In Rep. Debbie Lesko’s June 19 article, she stated “Medicare for All strips away health care freedom.” However, just the opposite is true. Everyone benefits: seniors on Medicare, those with employer-based insurance, those with pre-existing conditions, young, old, and those in-between. Everyone!
Under a well-researched and fiscally sound universal health care bill introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal and 112 cosponsors, HR1384, “The Medicare for All Act of 2019,” our present Medicare system would be expanded and improved and cover all Americans. It includes primary and emergency care, dental, prescription drugs, vision, hearing, mental health, addiction treatment, long-term care, both home-based and institutionally and more. It eliminates premiums, co-pays, deductibles and the need for supplemental insurance. And it will be implemented within a two-year time span with no one losing any benefits during that period, only gaining.
Sound too good to be true? It isn’t, and here is the “rest of the story.”
Rep. Lesko is concerned about illegal immigrants receiving health care at the expense of taxpayers. She said she asked this question of the House Rules Committee hearing in April and they said “yes” they would receive health care, but it was a partial yes, and what she didn’t tell us is that it would not be at the expense of the taxpayers. Quite the opposite. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants actually contribute significantly to state and local taxes collectively paying an estimated $11.74 billion a year — $213,574,000 in Arizona alone. If they were granted full legal status, state and local taxes in Arizona would gain $39,384,000. In 2015, according to the IRS, undocumented Americans paid $23.6 billion in federal income tax along with Medicare and social security that they can’t even use.
Rep. Lesko was also concerned about cost and that the health care plans that many have are now being eliminated. Yes, those chaotic, brain-numbing plans that you never know what’s really covered or not, until something happens, will be eliminated. In their place, everyone will have what was just mentioned above, along with the freedom to choose their doctor and no networks to worry about. Taxes may go up, but your premiums, co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance and out-of-pocket expenses will disappear. A huge part of the savings includes: 1. Redirecting funds that are already allocated for health care and reducing unnecessary and wasteful spending in the current system, and 2. Eliminating nonpatient costs that do not improve health — insurance company administrative overhead, exorbitant executive salaries, marketing, shareholder’s dividends, billions lobbying congress and campaign contributions. With the elimination of all the health care costs that people are already paying along with the savings from the elimination of the for-profit Big Pharma and insurance companies that spend billions on above-mentioned costs, 95% of the people will pay less than they pay now.
Eliminating the expensive role insurance companies now play in the lives of employers and employees will result in higher pay and jobs better suited to individuals, positively affecting our economy! Studies now show that employees are very unhappy with their rising deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and wage stagnation. Also, very importantly, the opportunity for re-training health-insurance personnel for other needed jobs is included in HR 1384.
Today, people are suffering and dying unnecessarily of untreated conditions and preventable diseases as we continue to debate the issue rather than moving forward with concrete, cost-effective solutions. We are the United States. We don’t have to follow other countries’ systems. We can learn from them and create our own. We have the blueprint to build on the 54-year Medicare infrastructure, but make it even better, covering all health needs, costing less and covering everyone.
Why does this plan face opposition? The health insurance and drug companies and for-profit hospitals are framing the discussion on TV, social media and with legislators. With hundreds of billions of their profits at stake, they are spending millions of dollars to spread misinformation to protect their interests and defeat significant change. Do not fall for their scare tactics and false arguments.
Ask yourself at least one of these questions: “Who is behind this…? Are they using fear-based language or trying to scare you? What do they have to gain? Which studies are they using and who paid for them? We reference The World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and many more.
Healthy people, healthy economy, healthy country!
Linda Napier is a business owner from Sun City West, and Carol Mattoon is a health care advocate from Sun City.