We’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of ads against health care for all, with the overwhelming majority of the ads online and via social media.
Asking if we can afford some type of universal health care program is a legitimate question to ask and, with the exception of Andrew Yang, we’ve not heard any of the proponents of health care for all come up with any type of legitimate payment plan.
For the record, we think Yang’s plan is far too optimistic in revenue projection to really be considered viable, but at least he put pen to paper and came up with something.
The group One Nation has bankrolled the first round of anti-health care for all ads, to the tune of about $4 million, but that number is expected to go well beyond that by the time November 2020 rolls around.
Where did One Nation get that kind of money? Who is supporting One Nation? Those are great questions that, according to the Supreme Court, you have no right to have answered. One Nation is a dark money group, which means it is not required to release a list of donors.
We can guess that most of the money is coming from the usual suspects — insurance and pharmaceutical corporations that record prices while pricing their products higher and higher so the average person has to go into debt when getting the sniffles — but we have no way to find out for sure.
What we do know is that health care is a big concern for the average person — a recent poll by Public Policy Polling showed that 84 respondents said health care is a top or important priority — and we need to do something about the current state of health care in this country.
A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that prescription drug costs remained virtually flat from 1960 to 1985, and then started a meteoric rise. Adjusted for inflation, costs have gone from an average of $90 in 1960 to $1,025 in 2017, an increase of 1,139 percent.
Health insurance is equally pricey. A review by TheStreet.com showed that the average monthly payment for a health insurance plan for a 45-year-old is $285, while it’s $446 for a 53-year-old.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that Americans spent an average of $10,000 for health care in 2016, increasing to $18,764 in 2017. In 2011, a pair of researchers — Tal Gross and Matthew Notowidigbo — found that 26 percent of all bankruptcies filed in the United States were the result of unpaid medical bills, while NerdWallet Health used a 2009 Harvard study to determine that 57.1 percent of bankruptcies are medical bill-related.
Assuming the true number is somewhere in between, that’s still too many bankruptcies for a wealthy nation with a health insurance industry that recorded a combined $7 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2018, to bring the year’s total profit to $25.8 billion.
That’s right, $25.8 billion in profit, but it’s too expensive to cover your pre-existing condition.
That’s why a number of presidential candidates are touting some form of universal health care or Medicare for all — we’re now literally paying the price for 30 years of allowing corporations to do what they want, unregulated and unchecked.
Health care, more than Trump, drove voters to the polls in 2018. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement in place, unregulated insurance and pharmaceutical companies price-gouging consumers and the possibility of layoffs from an economic downturn suggest to us that health care will also be the primary issue voters want addressed in 2020.
Which means even more dark money from insurance you can’t afford and pharmaceuticals you can’t afford telling you that you can’t afford health care for all.
Somebody had better come up with a real plan to pay for this, really soon because all of the above has us feeling quite ill.