Medicare for all

By Bob Balhiser
Independent Record (Helena, Mont.), Letters, Aug. 28, 2013

I am no fan of “Obamacare” because it allows some 1,300 private insurers to profit from our medical misfortunes. When that many companies have their ‘fingers in the pie’ everyone pays an extra price. We pay not only in dollars but in complexity, as demonstrated by Mike Dennison’s Sunday IR article on the subject.

It is well known that we in the U.S. pay far more overall for health care than other advanced countries. In fact, we pay nearly 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product while other advanced countries pay an average of 11 percent GDP. In our economy, that 7 percent GDP difference amounts to about $1 trillion in annual potential savings. Yes, we are talking $1,000,000,000,000 annually ... that’s a lot of money to throw away on huge profits, administrative costs and other non-productive efforts.

Medicare-For-All, done right, would recapture much of this misspent money in the three following ways: by eliminating health insurance company profit and administrative costs; by relieving doctors, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies of the unnecessary paperwork burden and other costs and rules that numerous private insurers impose on them, and by bargaining with giant pharmaceutical companies to reduce drug costs to levels that Canadians pay.

Given the tenuous financial circumstances we face in the U.S., isn’t it time to give some serious consideration to the huge savings that could be realized by implementing Medicare-For-All?

The writer lives in Helena.