Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekly Lens: Single Payer Healthcare

For this Weeks edition of the "weekly lens", the question was posed to each separate political side. What are your opinions on Single Payer Healthcare?

Here are the Responses



Conservative Response (William Zimmerman)
 There's two sides to healthcare, black and white. Bernie Sanders versus Ted Cruz. Personally, I could not agree more with Cruz. Nowhere in the constitution, does it say that it is a right, nowhere. Canada and Europe have public and free healthcare but doesn't mean that it's reliable. Lastly, Bernie Sanders and the weak Democrats are so selfish to think they can bully businesses and the young adults who may not need insurance. They're un-American period
We are the resistance. God Bless and God Bless America.

Libertarian Right Response (Luke Zimmerman)
The single payer health insurance has been a hot topic in the Trump “regime”. The only problem I had with Obamacare is the government mandate. However, it got many people insured who weren't insured. Fiscally conservative Neo-cons who said the whole idea was crazy and socialist were ignorant, but the idea that we have the best health system is completely correct. Virtually, you can see a professionally trained physician and get treatment, prognosis, and anything else to get to better health. There's no denying that the USA has the best health system. I'm also all for the free market but if the cost of healthcare is too high from the free enterprise, it's worthless, and if the government heads the program and its rates, then it would be worthless too like Europe. This topic is completely up for grabs among the majority right in the government. I'm predicting the Supreme Court will also have a role in this.

Note: Does Not represent the mainstream Libertarian Ideology

Left Wing Response (Sarah Shaffer)
Heading the liberal end of this blog, it is easy to imagine that I would be a proponent of single payer health care. However, it is not just I who stands firm in this belief. I am accompanied by 58% of the public, 59% of physicians, 80% of Democrats, and 60% of independents. So if all this is true, why do so many Republicans oppose it? First of all, fundamentally they are opposed to bigger government. But one must come to a point where one questions if their fundamental beliefs should keep them from withholding the majority of citizens from what they want and from what would statistically be beneficial.
                Currently, under a privatized system and with Obama Care, there are still around 29 million uninsured according to The Fiscal Times. It is undeniable that insurance is expensive no matter what social class you fall into. This is clearly a major issue for many people falling below the poverty line and even those in the middle class. This has caused many people to refrain from seeking medical treatment resulting in what the PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program) have estimated to be 30,000 deaths per year. Many opponents to a single payer plan love to use the issues stemming from Obama Care as a defense against a national health program. This argument is lacking. While Obama Care is a step towards a national healthcare program, it is not an accurate depiction of how a country would function on one. Obama Care is accompanied by many other privatized programs preventing a clear vision of America on a single payer plan. With all these other companies and regulations set in place by and for other privatized companies this has also made Obama care unfavorable for some, when signing up forcing them out of their previous plan or having to choose new doctors. No matter what side you’re on of the topic this is inconvenient. However, although a fault of Obama Care it is not the fundamental approach of the plan that causes this but the result of having it exist in an impure form (meaning existing alongside other privatized companies). This has caused Americans to have to look around the world for statistics from other countries on single payer plans for direction.
                As aforementioned, the statistics rule in favor of a national healthcare plan on behalf of the citizens. Unfortunately, many myths float around perpetrated by privatized insurance companies and opponents of the plan such as Ted Cruz attempting to mislead Americans, or twist the truth in their direction. During the debate over the Affordable Care Act on CNN Cruz took jabs at the single payer plan in England saying that mammograms have gone down amongst other preventative health measures there. So why would we move in that direction when the plan would cut such procedures we attempt to make more readily available? The answer is simple. Cruz is correct in that mammograms have gone down. However, this is not a result of the single payer program but merely a result of statistics showing that mammograms are needed less often than they are given (only around once every three years for women between 50-70 according to Cancer Research UK). True statistics have been twisted to fit the agendas of those who profit. But many will continue to press this point saying England’s health care is truly worse than ours. Cruz again during the debate loved to push this point and throw around statistics. But here is one thing Cruz ever so conveniently forgot to mention. England has Socialized Medicine, something completely separate from universal healthcare that is the cause behind this. Socialized Medicine is a system in which the government owns the hospitals and doctors are salaried public employees. The real truth is that life expectancy in America is below par for a first world country. Many other countries with similar economic development but single payer health care have much higher life expectancies. Therefore, for one to proclaim that the care is worse in these other countries is simply false. Why would worse care raise life expectancy? Below is a list of these countries on single payer plans with higher life expectancies.***
                So now that some common myths have been debunked, why a single payer plan? With a single payer plan, cost for insurance would essentially be streamlined lowering the cost for all Americans resulting in an affordable rate for all Americans (remember, this system is not competing with privatized systems like Obama Care and would not have some of the inconvenient limits as Obama Care did). This plan would also make sure everyone could receive treatment, no matter the cost. No one can predict when they get sick or to what degree as Bernie Sanders loved to preach in that same CNN debate. Illness does not discriminate over social class, race, creed, or sexual orientation. So it is crucial for anyone who loves somebody in this world and intends that they live a full life can protect themselves even if they aren’t millionaires like many privatized companies (not to mention most companies still wouldn’t pick you up if your illness was that serious as you would quite unapologetically be a waste of their money). A ‘pure’ single payer plan country would also allow you to have the doctors you wanted and seek treatment at the hospital you wanted removing a major issue found in Obama Care.
                Another common issue, typically brought up by Republicans surrounding Obama Care, is that its requirement for a company with 50 employees provide healthcare to those employees. While I believe employers should provide healthcare this is clearly a financial burden on the businesses and hinders growth due to that. However, this issue is caused because Obama Care is competing with the privatized system. In this ‘pure’ single payer system that I keep mentioning, the cost would go down because the provider would be the government. Cleverly pointed out by the PNHP, this would free businesses from whatever burden they had in providing healthcare and in fact stimulate economic growth and jobs. 
                In conclusion, a single payer healthcare plan has many benefits that don’t exist in this nation’s current privatized system. It is time for politicians to put aside their greed (as many of them are influenced by the money of big business insurance) and do what is right for the people. The change will of course come with bumps in the road, as will anything, some that can be foreseen and some that we will not be able to predict, but the overall outcome will be in the best interest for the citizens of the United States of America.
***The United States ranks 43rd in the world for life expectancy (2015).  Single payer countries with similar economic development to the United States:
Norway – 20th
Japan – 2nd
UK – 33rd
Sweden – 15th
Canada – 18th
Finland – 30th
Italy – 14th
Portugal – 49th
Spain – 21st
Iceland – 6th
The only single payer country that has a lower life expectancy than the U.S. is Portugal.



