Our healthcare system is a mess of expensive treatments, expensive visits, ridiculous billing practices and a tangle of red tape, yet Republicans keep saying that the best way to fix it is to keep it. Let the free market do its thing and all that. Big business seems to support this, too, although why is anybody’s guess. There is one CEO, however, who is trying to raise his voice above the conservative talking heads in favor of a single-payer system.
Richard Master, the CEO of MCS Industries, Inc., the nation’s biggest wall and poster frame manufacturer, can’t understand why more of Corporate America doesn’t support single payer healthcare. He’s so confused by it that he produced a short film in which he talks to conservative business leaders in Canada. What he found is that they’re likewise baffled by America’s reticence to switch to a non-profit, single payer system. For Master, it’s a no-brainer from a profit perspective. Single-payer would improve his bottom line.
It never ceases to amaze us that conservatives insist on doing things against their own interests. Yes, a single-payer system would result in higher taxes for everyone – businesses and individuals alike. Those taxes would likely be more than offset by the elimination of costly health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, though. To listen to Republicans, however, all taxes are theft, and the free market (which actually enslaves us) is freedom. The only people free under our current system are the ones who profit from it, but Republicans want us to believe that all government is always evil.
Many big businesses operate in many countries with national systems, and they’re plenty profitable. One business leader in Canada told Master he prefers — even embraces — Canada’s system because it reduces his costs overall. Michael Grimaldi, former CEO of General Motors of Canada, said that Canada’s system significantly reduces the labor costs of all the automakers (and we hear the anti-union morons scream that unions make labor costs too high all the time).
Just 50 members of Congress have signed onto H.R. 676, or The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the measure in February, and a physicians’ group, made up of 19,000 physicians, believes that the bill would vastly improve how healthcare is delivered in this country. Dr. Robert Zarr, the president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said:
Such a plan would save over $400 billion a year currently wasted on private-insurance-related bureaucracy, paperwork and marketing. That’s enough money to provide first-dollar coverage for everyone in the country – without increasing U.S. health spending by a single penny.
Such a program would also have the financial clout to negotiate with drug and medical equipment suppliers for lower prices, and would further save money through lump-sum budgeting for hospitals.
He also pointed out that two-thirds of the American public supports a single-payer system. Congress just won’t do anything about it, probably in part because more of Corporate America than just the insurance industry fights it.
What Republicans do with the idea of single-payer is try to scare us. They warn us that the government can’t even get driver’s licenses right, so we can’t trust them between our doctors and us (we already can’t trust our employers or insurers between our doctors and us, and make no mistake, they are between our doctors and us). They tell us it would mean higher taxes, which it would, but they make it sound like the government would take 90 percent of everyone’s paychecks and/or profit just to pay for the system.
This is what the GOP does: They instill fea. Unfortunately, for those who don’t seem to know how to educate themselves, it works.
Master’s case is that U.S. healthcare spending is 18 percent of our GDP right now. That’s a ridiculous proportion, and Republicans don’t care one whit because they don’t care about us. The average cost in the rest of the industrialized world is below ten percent of GDP (and they either laugh at us or scratch their heads in utter bafflement at us). It’s seriously time for Congress to stand up to the insurance lobby, and actually do something that will benefit virtually everyone. That we didn’t do this long ago is just plain idiotic.