The letter I wrote last week about health care in the U.S. arrived too late to be included in the paper. In the meantime, the House GOP rolled out the American Heath Care Act and I realize now that I was sadly naïve.
The gist of the last letter was that there are many well-established models for national health care throughout the developed world. On average, countries with national health care paid less than half of what Americans were paying in 2014 ($9,541/year/capita).
Our scores for infant mortality are about 15 percentile and 38 percentile for life expectancy, so dismally below average among developed nations. Although most of these countries pay higher taxes, we ultimately pay much more because we have to pay taxes, as well as premiums and deductibles, etc.
My point was that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we merely need to look at other successful models. After reviewing the selling points of the AHCA, as touted by the congressmen and president who support it, I realized that the reason it has taken seven years to draft this plan is because it must be free market.
Unfortunately, there are no successful free market health models that work, so we do have to reinvent the wheel. America is determined to take unregulated capitalism to its limits, as we have shown in the last election. Free market health care has the added advantage of uncapped costs, because the consumers will pay almost anything to avoid pain and death for themselves or their loved ones. So essentially there are no checks and balances.
Based on the CBO report, about 24 million will lose health insurance over the next few years, if this is adopted. As Rep. Paul Ryan has pointed out, increasing coverage was just “beauty contest.” He is elated that the deficit will be reduced by $337 billion, but fails to notice that revenue will be reduced by $592 billion through the tax cuts to the wealthy and health insurers.
I have already cut the smart phone out of my budget (Thank you, Rep. Chaffetz) and if this bill passes, I will also lose my health insurance. According to The Washington Post, “For a 64-year-old making $26,500, the cost would rise sharply from $1,700 to $14,600.” This is not far off from my bracket.
They are also assuming that premium costs will stay the same. (Since when was that a reality?) In truth, this older person is paying 26 percent of their income in taxes before 50 percent goes to health insurance premiums. An E.U. citizen might pay a maximum of 37 percent income tax in this bracket and get cost-free health care (along with many other social benefits).
After taxes and health insurance, we could be paying 75 percent of our income to the government and health insurance corporations. Even those already on Medicare may feel the repercussions of this bill, since long-term care is provided by Medicaid, which is being drastically cut.
We are no longer patients, we are now consumers. Maybe the replacement to Obamacare will be signed so quickly that our president’s signature will at least reflect the true nature of this bill: DonTCARE.
Sources: WHO health data 2014; Washington Post 3-13-17, “Affordable Care Act revision would reduce insured numbers by 24 million, CBO projects.”