We’re hearing a lot of talk about having a Single Payer Healthcare plan. Bernie Sanders is the lead proponent of this with his Medicare for All plan. This is not Medicare, as we know it today, but is a total Single Payer plan, like what Canada and Great Britain have.

There would be no insurance industry involvement in Sanders plan, it would be totally funded by the government, just like the Canadian and British plans. Many of the Democratic Presidential candidates are promoting Sanders Medicare for All plan as part of their respective platforms. Other DEM candidates are taking a more moderate approach. These folks may be on to something.

The ACA [Obamacare] is expensive, for two reasons: First the insurance industry is part of it, so being For Profit companies, we pay more for our healthcare so that they can make huge profits to keep their stockholders happy and pay their CEO’s gigantic salaries.

The second reason the ACA is expensive, is it requires all insurances to provide a bunch of FREE stuff, with no co-pay. I can guarantee you it isn’t the insurance industry or your employer paying for that free stuff. It is YOU. That’s why Premiums and Deductibles have skyrocketed since the ACA opened for business.

Then to add insult to injury, the “Brain Trust” in Congress, made part of the law so that the government could not negotiate with the drug companies, meaning the US pays more for the same medicines than any other nation on the planet.

How do we fix this? First thing is to allow the government to negotiate with the drug companies so that we’re not paying more for our medications than Canada or Europe. One reason, we pay more, as mentioned by the drug companies, is R&D costs. Two points, Insulin has been a well-known drug for many decades, yet the price of it has gone up, in recent years, over 1000%. There are no R&D costs with Insulin. Second point.

For the newer drugs where there is R&D costs, why aren’t the other First World nations paying their fair share of R&D instead of only the US? This is the first thing that should be done, and done now! This should be a Bi-Partisan issue. So, both houses of Congress do your job and give the President a bill to sign into law.

Implementing Medicare for All, will be very expensive. The cost will be in the Trillions of dollars. The DEMS imply that only the wealthy would get hammered by a tax increase. I cannot remember anytime, as an adult taxpayer, I’m 68, when taxes went up only on the wealthy. It always went up on the middle class as well. So, I don’t believe the Democrats when they say that only the wealthy will pay more in taxes. History says that claim is a bunch of malarkey.

Bernie says you’ll save money, because your Premiums and Deductibles will be eliminated. What Sanders and the DEMS are not doing is putting real numbers with those statements. Depending on your insurance plan, the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays may not be as high as someone else’s.

We all need to see, in writing, how much the middle class would actually pay in income tax before any of us should seriously consider Bernie’s Medicare for All plan. Then you can compare and decide for yourself if you and your family would save money or pay a lot more under Bernie’s plan. Then you can make an informed decision and tell your folks in Congress yea or nay.

Another argument made is Canada’s taxes aren’t that much higher than ours, so it wouldn’t be all that bad. One major point they are not telling you, is about 50 percent, of our national budget goes to the military, as we are the World’s Police. Canada spends next to nothing on their military. So, even if we adopted the same Canadian plan, our taxes would end up being far higher than Canada’s, because of our military budget.

I’m not suggesting we get rid of our military, but the fact remains that cost of any sort of Single Payer plan would be added on top of our military spending. So, instead of our taxes going from the current 12-15 percent, for most Americans, and 33 percent for the wealthy, it would be more like Denmark’s taxes, where someone making $50K per year pays 60 percent of their income in taxes.

So, the bottom line is: Are you willing to pay more taxes, and not just a slight increase, but from 15 percent to 60 percent, and 70 percent, if you are wealthy? This is where the rubber meets the road.

Maybe a better plan, that is way less expensive, would be to open our current Medicare system to those aged 55-plus. That way, the older folks, who are not retired, but are starting to be more costly in medical care, would no longer be on their employer’s plan, but would go on Medicare at age 55 instead of age 65, as it is now.

This would save the employers, and insurance companies tons of money in their healthcare plans. Also, they need to eliminate the free stuff from all insurance plans. Everyone, other than the poor who are on Medicaid, should be able to pay a co-pay for their meds, once the government has worked out a fair price plan with Big Pharma. In my version of this law, both employers and the insurance companies would be required, by law, to lower the premiums and deductibles to the people insured, the amount of money saved.

These savings wouldn’t be a windfall for the insurance industry or employers, but a windfall for the American public. I believe this is a far better solution than Sanders Medicare for All, and one that our divided Congress should be able to support and send, as a passed bill, to the President to sign into law.

Mike Cannatelli’s column appears every other week in the print addition of the Avon Grove Sun and the Kennett News.
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