Citations:
Statistics for Democrats, independents, and public supporting single payer plan: Kaiser Heath Tracking poll conducted in December 2015
Statistics for physicians:  April 2008 edition of Annals of Internal Medicine.
Link to sources involving the PNHP: 
http://pnhp.org/blog/2014/07/31/victor-fuchs-on-the-solution-for-high-health-care-costs-in-us/ 


 Review (Sean Pereksta)
It is Clear that there is a divide in Ideology. The main argument here is not, does it work, What  I see is an argument between should the government even be involved in healthcare. Some would argue giving the government any extra power is dangerous, while others, like we saw from the left side in this article, think that it is merely beneficial to have a single health payer system.
I will admit my bias, I myself being +9 to the right on the Political Compass test (https://www.politicalcompass.org/test) however I do believe there are some things to mention, As you saw, I added in a note under the Libertarian Response, it doesnt seem to represent Libertarians as a whole since they are the group least likely to want a Single Payer Healthcare system. I also partially agree with our Conservative, Will Zimmerman, Just because you have a government Health Care system, for instance, In Canada you can face month long waits when seeking treatment. The Problem that I see originating from Government Healthcare is that it often times makes the health industry unappealing since it can lower pay for doctors and ultimately be more damaging. Our left wing Correspondent, Sarah, Brings up the point that Single Payer healthcare systems have longer life expectancies. This is a good point, however I might argue that it is not the Government Healthcare that lengthens their life spans, Government regulations on things like food prevent people from eating as unhealthily as Americans have the choice to eat. I believe it was Stephen Crowder who made this argument, Yes other Countries may be Healthier but in America you have the Freedom to Eat yourself to death, or the freedom to train harder and eat healthier, and that's why you get high obesity rates, but also a consistent acquiring of the most Olympic medals out of any nation, those medals going to America. So I clearly don't agree with all that Sarah has to say, however I merely wanted to address that one argument, Clearly there are many more arguments in her lengthy and well researched argument. Each sides has an argument that must be weighed against the others, Comment below about your opinions on this subject, and make sure to share this if you found it interesting.