THE ONE WITH HEALTHCARE - FOR EVERYONE
Ask any recent retiree in America, and they'll tell you healthcare costs outside of the 'employer market' are a top concern. While Healthcare costs have been rising steadily since the 1960's, we must do more to provide cost effective Healthcare for every American, now. As the richest Nation in the world, healthcare is a human right, not a privilege.
Our current 'system' is a clustered mess that puts an undue burden on American small businesses. Why does half the nation rely on their employer for their most sensitive insurance in... life? The greatest nation on Earth can provide quality, preventative medicine for everyone. This is - without doubt - the most productive mechanism with which to run a civil society both morally and economically. Healthy, happy citizens are productive members of society. The current structure is not viable, will not last, and hits Baby Boomers first.
- Here in CA - Pass SB562, now. An economically diverse and stable state economy (CA: $6.1B state budget surplus next year) with almost 40 million people - aka the perfect recipe for a successful insurance pool. The whole point to the founders state's rights was to incubate ideas regionally and see if they work (*cough Romneycare*) for federal, larger scales.
- Drop the current age for Medicare enrollment to 55, immediately.
- Expand the ACA and use the pool to create a Single Payer system as a bridge to Medicare-For-All. This is the most humane and economically productive business play we have. Those 74 million Baby Boomers can be offset with younger, healthier folk if they're pooled together to pull prices down.
Lucky for us as a nation, the Millennial population is slightly larger than the Baby Boomers and obviously younger and statistically, healthier. Check, check, check. This is how mortality pooling at big insurance companies works - throw everyone in one 'pool', and they balance each other out. Premiums from healthy, younger people, cover the disproportionate expenses of the older pool members. Very simple.
More healthy people means more productive people; which also means a more productive economy. Less unemployment and more GDP. Run the Government like a business.
This structure would only directly affect the Healthcare insurance industry, not the healthcare services themselves. Working Americans could receive their coverage from Uncle Sam by simply enrolling like the ACA or checking a box on their W-4. Costs would be deducted from paychecks - like they already are with your employer. That's the Single Payer bit.
For the Healthcare industry, all services are still rendered by the private sector with pharmaceutical companies, doctors groups, etc., all continuing to operate just as they do today but with less red tape.
The size of the Single Payer pool would allow us to negotiate low, low costs across the board for all of our pool members. Aggregating Medicare/caid, the V.A. - and assuming comparable ACA enrollee numbers - we could easily hit 200 million Americans in the pool. That's about a two-thirds market share (in a country of over 323M people). Let us negotiate prices in the private sector with 62% market share; we promise they'll come down. About half of our national budget is spent on Medicare/caid and Social Security.
These are programs the Baby Boomers must have. These are not 'entitlements' - you paid for them.
If we could negotiate costs down across the board, we would save the nation massive amounts of money. Eventually the pool would monopolize the market and we would have Medicare-For-All.
Give us a team of actuaries and a 3% administrative cost, and we'll give you Healthcare for everyone.
The Personal Bit:
Through the recession we had gaps in our health coverage - like many Americans - but by 2015 when our son was born, we had great coverage through my work. We had that covered - now came all the terrifying parts of first time parenthood.
Things didn't go smoothly for us.
Our son was born breech via c-section and still had fluid in his lungs, not uncommon with cesarian sections. That night his left lung collapsed, and he couldn't breathe without a tube and the hospital's ventilator. Ben stayed in the NICU for nine days.
The first four days we could visit with him upstairs. Insurance kicks Mom and Dad out of the hospital after four days, so for the next five, we drove back and forth to our newborn child. We hope no one - in any circumstance - has to 'visit' their newborn child.
The only thing that helped two sleep deprived and terrified parents hold it together was a remarkable and incredible staff of individuals at Saddleback Hospital and their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They answered every frantic question with regular updates and assured us constantly that Ben would make a full recovery. This man... we love this man.
