Why We Don't Need Single-Payer Healthcare

Why We Don't Need Single-Payer Healthcare

The public option is a better policy to achieve universal healthcare than "Medicare for All."

123
views

It was at a Japanese restaurant at a hotel in Mexico where I changed my stance on single-payer healthcare. Since the 2016 election, I had been a big fan of Bernie Sanders and accordingly a supporter of his campaign, "Medicare for All." I thought single-payer would be an improvement from the current state of affairs.

But at the aforementioned restaurant, I started talking to my dad about healthcare policy and he laid out several objections to single payer, mentioning the failure of the VA system and the lack of incentives for efficiency that would result from a lack of competition. My sister, who wants to be a doctor, also pointed out that in single-payer systems, governments ration care, so the U.S. government would be able to limit how often my sister could see a doctor for her asthma, for example.

I realized at that moment that I had failed to really consider the negative consequences that a single payer system would have. After much deliberation, I concluded that the costs of single payer would outweigh the benefits. In all honesty, a public healthcare system may be a better policy.

In terms of political ideology, I am a liberal and a progressive. As a liberal, I wholeheartedly support government programs to help the poor and needy, but the idea of the government controlling the healthcare system and making people's healthcare decisions for them makes me deeply uncomfortable.

"Medicare for All" would be a drastic restructuring of the entire healthcare system which would reduce personal liberty and choice. Under the "Medicare for All" bills proposed in the Senate and the House, private insurance would be completely eliminated and so would the employer-based system we currently have.

The 30 million Americans who are currently uninsured would have health insurance, and there would be universal coverage; this is great. However, the majority of Americans (about 70%) would be forced to give up their current insurance for Medicare. And most Americans are happy with their insurance plan.

So while helping the uninsured, "Medicare for All" would take the tens of millions of Americans who get health insurance through their employer or via Medicare Advantage, completely off the health insurance plans they prefer. This would consequently be forcing government health insurance down their throats.

This flagrantly violates personal liberty. And while a democratic socialist may be fine with sacrificing personal liberty for the sake of big government, I am not.

An alternative policy, the public option, would allow the uninsured to have access to government insurance without disturbing the millions of Americans who have health insurance and like the plan they have. The public option, supported by Obama and initially included in Obamacare but killed by Sen. Joe Lieberman, was a good idea in 2009 and it's still a good idea a decade later. A public option would address many of the problems with our current system, provide several of the benefits of Medicare for All without the tremendous costs, and avoid the issues that have plagued single-payer systems.

I love Bernie, but his "Medicare for All" plan is deeply flawed. It's not just ambitious or idealistic; it's unrealistic and risky. It would be incredibly expensive and require massive tax increases, not just for the wealthy, but also for the middle class. Bernie's own home state of Vermont had to give up single-payer because such a policy would have a required a doubling of tax revenue.

No Democratic presidential nominee in recent decades has campaigned on raising middle-class taxes, so advocacy for this policy could be politically toxic for Democrats. While polls show that a majority of the American people support "Medicare for All", about half of Americans also believe that under Medicare for All, they could keep their current health plan— which is just plain wrong. In reality, we couldn't even guarantee that they would be able to keep their physician.

A public option, through either Medicare buy-in or a new program, would be "Medicare for Most", giving Americans a public health insurance plan alternative to private insurance plans. It would be easier to implement that Medicare for All and would increase competition and lower prices while expanding access to health insurance for millions of Americans.

Conservatives object to government intervention in health care because they want a "free market", but the health care market isn't free- it's a monopoly. In 2009 in my home state of Arkansas, the insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield controlled 75% of the market. And unfortunately, under Obamacare, market consolidation has gotten worse, limiting choices for patients and making health care more expensive. A public option would break this monopoly, injecting some healthy competition.

Those on the public health insurance plan would still have to pay premiums, depending on their income. But these premiums would undoubtedly be lower because of lower administrative costs, the government's ability to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals and the fact that the government, unlike private insurance, wouldn't be trying to make a profit.

Additionally, because people would be paying for care through premiums, there wouldn't need to be significant tax increases to pay for a public option. Even a new health program would likely combine Obamacare and Medicaid, redirecting existing federal funds. So the public option would be far cheaper than Medicare for All.

Democratic socialists argue that those who support a public option are neoliberal shrills, in the pockets of the health insurance industry. And while it is disturbing how many politicians in the Democratic establishment have taken money from health insurance companies, the view that the public option elevates the interests of health insurance companies over consumers is mistaken-quite the opposite in fact.

My stance on healthcare isn't just my own view- it is also the official stance of the Democratic Party. The policy of adding a public option to Obamacare was included as part of the 2016 Democratic Party Platform as a compromise, to appease both the Clinton camp and the Bernie camp and indeed it is a good policy for a big tent center-left party like the Democratic Party, whose membership includes centrists, democratic socialists, and everyone in between.

There's rhetoric from groups like the Justice Democrats that suggests that if you don't support Medicare for All, you aren't a true progressive- which I take issue with. As progressives, we believe that health care is a right and accordingly the government has a responsibility to ensure that all Americans have access to health care. But we can have reasonable disagreements about which policies would be the best to advance our goal of universal health care- and we should have a rigorous debate about this.

When it comes to health care policy, we don't need radical change (unlike in climate policy, where a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary to avert climate catastrophe). In health care, we need reform, not revolution. The American health care system is broken- but that doesn't mean we should burn it all down and try to build something new from the ashes; instead we should use the tools at our disposal to fix some flaws and add some new elements to make progress towards our goal of all Americans having access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Medicare for Those Who Need And/Or Want It. I concede it's not quite as catchy as Medicare for All. But it is, I believe, the right policy.

