Why President Trump Should Support Single-Payer Health Insurance


General Motors covers more than 1.1 million employees and retirees with health insurance. GM executives note that it spends about $5 billion on healthcare expenses annually. Healthcare costs add between $1,500 and $2,000 to the sticker price of every automobile and truck that GM manufactures. The Cato Institute found that GM paid $1,500 more per vehicle for health insurance than Toyota. Chrysler claims a health care cost of $1,400 per vehicle while Ford says its health insurance burden is $1,100 per vehicle.

Medicare for All Will Make US More Competitive

Workers at Mercedes, BMW and Audi plants in Germany have health insurance paid for by the German government. This puts Germany at an unfair cost advantage. Similarly, Japan pays for Lexus, Toyota and Nissan workers’ health insurance. That is why Japanese auto manufacturers still make millions of cars in Japan and have decided not to build Priuses in the United States.

In Canada, the provincial governments pay for health coverage for all of their citizens. Chevys, Fords, Hondas and Chryslers made in Canada have an unfair trade advantage because of government-funded healthcare. Did you know that Canada manufactures more vehicles per capita than the United States? The reason for this is government-paid health care.

The current Affordable Care Act does not help US competitiveness. Universal health insurance paid for by the federal government would make U.S. manufacturers more competitive.

Costs and Savings

“Medicare for All” would cover everyone and save billions in the first year, a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation says. It found that a Canadian-style, single-payer health plan would reap huge savings from reduced paperwork and from negotiated drug prices, enough to pay for quality coverage for all — at less cost to families and businesses

Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses. That’s the chief finding of a new fiscal study by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Prof. Friedman said the savings would come from slashing the administrative waste associated with today’s private health insurance industry ($476 billion) and using the new, public system’s bargaining muscle to negotiate pharmaceutical drug prices down to European levels ($116 billion).

“These savings would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to our health system, including the achievement of truly universal coverage, improved benefits, and the elimination of premiums, co-payments and deductibles, which are major barriers to people seeking care,” Friedman said.

The Senate Bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2017 (S. 1804) with 16 co-sponsors, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in the Senate. The bill would cover all 44 million people the government estimated were uninsured in that year and upgrade benefits for everyone else.

If Taiwan Can Do It, So Can the USA

Until recently, Taiwan was a third-world country. Now it has universal health care. Universal health care is a significant sign of a first-world economy. Tsung-Mei Chang, M.A., Health Policy Research Analyst, testified before Congress recently. He noted that a main characteristic of the single-payer system in Taiwan is equality in health care. Health care is not tied to a job. Also testifying on Taiwan’s system was Ching-Chuan Yeh, former Minister of Health for Taiwan. He said this program has improved health care for low and middle-income people and lowered the country’s administrative costs.

The United States should have a medical insurance system that is at least as good as that in Taiwan. The US is the only first-world country without universal health coverage. We should have a medical insurance system comparable to that of Canada, France and Germany.

Joel Joseph is chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American-made products. Email joeldjoseph@gmail.com. Phone 310 MADE-USA

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2017


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