Universal Medicare doable

Americans can afford a Medicare-for-all system of health insurance because we pay more now for a confusing and unfair system that leaves 28 million uninsured, is the most expensive system in the world and doesn’t deliver any better results than other national systems as measured by quality of health and average lifespan. In fact, a recent article in Bloomberg states Americans, who don’t live as long as the citizens of most other developed nations anyway, are experiencing more health problems and are beginning to die earlier. Even though the answer appears obvious — that is, we don’t have anything to lose — the act of transforming our system from one which is 1/3rd government insurance to 100 percent government would be disruptive and needs examined on whether its benefits outweigh the costs. This issue should be ripe for national debate next year once Trump and the congressional Republicans finish shredding our existing system.

There are two ways of looking at the benefits of any governmental program: an individual perspective and a national perspective, that is, what is in the best interest of the nation. Everyone is always concerned about how a program will impact their own pocketbook. Clearly, Universal Medicare will be seen by the wealthy, those who can easily afford to shell out $10,000 to $20,000 a year for insurance, as a bad idea because they will be paying a higher percentage of their incomes on Medicare taxes but receiving the same benefits as the non-wealthy.

It will be even a worse deal for them than our existing progressive income tax structure because of the benefit they receive from having close to a third of their federal income taxes pay for our endless wars and military engagements around the globe. War is always good for the rich because first, they’re prone to bone spurs which exempt them from doing the actual fighting and dying, and second, they own the factories which manufacture the bombs and bullets which kill the little off-colored people in those far-away lands. In addition, they stand the most to gain from having a strong military to protect and preserve their wealth from foreign invasion or even a little local rebellion.

The wealthy will experience a small ding to their pocketbooks from Universal Medicare, but they’ll manage just like the wealthy in other nations. A well-off Irishman once explained to me how he was satisfied with their total government healthcare system, even though his taxes were some higher, because it was good for the whole nation and he personally could afford additional private insurance if he wanted a private doctor. Our rich are just as tough as the Irish. The benefit from the standpoint of the non-wealthy is next.

Patrick Radcliff