Better health care that costs less

To the editor,

Debate moderators and rival candidates constantly try to lure Democratic president hopeful Elizabeth Warren into a political trap, pushing her to say she’ll raise taxes to pay for universal health care. Thirty seconds isn’t enough time for a cogent response.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently estimated that families making $100,000 annually spend 13 percent of their income on health care. That’s on top of what their employers contribute on their behalf. For some large companies, about 20 percent of payroll costs goes toward financing employee health plans.

The fear mongering comment that Medicare for All (MFA) means “higher taxes for middle-income families” ignores that payment for health care premiums, co-pays and deductibles isn’t already coming out of American families’ pockets. Under Obamacare, the poor pay a larger share of their income for health care than the affluent.

Bernie Sanders’ M4A bill outlines only one potential funding source that may affect middle-income house-holds: A 4 percent tax on families (exempting the first $29,000 of income).

The other funding sources affect only those making greater than $250,000 and million dollar-plus businesses. These proposed M4A payroll taxes are designed to exempt small businesses and low-income workers, while leaning more heavily on the high end of the pay scale. None of this would increase the burden on low-or middle-income earners.

Workers would “replace” their under-valued employer-based health insurance with improved, comprehensive coverage for everyone. Current Medicare recipients would see a simplified system with improved coverage. No denying claims, no surprise medical bills, no medically related bankruptcies, no exclusion for pre-existing conditions and no profits diverted to the top 1 percent.

Taxpayers currently foot the bill for nearly two-thirds of America’s health-care spending including Medicare, Medicaid, veteran care and corporate subsidies, plus coverage for congressional members and families, with tax-payers covering 72 percent of lawmakers’ premiums.

Economists across the political spectrum estimate that total health-care spending under an efficient single-payer, universal Medicare system would cost $39 trillion over the next decade.

Our current spending under the ACA is projected to be $45 trillion over the next decade. Apples to apples, a savings of about $6 trillion over the next decade using M4A.

Of course, every bill goes through a rigorous overhaul before being enacted into law. Which is why we must elect officials who are truly committed to the welfare of their constituents instead of wealthy special interest groups.

Fifty years after we put men on the moon, we clearly should be able to create a workable universal health-care system. All the globe’s other major countries have done it, and 10 countries have healthier outcomes than the U.S. A universal health-care system can contribute to social solidarity and national pride. Something that is sorely absent today in America. Doesn’t it make sense to pay less for better care?

– Jan Phillips, Healthcare Durango