Healthcare is a leading issue of our times, and has provided a political division in our society like few other issues. I fervently believe that healthcare is not a political issue. It is an American issue.
The basic question is: Does our society consider healthcare a basic right of being a member of our society, or is it reserved only for those who can either afford it themselves or get it through their employer?
I believe it is a basic right.
Other developed countries have created national healthcare systems that work, and we should too.
How can that be delivered? The common options throughout the world are variations on Single Payer (all healthcare is provided through government, and funded by taxes), Multi-Tier (government pays for some care, and individuals pay for additional coverage if their would like to), and Mandate (the individual must buy a minimum level of insurance, similar to car insurance).
Single Payer requires tax increases. These taxes are offset be the elimination of premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays. The tax can be solely on the individual, or shared between the individual and their employer if they are employed, or can be fully paid by the employer if the person is employed.
Multi-tier would be similar to Medicare. Medicare Part A (Hospital Expense) is almost fully Single Payer (there is a deductible). Medicare Part B (Doctor and Lab Expense) is optional, and is subsidized by the government. Medicare Supplements to Part B are also optional, but are not subsidized by the government. Medicare Part D (Prescription Drugs) is optional, and is not subsidized.
Mandate, as mentioned above, is where you must buy a minimum level of insurance, similar to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
My preferred solution? There are two parts.
First, the solution must be Bi-Partisan. The Democrats imposed their solution, to the infinite enmity of the Republicans. Once the Republicans regained power, they are trying to uproot Obamacare. A Bi-Partisan approach will give stability to the medical field.
Second, I prefer Single Payer. Combining taxes (currently estimated at 11%, compared to the current 14% of income that most people currently experience for premiums and deductibles) plus existing Medicaid funding, plus regulation of medical fees (like currently done with Medicare) and negotiation of best prices for prescription drugs (which is not currently allowed in Medicare) should be able to fund a robust plan for all. If this doesn’t fund everything, maybe some kind of Multi-tier scenario would work.
I am open to any scenario of this type that would be both effective (pays the bills now, instead of leaving huge debts for future generations) and Bi-Partisan (won’t be overturned at the next change of administration).