National Healthcare

The existing health care "non-system" in this country is hopelessly dysfunctional, extremely inefficient and wasteful, and cannot be salvaged.  Profit-driven health care has become greed-prevalent healthcare with massive consumer fraud being legally perpetuated upon subscribers to health insurance plans.   Many claimants for benefits found out after years of paying premiums that "their particular medical condition was not covered" because of exclusions contained in the fine print of their health insurance policies.  Thirty percent of total health care costs were consumed by health insurance plans and health provider administrative expenses.  These expenses amount to about $700 Billion annually, an amount that is comparable with the cost of the current national defense budget. Some of the former abuses have been banned by recent legislation by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with provider overhead expenses now being limited to 15% of future costs, but the United States will still spend a higher percentage of its Gross Domestic Product for health care than any other nation.  In contrast, the Canadian system covers everyone and costs about half as much of their Gross Domestic Product to maintain and operate.

The Federal Medicare program has become a vast trough of uncontrolled price gouging by health care providers at the taxpayers’ expense.  The Prescription Drug Benefit Program has no cost controls and prohibits importation of lower cost drugs from Canada. Continuing attempts to throw more money into a hopelessly inefficient and wasteful health care non-system will fail because health insurance premiums will eventually escalate as Medicare providers’ fees
locks subscribers into12 month contracts, but then permits the drug plans to change the terms of their benefits every 60 days.   One small family owned manufacturing company in the Midwest that I am familiar with pays health insurance premiums amounting to 50% of its payroll and has been prohibited by state law from pooling its workforce with that of other small employers to negotiate lower insurance premiums.  The Affordable Care Act, which had originally forced  uninsured workers to buy health insurance, does not solve the escalating cost control problem.  It is another fatally flawed concept that also will require huge additional annual budget (i.e. “Doc Fix”) supplements.  The failure of almost half of the states to subscribe to the optional Medicare extension program for the near poor will double to 30 million the number of persons in the USA that still will have no health insurance coverage. It is very likely that the structural and operational flaws in the design of the so-called Affordable Care Act and the ever escalating monthly subscriber premiums will result in total collapse of the program within 10 years.

The only workable permanent solution is to phase in a single payer Federal tax-supported Canadian-style health care system that covers everyone, eliminates the $700 Billion of resources wasted on needless administrative costs, and cost far less to operate than the present American "non-system" that simply doesn't work.  A designated portion of Federal budget revenues should be allocated to fund the single payer system.  It should begin by the Federal government covering the estimated 50 million uninsured and all persons now enrolled in Medicare and state Medicaid programs.  The Federal government also should fund and utilize surplus Veterans Administration and closed military base hospitals for providing all long-term catastrophic (over 30 days hospitalization) patient care.  Over the next ten years after the program is begun, single payer coverage should be gradually extended to the entire working population and its dependents as private insurance coverage is phased out.  The wealthy could still elect to pay extra for their own private "boutique" insurance coverage for treatment at separate upscale resort-styled health care facilities.  However, all residents would pay taxes to support the national health care system, just as they do now to support the public education system even though they or their dependents may not have attended and will never attend public schools.

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