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The Real Choices in American Healthcare

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/02/17/real-choices-american-healthcare

A note of thanks for sharing. I’m grateful that you are in medical school and working to make a difference in health care in this country.


The US is so far behind the rest of the industrialized world that even if Sanders was elected and 100% successful in enacting ALL of his policies, it would take years to catch up with the rest of the world.

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After LBJ had to limit Medicare to those age 65 plus in order to get GOP Congresscritters and Dixicrats to support Americans age 65 and older getting Medicare, as he was signing it into law in 1965 LBJ admonished Congress to expand Medicare incrementally to eventually cover all Americans.

Unfortunately Congress has been going the opposite direction for 55 years, reducing coverage and making it more expensive for beneficiaries.

Sanders is simply calling for a rewind to the era when Medicare-for-all was a centrist proposal, when the center was far to the left of where it is today.

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I am not too terribly downtrodden, though past this due diligence, I don’t suppose the details much change the anecdote.

I have so far worked for fifty years. I have been without health care for forty-five. I raised sort of a family and a half during that time, my own and some in-laws. I had a couple car accidents and an apparently temporary coronary episode brought on by exhaustion when I took too much work one semester, but for the most part, I have been OK, and I have paid less out of pocket than I would have had I purchased insurance.

It is time, more or less, to sign up for Medicare. The government and companies mostly pretending to be the government send me messages to the effect that I am to decide what sorts of extras I am to purchase. I do not intend to make anyone else’s decisions, and I am not overwhelmingly surprised, but frankly, I am offended. Surely the government has chosen to withhold certain services so that pirate companies can overcharge other people like myself for others. I will not reach into my neighbors’ pockets to chip in for any “extra.”

I worked for an insurance company in Boston once. I worked in a department designed to avoid paying out claims. The department did not determine which claims would be fairly or unfairly paid, nor which claims were or were not needful. It worked out which claims the company could profitably escape paying. That is probably an inevitable feature for a private insurance company run for profit, and that is probably why no private health insurance or life insurance company run for profit should exist.

My father died a few years back. He had paid health insurance for at least thirty years prior, and I think about forty. When he was dying, they put him in a big building with landscaping and stuck some tubes in him here and there. The medical people were polite and, as nearly as I could tell, quite competent. And the insurance paid his bills without battle, whereas I am sure that I would have been kicked to a curb in similar circumstances.

But throughout the two weeks that we were in the hospital, doctors, nurses, and staff spoke almost solely to me, at least with anything of intelligence. They humored my father as though he were a child. I wondered why. He had some confusion, but nothing exceptional. Eventually it dawned on me that they did not talk to him because it was obvious that he would not be around to sue them: he was going to die. Me, I might sue them for malpractice or wrongful death or whatever else I might dream up with the aid of some lawyer. So they were very polite to me.

The one thing that helped him, at the end, was morphine. And it helped him quite a bit. Of course, morphine is a product of a flower that can be or could be grown in the hills all about here. In a different social circumstance, someone could have gathered a bit of sap from a few flowers in his garden to take care of most of what the hospital and the decades of insurance eventually accomplished, even though in his case the company and the doctors and everyone performed to task, and with admirable good humor.

People who extort the hours and the days of your life will not pay in kind once you have lost power. If you do not attend to whom you love and to what you love, you lose those and gain something very close to nothing.


Mr. Anand:
I’m an academic hematologist in Southern Ohio. Your family’s story is a classical example of the fact that half of bankruptcies in this country are due to catastrophic illnesses. Every industrial nation provides health care for all its citizens
Our profit driven system is unsustainable
30 years ago when Hillary Clinton tried to fix the system, there were 34 million uninsured
In 2009 , before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, there were 48 million uninsured
Even with the A.C.A. there are 28 million.
In Ohio, there are 6 million uninsured.
There’s a problem with Medicare for All nationally; namely, it must first be enacted in at least one state.
In 1930s Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandeis said that the states are the laboratories of democracy
The Single Payer Action Network of Ohio was formed 18 years ago to obtain a publicly funded health care system in this state
The Ohio Health Care Security Act is before the Ohio House of Representatives as H.B.292.
We hope to get it on the ballot in 2022 and believe that we can raise enough money to fend off the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Ohio now spends $140 billion for health care
We would seek wavers from Health and Human Services to transfer $75 billion that the federal government now spends in Ohio—Medicare, Medicaid, veterans and some others-- into the Ohio Health Care Fund.
There would be about $38 billion in savings, primarily from wasted bureaucracy and insurance company profits
Everyone would have comprehensive care, including prescription drugs
There would no longer be commercial insurance in Ohio, no premiums co-pays and deductibles; everybody would be in, no one would be left out.
The total cost will be $110 billion
Ohio would still need to raise $40 billion; Whatever costs people and businesses incur, they will be less than the premiums, co-pays and deductibles that they now pay. Check out single payer health care OHIO.


Thank you, bardamu, for sharing your compassionate observations of the US health care system, esp’ly through your father’s passing. The US health care system is broken because profits continue to be put ahead of people in the US by those same health insurance co. overlord millionaires and billionaires who–in order to maintain and increase their “profits”–are going way past lobbying and breaking the US government itself with their overloaded payloads.


Mr. Anand’s story should be mandatory reading for Nancy Pelosi and every one of the DNC leaders.
According to most of the pundits I’ve read lately they are whining that M4A is way too expensive for the US bring in.
Seems really strange that the rest of the civilized world has managed to do just that with minuscule budgets compared to the US. My god it might even take up to 2 % of the US endless war budget.
No, the real problem is that it might reduce the population of multi-digit billionaires and their poor multi-digit millionaire lackeys.

It is nearing the time for the DNC to wake up and recognize that they do not have a hope in hell of taking Trump out they way they are heading. Does not matter whether it’s Buttigeig, Biden or Bloomberg! Trump will win and the country will lose.

The only hope is Bernie Sanders with the full support of DNC behind him AND Medicare for All.
Trump’s people are for the most part working people with families to care for.
If the DNC can finally get it’s shit together and offer them Bernie and M4A they will leave Trump where he belongs at the bottom of the swamp.

The next step, two years away, thanks to Bernie, M4A a re-born Democratic party will take the Senate and McConnell will be eating swamp shit with Trump.

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