Ben had roommates in the NICU with longer stays. The premature babies being saved around the clock in that room left us in awe. We are so fortunate to live down the street from all of these amazing doctors, nurses and resources with the insurance to give us access.
The max out-of-pocket for Mom and son was about $8,300 and while our son's life is priceless, $8k is not an easy fee for any new parents.
On paper - without insurance - the costs would have been bonkers. My wife's entire procedure and stay would have been about $37,000. Without coverage Ben's stay would have cost us over $100,000. This was and is comparable to the best PPO insurance I have ever had in my professional career.
This was the 'lucky ones' scenario for the vast majority of Americans today.
What if I had lost my job in my wife's second trimester? If this was nine days in the NICU, how much do those other families owe, the ones with babies that have to stay for months? Is this the roll-of-the-dice we want to rely on as a society?
No family should go bankrupt for trying to save a loved one. We Have Things To Do.
The TL;DR Version:
It is a National embarrassment that we - the global super power - hit a 2013 peak of 48 million Americans without health insurance. Similarly, our current 'system' is the illusion of choice and competition; it is not capitalism. We have some compelling info/data/thoughts below, but one component of this issue hits home for us, here at the campaign, in a big way:
We have put a wildly unnecessary strain on business owners and entrepreneurs. 50 employees - that's the number businesswomen and men all aim to avoid before they have to provide Healthcare for all full-time staff. That's a huge cost/burden to bare. If the employers had even a fraction of their employees opt into our Medicare-For-All, it would free up headcount for them to hire even more American workers and save them money to grow their businesses.
By the numbers: U.S. population 327M
- Medicare around 44 million enrollees
- Medicaid has around 63 million Americans covered. “Medicaid (which is called Medi-Cal in California) and the closely related Children’s Health Insurance Program together are the nation’s largest insurer, providing coverage to nearly 40% of American children and almost two-thirds of nursing home residents.”
- The VA services has about 9M Veterans. However, the Veterans Health Administration is not health insurance. It's an amazingly complicated system of fees and reimbursements from private insurance that we should never, ever bog down our servicemen and women with.
- 156M Americans get health insurance from their job/employer.
If we aggregated the VA enrollees with the Medicare/caid recipients, we would have a pool of roughly 116M people. This is a third of the population before we've even asked anyone to enroll.
If you currently have coverage with private insurance that you love, you'd continue it exactly as is. Same goes for the group plan your employer provides. Medicare-For-All would compete side by side with the private sector as nothing more than another option for consumers. May the best coverage win, competition is good for consumers.
Our claim is not a wholly original one; we can run Medicare-For-All on 3% administrative cost. In the CBO's own analysis on this issue they site that bigger plans can spread costs across a larger number of people. This is not new information. That's how mortality pooling works in the private sector.
We simply need to run the Government like a business.
It needs to be run without billions in profit margins, less marketing cost, no Corporate Executive pay (and golden parachutes), costly real estate, stadium naming rights, and stock growth/dividends. From a business perspective, you cannot convince us the illusion of competition for the cartel of health insurance companies is better for the American middle class than Medicare-For-All. In fact, compared to the rest of the world, we're way behind.
If you're a Baby Boomer relying on Medicare for retirement, we're not sure there's any other viable option for a long term solution. We're currently state sponsoring the oldest and sickest members of society while letting private insurance cover the youngest and healthiest among us. Corporations make billions covering the healthy; meanwhile, tax payers cover the sick and elderly. That will not work.
Medicare-For-All: Coverage with no preexisting conditions restrictions, with real maternity care, with affordable prescriptions and adequate mental health/addiction coverage. No in- or out-of- network, just quality insurance coverage so that you can choose the best Healthcare services, doctors and facilities for you.
It's time to lead, California - We Have Things To Do.
P.S. - Full disclosure: we would not support full blown socialized medicine. We still need the private sector producing actual goods and services. Insurance is a passive business line - it needs only survey the current landscape and can evolve with private sector business conditions maintaining a 3% admin cost. Medical technology/devices, nurses, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies all continue to operate as is.