Health Care: The Solution Is So Simple

Health care insurance doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better.

Health care: It’s been the subject of so many articles over the decades, with the debate now at a fever pitch. And yet, the solution is sooo simple.

Really. The rest of the civilized world has been implementing the solution for all those decades. Yes, you know it — it’s called “single payer.”

The vast majority of Americans want it, polls show — even a majority of those on the right. People who are opposed are usually either poorly informed on the matter, or are invested in, or employees of, the health care insurance industry.

To those who think it would mean a “government takeover” of health care: it would not. All it does is replace the for-profit insurance part of health care. That’s it. Now, there are lots of ways to structure health care beyond that, and every country with a single payer system has their own idiosyncrasies. But single payer in itself does not mean giving up your doctor, hospitals being taken over by the government, nor does it mean doctors become government employees. It simply replaces the extremely corrupt private health care insurance component: one that has profit as its overarching incentive.

To those who think single-payer means “no competition,” and therefore runaway costs: that reasoning only applies if we’re talking about a private monopoly. Since it would be our government handling the insurance, and since we’re a democracy, we have the final say in how rates are set. Besides, we’ve already been doing it since the days of Roosevelt anyway, via Medicare. That program has proven much better at keeping costs down, precisely because it’s not trying to make a profit. The concept has already also proven by every other single-payer system in the world. Only the US pays astronomical health insurance rates — to private insurers.

A for-profit health insurance industry has a natural inclination to do anything that reduces expenses, even if it’s not in the best interest of the patient — like denying certain types of care, reducing hospital stays and generally treating patients like commodities with short shelf lives. They also do anything they can to increase profits — like overcharge. Who ever thought capitalist profit-seeking was the best health care model in the first place? Those who don’t mind making fortunes off of people’s suffering, that’s who.

Right now we have an excellent opportunity to join the rest of civilization, and switch to single payer health insurance. It will save everyone a lot of money: patients, hospitals, the entire economy. Sure, taxes will take the place of insurance payments, but as the rest of the world knows, it will be at a large savings for you and me. And no more co-pays, insurance executives dictating treatment, or going bankrupt when a loved one needs expensive life-saving care.

We need to rise up and refuse the GOP’s ruthless attempt to roll back health care to the middle ages with the horrendous “Trumpcare” bills, and insist on single payer. Now.

James Israel
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