One of the key aspects of human efficiency is making decisions based on facts, data, and nonideological logic. This is a critical aspect of having an efficient government and political system.
With the healthcare debate raging again in Congress, it is time to take another look into this issue. As I discussed in previous posts,
- the U.S. healthcare system ranked lowest among 11 industrialized countries in 2014.
- we pay about twice what other countries pay for health care (over $8,000 per person in the U.S. vs. about $4,000 per person in other countries, 2014 data).
- the U.S. is one of the only developed countries without a universal coverage health care plan.
And contrary to popular belief, having a large number of people without health insurance still has a cost associated with it because if people need treatment they often times get it. In 2013, $84.9 billion in uncompensated care was provided to uninsured individuals. The inability to pay medical bills is the main reason for person bankruptcies in this country. In the end, we still all pay for this.
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not perfect, it got at least some people to pay a portion of their healthcare premiums which was a step in the right direction. We do need to work on reducing the number of people who need assistance, as was discussed in the last post, but this needs to be done first.
Several other points need to be made regarding the proposed new healthcare plan. The first is the tax cuts associated with the plan and where the money would go. One of the most pressing issues that we have to come to grips with is our mounting federal debt. To talk about any kind of tax cut at this point is irresponsible while cutting subsidies without reducing the need for them is not right to begin with.
The other is the issue of mental health care which will also be cut. Mental health, for some reason, is looked upon differently than physical health which is an issue in itself. About 20% of Americans suffer from mental illness each year. Mental illness is also a major factor in homelessness and crime. This needs to be better incorporated into healthcare and will be the subject of a future post.
As even Rand Paul pointed out recently, the insurance industry does not need help. Health insurance companies are making record profits and their CEO’s are taking home huge paychecks. This, our inefficient healthcare system, and high pharmaceutical costs are the main reasons that we pay some much for healthcare here. Contrary to what our president and some leaders in Congress say, the ACA is not in a death spiral and the proposed replacement for it is a major step in the wrong direction.
Even though health insurance for $1 a day is somewhat unrealistic, based on the proven example of other countries we should not have to pay much more than $10 per day for healthcare compared to the over $20 per day that we pay now. This is the healthcare model we should be pursuing and all we have to do is pick the best one to copy.
It is a shame that due to the extremist ideologies of many of our representatives and government officials in Washington, the facts get distorted or completely ignored resulting in bad decisions and the American people are again stuck with an inferior, expensive healthcare system compared to what every other developed western country has.
The goal of these posts is to provide the fact-based story behind issues that we are facing in this country. We can no longer allow ideology to make decisions for us and hold back progress when the issues that we have are so easy to solve.