We recently saw the film “Joker,” though we were initially reticent to do so.
The pre-debut buzz was that it was a film that will inspire faux victimization — another white man, believing he has been treated unjustly, resorts to “justifiable” violence — similar to what we’ve been hearing from virtually all of the white national terrorists who have been committing mass shootings of late.
We’re glad we gave in and saw the film because it’s not about that at all — it’s a film about the failing of the American industrial health complex. The main character, already suffering mental illness, sees his support system pulled out from under him due to cuts in heath-care funding and, without his prescribed medications, goes even further into insanity.
It’s not a great film — the lead actor’s performance will probably net him an Oscar, but the script is actually fairly predictable — but it is timely.
That’s because Elizabeth Warren, after being badgered to explain how her Medicare for All plan could be implemented without tax increases on the poor and middle class, and refusing to offer that explanation, finally rolled out her plan.
Yes, she raises taxes in her plan, but only on “the wealthy.” No, that won’t pay the $52 trillion her plan is estimated to cost over 10 years.
Warren’s plan makes a number of big assumptions, such as that prescription drug prices will be substantially lower. Also that doctors contracted to hospitals will be happy accepting significantly less in payment than those in private practice.
In other words, Medicare for All sounds great but isn’t realistic. Insurance companies are willing to spend billions to convince the American public that paying too much for insurance that doesn’t cover everything (including pre-existing conditions) and can be dropped the moment a serious diagnosis is made is a good thing. And (based on Arizonans’ response to renewable energy initiatives) we’d guess the insurance companies will succeed.
The pharmaceutical giants will also toss a couple of billion into the campaign because there’s no way they will give up those obscene profits without a fight, either.
We do have a health-care crisis in this nation. Medical expenses remain the number one reason why bankruptcies are filed, which means we’re well past time for health-care reform.
We assume that reform will come in the form of some type of nationalized health service, similar to Canada or the United Kingdom. However, we don’t think it will happen in one fell swoop as Warren and her fellow presidential contender Bernie Sanders want.
We need to begin serious talks about containing health-care costs for the average person while ensuring all have basic coverage, coming up with a measured, common-sense approach to rolling out such a plan to ensure the economy is not put into peril.
And the plan needs to be initiated by Congress, signed into law by the president and survive a legal challenge in the courts.
A president enacting policy by fiat — such as what Warren and Sanders want — just means it will be reversed by the next administration, and the average person will continue to either have no health coverage or health coverage that’s too expensive to use.