Time for Medicare-For-All

By Bob Balhiser
Independent Record (Helena, Mont.), Letters, March 9, 2013

Health insurance companies are parasites that add no value whatsoever to our health care system!

I have a Medicare supplement plan and my wife has a high deductible ($5,950) individual plan. The same company writes both policies. Rates for my plan are regulated by Medicare while hers are not regulated at all. Here are recent increases for both types of health insurance plans: rates for my Medicare Supplement increased 9.2 percent from 2011 to 2012, and 9 percent from 2012 to 2013. During the same time period, my wife’s private health insurance premium rose 15.5 percent and 20.7 percent respectively. We can hardly wait until she becomes eligible for Medicare so we can quit feeding this parasitic company.

The example above demonstrates why we should rid our country of private health insurers and implement a single-payer system such as Improved Medicare-For-All. Granted, opponents of single payer health care will be the first to call it “socialized medicine,” but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Medicare-For-All might more properly be described as “socialized health insurance” wherein private sector doctors, hospitals and pharmacies are paid by a single insurer called Medicare.

What are the potential savings from Medicare-For-All done right? Well, the U.S. pays 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product for health care, while other advanced countries with “socialized health insurance” pay an average of 11 percent GDP. That 7 percent GDP difference in our economy would amount to a savings of $1 trillion annually. So, let’s do something that should appeal to Republicans and Democrats alike. Let’s implement Medicare-For-All and apply all the savings toward national debt reduction. How’s that for a win/win solution?

Bob Balhiser resides in Helena, Mont.