Face it: Healthcare is a growing industry


To the Editor:

Democrats voting in the mid-term election ranked health care as their highest priority. Progressive candidates calling for Medicare for all or universal health care cannot tell you how they would pay for a single-payer system where the government runs the health care industry.

Most candidates I interviewed during the election cycle who favored single-payer said they would “tax the wealthy” or the savings in administrative costs under the present system would pay for it.

A libertarian policy center projected that covering everyone under Medicare would cost $32.6 trillion over ten years. How much is a trillion dollars?

A stack of $100 bills would be 631 miles – that’s right, miles- high to reach $1 trillion! The U.S. Treasury is expected to take in $3.4 trillion in the current fiscal year. So it would require the total yearly revenue of the government just to pay for Medicare for all and nothing would be left to pay for Social Security and other mandated entitlements.

You could seize the fortunes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, the Koch brothers and Oprah and still not pay for one year of Medicare for all. So forget about taxing the rich to pay for it.

A government run single-payer health system would mean the end of thousands of jobs in the insurance industry. Is that what we want? And that industry would be replaced with a gigantic new government bureaucracy. If you think that would be a more efficient system pass the pipe, I want some of what you are smoking.

I believe the economic law of supply and demand has not been repealed. Simply put, if demand for a good or service increases and its supply does not rise and if the price is held constant or declines, the result is a shortage of that good or service. In other words, health care would have to be rationed in a government-run system.

We were told the Affordable Care Act passed in the first year of the Obama administration would reduce a family’s health insurance cost by $2,500 a year and let us keep our plan and doctor. Instead we hear constant complaints about the increasing cost of health insurance and doctors –particularly family practitioners - are leaving the profession in droves.

Why don’t we just admit that the health care including pharmaceutical companies is a growth industry? We have an aging population and astounding advances in medical procedures, devices and medications to combat diseases that used to be fatal. The jobs in the industry are highly technical and mostly well paid.

Why aren’t we as concerned about how much is spent on smart phones, cars that have become rolling wifi hotspots, 4K giant screen TVs and devices that listen to every conversation in our houses?

Richard J. August

North Kingstown

The writer is a host and co-producer of the public access TV program State of the State. He interviewed many candidates for office in the most recent election cycle.


1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

So what you are saying is the jobs of those in the pharmaceutical companies is worth more than the husband of 3 children that has to forgo cancer treatment because he can't afford it?

The consumer is being gouged by the medical and pharmaceutical companies just so they can make a profit and pay higher salaries to their officers and directors. Nothing else proves that point more than the mark up on costs for things like the Epi Pen or cancer treatment. If you want to think that all that extra money is going to making the world a better place then more power to you.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few until you are one of the few and your needs won't be met. But, boy oh boy, when it hits you where it hurts, I can guarantee you won't be sitting in your hospital bed thinking about all the jobs people are keeping while you are waiting to die because you can't afford the treatment.

There has got to be a better way. A way that doesn't allow people to die because they can't afford the treatment. As long as billionaires are making money and paying off politicians, there won't be a fair and equitable way to deal with health care.

Friday, November 30, 2018