The Case for #SinglePayer

Here’s the question I have for those who oppose the PPACA and, more to the point, who oppose single payer health care.

How are our poor and uninsured fellow Americans supposed to pay $170.00 for a 20-minute office visit when they’re sick?

That’s the gross charge on the bill I just received from my doctor. I had flu-like symptoms last month. 20 minutes. $170.00. That doesn’t include the over-the-counter and prescription meds he prescribed. Add another $51.67. Even with insurance, my out of pocket for the office visit is $97.56. Add in the meds, and I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t have 150 bucks just lying around.

With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70 percent of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011. The problem is they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses. (
With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70 percent of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011. The problem is they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses. (

Now put yourself in the shoes of the 46.5million Americans living in poverty.

Not Americans with ok jobs but struggling to get by (like me); not Americans scratching and clawing and maybe starting to see the light in the long tunnel they’ve been in, hoping they are on their way into something approaching a middle-class life.

No, not them.

Put yourself in the shoes of 46.5million human beings living in poverty in the world’s richest nation.

What is poverty?

Poverty is defined as 23grand a year for a family of 4. It’s just under 12grand for an individual.

Now do some basic math.

If you could find a minimum wage job (or jobs) at $7.25 an hour and actually get 40 hours per week of paid work, you’d earn $15,080.00 a year. As an individual, you’d be $3,590 above the poverty threshold, or about 300 buck a month above poverty.

If you got sick, had insurance like mine, and did what I did, you just spent half of that “luxurious excess of 300 bucks above the poverty line” on one doctor’s visit and meds. That’s IF YOU EVEN HAD HEALTH INSURANCE AS GOOD AS MINE which, by the way, is the highest deductible and lowest cost insurance I can get from my employer. It is no Cadillac plan by any measure.

What if you’re the head of a household of 4? I can’t imagine what or how you get through your day if you’re making 15grand a year, let alone what you do when you or your kids get sick.

Think about this. 46.5million Americans is 15% of the population, or about 1 in 7 Americans.

Look around you right now. Are there seven or more people in your field of vision? No? Ok, then think about your close friends or family members. Now picture one out of seven of them living in poverty. Poverty. Not can’t-go-to-Disney-this-year or have-to-trade-steak-for-hamburger kind of “struggling.” No. Picture 1 in 7 of them in grinding, unrelenting, spirit-killing poverty.

Does this help at all to make the case for why health care in the greatest country in history should be a basic human right and not a for-profit industry? (Please save the not-for-profit rebuttal for people who don’t understand what that actually is, which would include you if you’re thinking of making it.)

Our society would find a way to survive – hell, I postulate it would thrive and prosper like never before! – if we stopped putting greed above all else and did things like make health care a basic human right provided to every man, woman, and child in America; health care that truly was universal and paid for out of taxes collected from EVERY American fortunate enough to have a job.

Call it the Christian thing to do.

Call it the humanist thing to do.

Call it whatever you like, but if you’re opposed to the idea of universal health care I don’t know how you call it anything but selfish.

Let’s be clear on this point, too. The only way to pay for universal health care from a single payer is through the government as that single payer. If you’re going to try and make the argument that health insurance is somehow a value-added step to the delivery of health care services then, again, make that argument to someone like yourself who doesn’t understand how the health care delivery or the health insurance industries actually work.

jimmy-carterWould it really kill us if health care was paid for out of our taxes instead of out of payroll deductions? Not everyone can afford health insurance even with PPACA subsidies – our taxes, don’t you know – that get sent as premiums to private health insurance companies who are now responsible for 30% of our total health care costs in the United States.

30%! That’s 30 cents out of every dollar spent on health care in America going to overhead needed to process and pay claims through a sea of private insurers. Know what drops our health care costs by 30% immediately? That’s right. Single-payer. Medicare for all.

Let’s wrap up with a moral question. Don’t the “haves” have some sense of moral obligation on some level to help those among us who don’t have anything?

If I’m worried about 150 bucks out of pocket for a doctor’s visit and some cold medicine, how are the 1 in 7 fellow Americans living at or below the poverty line supposed to have 150 bucks just lying around for health care?

What are they supposed to do, not eat that week; not pay the rent; not pay their utilities; not cloth their kids?

What exactly do we want them to do when they get sick?

I’d like some answer from you opponents of universal and single payer health care. What do you want them to do?


Author: Peaceful Patriot

Proud middle class husband, father, and progressive liberal. Registered Non-Partisan but have much more in common with Democrats than Republicans. Consider Libertarians to be immature and underdeveloped in their understanding of reality. An atheist who doesn't care what you believe so long as you stop pretending the Founding Fathers intended for you to legislatively force your beliefs on everyone else. Laughs out loud in mocking disdain at the abject lunacy of birthers, climate science deniers, and hard core tea partiers. If that offends you, too bad. You're not rational and have no place at the adult table.

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