare is Already a Basic Right in the United States
The idea goes that, “people have a choice to buy healthcare or not, which is an exercise in freedom.” No, healthcare is not a basic right. In a profit-driven model, healthcare is a commodity that is sold by the insurance companies. To boost their profits, insurance companies think of every excuse in the book not to pay. This article covers other types of insurance than health, but the principle is the same: Pay the shareholders instead of the clients.
We’ll All Have to Pay a Bunch More in Taxes
A combination of the federal government and state governments already collect enough in taxes to cover the entire population of the United States. Even 25 years ago, both the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting Office noted that costs would not rise. They also reinforced the idea that a single-payer healthcare system would reduce administrative costs and streamline everything. When concerns were raised about higher taxes in 1998, The Economic Policy Institute acknowledged that, were a single-payer system to be supported by a tax increase instead of using existing monies, many families would pay $731 a year more in taxes. They would, however, save thousands because they would not have to pay exorbitant premiums.
Employer Mandates Pay for Healthcare Anyway
This is just not true. Workers must pay for their healthcare through either direct payment or salary deductions. An employee is therefore compensated for his or her time by receiving healthcare as part of his or her salary instead of in addition to his or her salary. Obviously, this costs the employee more than receiving healthcare under a single-payer play either through the government or funded by the government through private entities.
In short, the big problem with America’s healthcare system is that it’s driven by profits and the need to please shareholders. Were the United States to implement a not-for-profit single-payer system, the costs would be less, the efficiency would go up, and people could stop worrying about whether they were going to eat, pay their other bills, or pay their healthcare premiums.
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