I just got off the phone with a unicorn progressive who was telling me I was full of shit because I insisted that we can have universal healthcare, like most of the rest of the developed world. She insisted that we can’t; that there will always be naysayers who will put their hands up to stop “Medicare for all” from happening.
Of course, I had to correct her. The goal is NOT “Medicare for all,” but universal health insurance. “Medicare for All” is simply one way to do it; it’s by no means the only way. In fact, if you look closely, the overwhelming majority of nations who guarantee healthcare as a right do NOT have a single-payer system. And of the two countries that do – Canada and Great Britain – have been encouraging the purchase of private insurance policies to lessen their risk and cut costs.
In other words, once again, the people who chant “Medicare For All” as a mantra haven’t actually thought things through very well, and those who think the adoption of Medicare for All will eliminate the need for private insurance haven’t considered anything relevant at all. It’s clear they don’t know how Medicare works, since they don’t seem to realize that the elderly couldn’t afford Medicare without the assistance of private insurance companies. They also can’t conceive of private insurance as non-profit, even though all health insurers were non-profit until the GOP started messing with the system and made the Affordable Care Act necessary, in order to prevent an implosion of the entire system.
We have the ability to change things; it will just require us to vote en masse and make sure the current version of the Republican Party stays out of power. And we have to put aside preconceptions. The insurance companies’ profits are not the problem; since the ACA was passed, their profits were severely limited, anyway. And as long as they cover everything and save you money when you need healthcare, who cares if they make a reasonable profit? Under the ACA, at least before the Trumpers started to dismantle it, insurance companies had to spend 85-90% of premiums on health care; it’s not necessary to kill all private insurance companies to get costs under control. In fact, it’s private insurance that keeps costs to patients under control now.
Our goal should be to make sure that everyone who needs health care gets it at a cost they can afford to pay. Every health procedure should be paid for in full. That means a mix of private and public insurance and cost controls to keep providers solvent, but accessible. In most countries, that does not mean ditching private insurance and forcing everyone onto a government-run healthcare system. It does not mean adopting socialized medicine.
In Germany, which is recognized as one of the best and most productive healthcare systems in the world, it meant strong regulation of private insurance, to make them cost-conscious and efficient. In a democratic capitalist society, you’re supposed to give people more choices, not force them into the choice you think is best. Therefore, when I hear so-called “progressives” talking about forcing us all into single-player health insurance, I think they must be closeted Republicans.
Now, we may get to “Medicare for All” at some point in the future, but we have to do it as naturally as possible. If it’s the right thing for us, we will evolve into such aa system. However, when you try to force the issue by taking away choice and making people “choose” the only option available, you’re not serving the people, you’re serving yourself.
We all need to put away our egos, vote hard in every election, to eliminate as many Republicans from all levels of government. We do that, and we can have universal healthcare. Once we have universal care, then we can work on tweaking it to reduce the costs of healthcare provision. But we can’t do it all in one fell swoop, by pushing everyone into a system that YOU think is best. We should emulate the best healthcare systems in the world, not the cheapest, anyway, right?