Anyone opposed to Medicare For All ain’t got the sense God gave a goose. The Republican refrain that America can’t afford it can be found in Chapter Two of their disinformation handbook entitled: “But Her Emails”
As they siphon the life out of our republic – and the Republican Party stands in unity for I don’t know what – they scream poor mouth in the shadow of their regressive tax redistribution plan, intended to benefit our largest corporations and 1% of the wealthiest Americans.
The question we should be asking about American healthcare insurance is: Do we really need it?
“Look out kid, they got it all hid“.
I haven’t read Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare For All plan, just as I failed to read the entire 5,000 page long Trans-Pacific Partnership that she opposed – mostly because I’d need a multiple organ transplant afterward. But everybody who cares about the cost of healthcare and the healthcare debate in general, should read her article in Medium entitled: “Ending the Stranglehold of Health Care Costs on American Families”. https://medium.com/@teamwarren/ending-the-stranglehold-of-health-care-costs-on-american-families-bf8286b13086 Warren is the smartest person in the room – any room. And when the future knocks, we really need to up our game by electing someone who can see the future, explain how it will change us, and define what steps we must take to survive and flourish.
The healthcare industry is but one of the major business sectors in America to experience what is called disintermediation. Disintermediation means cutting out the middleman, and that, among many other things, is what Medicare For All does.
Amazon, with its siren song of ease of use, savings, and two-day delivery, similarly comes to mind. We love it; everybody uses it; but its impact on traditional culture makes us feel deeply uncomfortable. We worry that our ability to exercise choice has somehow been compromised. But we felt this way when department stores displaced separate mom and pop retail shops; when national chains all but replaced those same department stores; and now when on-line retail buying in 2019 represents ~12.4% of total sales volume, as compared to 8% in 2016.
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
Our economy continues to change due to globalization and technological advances such as automation. We’ve been losing jobs for decades now, and we’ve felt pain as old platforms – old business models – began to collapse. Healthcare in general, and health care insurance, are but two industries undergoing a dramatic upheaval.
Merrill Goozner, author of The $800 Million Pill: The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs, said it this way in 2017: “The [healthcare insurance] industry wants to keep employers in the game as long as possible, though they’ve known for more than a decade that the employer-sponsored health insurance system is collapsing. … Cigna’s CEO said his fear was that someday American employers and their workers would begin to question the “value proposition” of private health insurers. That’s business-speak for something not being worth what you’re paying for it. That someday has arrived for America’s job creators. They are waking up to realize the middleman is not necessary. It’s time for our policymakers to wake up, too.”
Goozner goes on to say: “In 2016, the United States spent nearly twice as much on health care as ten high-income countries, and these costs have been steadily rising for decades, growing from 5.2% of U.S. GDP in 1963 to 17.9% in 2017. But instead of resulting in better health outcomes, Americans have the lowest life expectancy of residents in high-income countries, the highest infant mortality rate, and the highest obesity rates…Why? As a group of health economists famously wrote, “It’s the prices, stupid.”
“Don’t follow leaders. Watch the parkin’ meters.”
And no, we don’t need the healthcare insurance industry. It delivers nothing; it parasites doctors and hospitals; and most of all, it’s a dinosaur that has failed to reimagine itself. It belongs in our economic museum next to the buggy whip manufacturers who bumped up against Henry Ford.
“I’m on the pavement thinking about the government.”
Image: wikimedia commons, Paul Stahr lyrics: Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan
Deborah Long is a Principal at Development Management Group, Inc. and founder of several non-profit charitable organizations. If you find her perspectives interesting, provocative, or controversial, follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/debby.long.98499?ref=br_rs