Popular Right Now

As A Victim Of Sexual Abuse, Painting '#MeToo' On A WWII Statue Is Taking The Movement TOO Far

There is a line you should never cross and that is it.

1523
views

The famous picture of the sailor kissing a woman was taken right on V-J Day, when Japan surrendered to the U.S. in World War II. For decades it was seen as a representation of how excited and relieved everyone was at the end of the war.

The picture touched the hearts of thousands as you could feel the overwhelming amounts of joy that came from the snap of the camera. While the woman in the picture died back in 2016 due to a struggle with pneumonia, the sailor just recently died on Feb. 17, 2019 at the age of 95.

Most people saw it as both a heartbreak and heartwarming that the couple that was once photographed were now together.

Other people saw differently.

There is a statue made of the picture that resides in Sarasota, Florida. Police found early Tuesday morning of Feb. 19, two days after the sailor's death, that someone had spray-painted #MeToo on the statue's leg in bright red.

As a woman, I strongly encourage those who have been sexually assaulted/abused in any way shape or form, to voice themselves in the best way they can. To have the opportunity to voice what they went through without being afraid. As a woman who has also been a victim of sexual assault and has been quiet for many years...

This act of vandalism makes me sick.

While the woman that was kissed by the sailor was purely kissed on impulse, she had stated in an interview with 'The New York Times' that, "It wasn't a romantic event. It was just an event of 'thank God the war is over.'"

People were celebrating and, as a sailor, that man was so over the moon about the war being over that he found the nearest woman to celebrate with.

While I don't condone that situation, I understand both the reason behind it as well as the meaning behind the photo. I understand that, while it wasn't an intended kiss, it was a way of showcasing relief. To stick #MeToo on a statue of a representation of freedom is not the right way to bring awareness of sexual abuse.

It gives those the wrong idea of why the #MeToo movement was started. It started as a way for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories. To share with the world that they are not alone.

It helped me realize I wasn't alone.

But the movement, soon after it started, became a fad that turned wrong. People were using it in the wrong context and started using it negatively instead of as an outlet for women and men to share their horrific experiences of sexual assault.

That statue has been up for years. To wait until the sailor passed away was not only rude but entirely disrespectful. The family of that sailor is currently in mourning. On top of it, it's taking away from the meaning behind the photo/statue. World War II was one of the darkest, scariest events in — not just our American history — but the world's as well.

Sexual abuse is a touchy matter, I encourage everyone to stand up for what's right. But to vandalize a statue of one of the most relieving days in America's history is an act that was unnecessary and doesn't get the point of #MeToo across in the way it should. If anything, it's giving people a reason not to listen. To protest and bring attention to something, you want to gather the right attention.

This was not gathering the right attention.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I'm An Education Major Because I Know Firsthand That Teachers Can Make All The Difference In The World

"You're my teacher, but I need you to be so much more than that."

cpabel
cpabel
44
views

This is my third semester student teaching in an elementary school classroom.

It has been an absolute honor and joy to work with elementary age students. They are so full of excitement, energy, curiosity, and ambition. It's such a breath of fresh air to be around these children and help them learn, grow, and develop into who they will eventually become one day. Going into this experience, I knew that I was going to be making a difference.... but I didn't know how much of an impact I would make on some of my students.

Growing up, I was very fortunate, loved, and cared for. I never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from or when I would see my parents again.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality that a lot of my students live in. They live in my nightmare.

There have been several times that I have arrived to my school to see a child crying, absent from school, or secluding themselves. My first semester student teaching, I didn't think much of this. It's not abnormal for children to cry over spilled milk or to seclude themselves from their friends because they've had a fight.

These inferences were far from the truth. These children are living a life that I could not even begin to understand.

At the beginning of this semester, I had a student say to me: "You're my teacher, but I need you to be so much more than that." When this student said this to me, I said yes of course and that I'll do everything to help her. Little did I know, there was so much I didn't understand in that one sentence. After a few weeks, I learned that this little girl was being raised by her elderly grandmother because her father had committed suicide and her mother was so high on drugs that she couldn't even take care of herself and was in and out of jail.

Wow. No child deserves to start their life off this way or live this way. What can I do? How can I help? How can I make a difference?

Being a teacher is so much more than just teaching students how to add/subtract, read, or complete a science project. You're teaching children to someday become young, knowledgable, and responsible adults. But how can we do this if they don't even have responsible adult figures in their life at home? It's so important to be more than just this child's teacher. If you gain their respect and trust, you can make all the difference in their life.

This student and I had created a bond. For some reason unknown to me, she gravitated towards me as soon as I stepped in the classroom. The first few weeks we made small talk, but in recent weeks, she has told me that she feels alone. She feels unloved. She feels responsible for her dad's death and her mom's pain.

Talk about having your heart ripped out of your chest.

I hid my tears. I didn't dare cry in front of her. I stayed strong. I want to be a rock in her life. I want to remain stable and help her through her pain. I want to make school an enjoyable and safe environment for her. I want to see her succeed. I want to see her make meaningful and great friends. I want to see her blossom and overcome the struggles that she has endured in her short ten years of life. Being a teacher is such a wonderful experience, but it definitely is trying and hard. When you see a child, treat them like the beautiful souls that they are. You may not have a single clue in this world what they're going through at home.

They may be stronger and more mature than you are as an adult. Be kind. Love one another. Make a difference.


cpabel
cpabel

Related Content

Facebook Comments