Affordable healthcare is clearly one of the most important issues for the voters that I canvassed. High cost and poor coverage, not surprisingly, were the main complaints. Virtually every voter expressed concern over this issue. Are people complaining for no reason or is there a systemic problem?
An economic system with 50.7 million people with no healthcare insurance is a system with serious structural problems. Workers losing their jobs because of the Great Recession, companies dropping employee health insurance “to be competitive,” and working families going without health insurance because they can’t afford it, are serious structural problems.
A recession is a problem with the economic system. When companies “can’t afford” health insurance for their employees, that is a problem with the economic system. When families with two or even three incomes can’t afford to buy health insurance with full coverage, there is something wrong with the economic system. Despite massive conservative disinformation to the contrary, this is not a government problem. My research indicates that conservative “solutions” like health savings accounts, buying insurance across state lines and high risk pools are nothing but worthless sound bites.
The insurance “industry,” like the banking “industry,” is actually a private sector bureaucracy.
The steel industry produces steel. The automobile industry produces cars. But insurance companies only administer the collection and distribution of money. They produce nothing, therefore, they are bureaucracies. When the insurance industry is viewed in this light, the idea of a single payer healthcare system becomes perfectly logical. When you consider the multimillion dollar salaries, the private jets, the lavish perks, the enormous advertising budgets, the cost of printing millions of pages of text touting idiotic healthcare “choices,” lavish funding for conservative “think” tank shills and the multimillion dollar lobbying campaigns, a single payer, government run system, is a no brainer from the standpoint of cost, efficiency and affordability.
The (good) Democrats in Congress did their best to fix our healthcare crisis. But the “system” made sure their efforts were derailed or watered down. The evils of concentrated wealth were on display for all to see in the massive, multimillion dollar campaign to destroy the work of the (good) Democrats trying to craft healthcare reform legislation.
Here is a reality check: Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on lobbyists, conservative “think” tanks, campaign contributions, Astroturf organizations and advertizing in order to kill healthcare reform. Where did all that money come from? That money came, either directly or indirectly, from consumers, the paychecks of workers or the wallets of taxpayers. Money was skimmed from the coffers of business. Money came from business owners and investors. Tax breaks and loopholes made sure the taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury helped out, too. This is something for the Tea Partiers to think about: Your money is being used to deny you healthcare coverage! What if all that wasted money was used to fund employee healthcare?
The ink wasn’t even dry on the healthcare reform legislation when I felt the sting of the insurance industry’s revenge. I, personally, know what it is like to be on a fixed income and have my Medicare supplemental insurance premium, instantly, skyrocket by 45%. When I asked the insurance company why the premium was increased, the salesperson said the (taxpayer funded) Medicare subsidy to his company was cut. When I said that I didn’t understand why a 13 percent government subsidy cut caused a 45% premium increase, I was told that I didn’t understand accounting. I said he was insulting my intelligence. On top of the 45% premium increase, a new, $150 co-pay was added for outpatient treatments that previously required no co-payment. Do stockholders care that these increases can be a severe hardship for people on fixed incomes? Does the plight of elderly people struggling to survive on fixed incomes ever come up at shareholder meetings or conference calls with Wall Street investors? There are no greedy shareholders or expensive lobbyists in a single payer system.
When people can’t afford to get sick or injured, there must be something wrong with the business model of the insurance companies. Or, there must be something wrong with our economic system. Many working people can’t afford to see a doctor. Are insurance company actuaries the “death panels” Senator Chuck Grassley said were going to “pull the plug on grandma?”
Does a person who goes to work and produces goods and services in our economy earn and deserve full healthcare coverage? Should this coverage extend to the worker’s family? In both cases, I say yes. Unfortunately, the free market demands that a sizable portion of our workforce and their families live with inadequate healthcare or no healthcare at all. Around the world, the free market demands that millions of workers slave in miserable conditions, for low wages and no healthcare. This is the global standard that many American corporations find so attractive. Is this the ultimate fate of the American worker? I say no.
All elected public officials swear an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. The purpose of the Constitution is stated in the first sentence: to (among other things) “promote the general welfare” and “insure domestic tranquillity.” Which of the following two conditions fulfills that mandate: 50.7 million Americans without healthcare, or, full healthcare coverage for all American workers and their families? Because I took the oath uphold the Constitution twice in the past, I don’t have to be elected to fight for a better healthcare insurance system. Win or lose, I will continue work to promote the general welfare and to insure domestic tranquility. This is something that is ignored by “take no prisoners,” free market economic policies.
An economic system that doesn’t provide full healthcare coverage for all workers and their families is a flawed system. The insurance “industry” claims that this is impossible. The Lincoln/Kennedy Monetary Reforms outlined on this web site can make full healthcare coverage for all workers and their families possible, without raising taxes or borrowing from the capital markets. A system is already in place to make this possible. It’s called Medicare. And, the money to pay for it is authorized by Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 5 of the United States Constitution and the Legal Tender Act of 1862. The only thing standing in the way of this long overdue reform is the United States Congress.
How can a Representative to the Pennsylvania General Assembly get the politicians in the U.S. Congress to fulfill their Constitutional duty to “promote the general welfare?” If elected, will introduce a non-binding resolution to be sent to the Congress in Washington DC. This resolution will request that the Congress enact debt free monetary reforms in accordance with the law and the Constitution as stated above. This debt free monetary system exists, right now. See: U.S. Treasury - FAQ: Legal Tender Status of currency.
If the Congress refuses to act or ignores the resolution, in my capacity as an elected official, I will demand a written explanation. I will then put that explanation on this web site. We will finally find out if America is governed according to the law and Constitution or by Wall Street campaign contributions.
The title of this article is Affordable Healthcare. The issue of affordability has two parts: cost and income. Virtually all of the discussion is centered on reducing costs. Almost nothing is said about the stagnant or declining incomes of millions of Americans. Factor in the millions of underemployed and it is obvious that we have an income problem. When I say that our deregulated, free market, globalized economy is a disaster, this income problem is a glaring example of that fact.
The cost of healthcare will inevitably go up because of expensive new technologies and other necessary improvements to our healthcare delivery system. When conservatives talk about cutting costs, they usually don’t specify who or what they want to cut. Waste, fraud and abuse should be eliminated. However, the people in our healthcare delivery system don’t need to have their pay and benefits cut. The expensive, redundant health insurance “industry” is where we should look for waste, fraud and abuse.
50.7 million people have no health insurance. Proper insurance coverage is unaffordable for millions of others. When you factor in the millions of unemployed and underemployed, it is obvious that our economic system isn’t getting the job done for the American people. This is not a government problem. However, under the current circumstances, only the government can fix the problem.
Apparently, for conservatives, millions of Americans with inadequate or no health insurance is not a problem. To them, the problem is that businesses, flush with trillions of dollars of cash, might have to provide coverage for their employees. A comprehensive examination of the economics of our health care crisis is beyond the scope of this article. The purpose of this article is to propose a solution to the problem. Expansion of Medicare, funded with debt free, Treasury issued, United States Notes is the answer. This solution will require no increase in taxes and no borrowing from the capital markets. The necessary governmental mechanisms exist, right now. The only thing lacking is the political will.
I welcome any written rebuttal to this proposal from any reputable politician, pundit or economist. I will put their counter arguments on this web site. Then we will debate this issue in public, on the record.
My only concern is for my Constitutional mandate: to promote the general welfare and insure domestic tranquility. I will continue this effort regardless of whether I win or lose the election.