Today, we have the most expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic health care system in the world. We spend almost $10,000 per capita each year on health care, while the Canadians spend $4,644, the Germans $5,551, the French $4,600, and the British $4,192. Meanwhile, our life expectancy is lower than most other industrialized countries and our infant mortality rates are much higher.
Further, as of last September, 28 million Americans were uninsured and millions more under-insured with premiums, deductibles, and co-payments that are too high. We also pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.
The ongoing failure of our health care system is directly attributable to the fact that it is largely designed not to provide quality care in a cost-effective way, but to make maximum profits for health insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical equipment suppliers. That has got to change. We need to guarantee health care for all. We need to do it in a cost-effective way. We need a Medicare-for-all health care system in the U.S.
Our dysfunctional health care system is not only causing unnecessary suffering and financial stress for millions of poor and middle-class families, it is also having a very negative impact on our economy and the business community—especially small- and medium-sized businesses. Private businesses spent $637 billion on private health insurance in 2015 and are projected to spend $1.059 trillion in 2025.
Why as a nation are we spending more than 17% of our GDP on health care, while nations that we compete with provide health care for all of their people at 9, 10, or 11% of their GDP?
Eliminating the for-profit private insurance system will save at least $600.8 billion per year in administrative costs plus outpatient prescription drug costs, according to Annals of Internal Medicine. Doctor and hospital staff negotiating with health insurance company staffs overcharges, tests, etc.? Gone. With no premiums, there would be new, modest taxes based on one’s ability to pay. And 95 percent of families would save money compared with the current system.
The Commonwealth Fund’s 2014 report on international health system efficiency ranks the United States last of 11 developed nations on measures such as quality of care, access to care, the efficiency of care and equity of care.
Yes, this would most likely mean new taxes but it also means the end of premiums, the end of deductibles, the end of copays, and it means never having to deal with another medical bill again. If you are spending more on taxes, but your premiums go down more than you’re spending in taxes, then you’re benefiting.
One other matter – a single-payer program is not socialism. Doctors, clinics and hospitals are free to practice medicine as they know best. A single-payer approach is simply a better financial way to fund health care in this country.