It’s time for Single Payer Health Care. Obamacare has had some great moments. Many people who could never afford insurance now have it. People with preexisting conditions, once excluded from health insurance to assist them with their health expenses, now have coverage.
Obamacare has also been hard on some people in the middle class. You do not have to be in the upper middle class to be faced with these hardships. Retired couples are being faced with huge yearly fees for their health care and high deductibles and high copays.
Someone on my Facebook feed, someone who worked all her life, with a husband who worked all his life said that they have to pay $6000/ year and that this does not cover office visits and tests. This couple is not poor, but neither are they wealthy. Whatever they have was earned through hard work and smart financial management. So they have a house, not a McMansion, they have a camp, not exactly a Hamptons Beach house, and they have a small boat. They have grandchildren and a dog and they live modestly, not flamboyantly. This is just one story but I have heard it over and over again from family and friends.
Obama dealt fairly with the insurance companies as far as I can determine. He did not go for Single Payer Insurance. He got the health insurance companies to accept some compromises and he designed a plan that featured a private/public partnership. But insurance providers like Aetna and United Healthcare are no longer happy with the compromises they negotiated and they are backing out of the deal. They say that their stockholders are not pleased, or their profits are too low, or even that they are losing money. If the insurance companies back out Obamacare is basically dead it seems to me.
America accrued some important benefits from Obamacare that are not health related. Lots of people who work for private health insurance providers kept their jobs and I do mean lots of people. If the insurance companies vacate the deal that allows Obamacare to function then Obamacare will eventually go away and lots of Republicans will open champagne.
But there will be a backlash. All of those who were once uninsured and who have had pretty good insurance for a while will not, I think, quietly accept having it snatched away. Although the insurance companies may believe they can go back to their old ways of doing business I do not think that will fly. What other option will we have to try except a Single Payer Health Care Plan for which there is already a considerable drum beat? People who are paying giant fees for their insurance may be quite willing to pay higher taxes to allow the federal government to back such a plan, perhaps modeled on that in England or in Canada.
Single payer may also be the only plan that will offer enough public leverage against the pharmaceutical companies to bring down the prices of the meds we use. And a single payer program will offer lots of jobs. Those who lose their jobs with private health insurers (and there will be many) will be most prepared to take the new jobs, although they might have to accept lower wages. Doctors, health professionals and hospitals, clinics, etc., already living with the lower wages offered through Medicare will find that their wages will be lower across the board. That could make for some pretty unhappy health care providers. Will they move to China? Probably not. Will the quality of our health care go down? That is a possibility. Some single payer systems seem to involve longer wait times.
There is plenty for both the insurance providers and the insured to think about here. A for profit health model seems unsuited to maintaining health or treating those whose health is challenged because the model is too focused on profits to do tasks that are basically humanitarian in nature at affordable rates. And yet the people who are somewhat overburdened right now in terms of paying more for health care than they should have to pay may not be willing both to pay higher taxes and get less quality through a Single Payer Health Care system.