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Wed Nov 6, 2019, 07:54 PM

Do You Want Healthcare Or Access To Healthcare???


by Matt Murray

Healthcare is the number one issue in almost every Congressional and Presidential campaign. Politicians on both sides are trying to win the debate over what to do about our nation's healthcare.

There are three basic proposals to address healthcare:

Repeal the Affordable Care Act and the private insurance companies will use the "free market" to provide people with the lowest cost insurance available.
Expand the Affordable Care Act to allow for a "public option" that would let people buy into programs like Medicare or purchase health insurance from contracted providers at the same rates as federal employees.
Medicare for All: This plan would eliminate the need for private insurance and would expand Medicare to cover all Americans. A single-payer system would adjust our federal taxes to ensure that everyone is covered.

The real difference between these three plans is that #1 and #2 give people access to healthcare, whereas #3 actually provides healthcare. This may not seem like much of a difference but there is a vast difference between them.

Our current system of healthcare is based on allowing Americans "access" to quality healthcare. The Affordable Care Act was a modest attempt to regulate the healthcare industry by capping profit margins and expanding coverage to low-income families through state-run Medicaid programs. The ACA did include lots of other benefits like ensuring that private healthcare providers could not reject you for pre-existing conditions and allow parents to cover their children up to age 26.

The issue is that under our current system people continue to be squeezed by private insurance companies while premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance payments continue to rise. Working families are putting more and more of their hard-earned money into a system just so they can say they "have insurance." But when they actually need to use their insurance, their out-of-pocket expenses can be so high that it sends them into a financial freefall and some are forced to file for bankruptcy.

While workers are paying more and more out-of-pocket every year, the insurance industry is raking in the money. In 2018, the insurance industry made a record $23 billion in profits. This is where all the money from hard-working Americans is ending up.

After making $23 billion dollars in profits last year, did the insurance industry lower your out-of-pocket expenses this year? Did they reduce the premiums? Did they increase the coverage of your prescription drugs?

No, they did not. They continued to raise premiums and deductibles, and have not done anything to address the outrageous expense of prescription drugs.

It is all because the soulless corporations that run our healthcare industry do not actually care about people. They only care about making money -- and they make money by continuing to screw the people they are supposed to be protecting.

They make money when they tell the parents of a sick child that they will not pay for the child's cancer treatments. They make money when you are forced to pay $200 a week for your prescription drugs. They make more money when you are sick but do not go to the doctor at all.

This is the foundation of our for-profit healthcare system that leaches money from hard-working Americans and hands it over to wealthy corporations who line the pockets of their heartless and greedy CEOs. (Health insurance CEOs received an average of $18 million in compensation last year.)

Those who are saying they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and "let the free market determine the rates" are really saying that they want to allow the corporations "more freedom" to jack up your rates, reduce your coverage, and force you to pay even more for what you probably have now.

People like Pete Buttigieg and Vice President Joe Biden are pushing the idea of a "public option" or "Medicare for all who want it." These plans open up Medicare for people to buy their way in but still rely heavily on a system that is controlled by the soulless corporate private insurance companies.

Buttigieg wants to give low-income families some type of stipend to help offset the cost of buying private insurance. But this does nothing to address out-of-pocket expenses. A stipend that covers a portion of the insurance cost does not mean families will be able to afford to actually use that insurance.

Expanding the ACA may help a few people with the high cost of acquiring healthcare, but for how long? How long before the insurance companies raise their rates again and those stipends are not enough to cover the premiums and we are back in the same situation we are now?

This is where a Medicare for All system would change everything.

First, everyone would automatically be covered. No more insurance companies saying your pre-existing conditions prohibit you from acquiring insurance.

Second, no more "in-network" and "out-of-network" doctors that charge different rates or tell you that your insurance is not valid here.

Third, no out-of-pocket expenses. No more co-pays or deductibles or caps on prescription costs.

Fouth, the new expanded Medicare would cover medical equipment like hearing aids and insulin pumps as well as adding dental and vision coverage. This would allow people to save money on additional dental and vision insurance plans.

Fifth, your healthcare would no longer be tied to your employer and you would never have a gap in coverage because you changed jobs or your employer decided to change insurance companies. This could also mean that workers and unions can push for wage increases, since their employers no longer can say the cost of health insurance is preventing them from raising wages.

Lastly, Medicare for All would remove the soulless corporate private insurance companies from the equation. No more of your hard-earned money going to the wealthy CEOs and corporations that are exploiting people for profits.

Yes, this means that an adjustment in our federal taxes is needed to ensure that everyone is covered. But when you add up the cost of your premiums for healthcare, dental, vision and out-of-pocket expenses for doctor's visits, eye exams, prescription drugs, hearing aids and glasses, you will end up saving money.

So the real question is: do you want "access" to healthcare, or do you want "actual" healthcare coverage? Do you want to keep contributing to insurance companies' profits? Or do you want Medicare for All?

Matt Murray | November 6, 2019 at 16:00 | Tags: Healthcare, Medicare, Medicare For All | URL: https://wp.me/p2yHP6-iQH

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