In the summer of 1991, I was sitting at a traffic light in a small town, I was a Deputy Sheriff and on my way to the county jail. A young man in his late twenties ran up to my patrol car and tossed a rock through my passenger side window; needless to say, I got out and arrested him. Sadly, I later found out that this young man had no criminal record but understood that prisoners got free health care and this young man was suffering from severe pain due to an ongoing dental problem. Even more sad is that America’s health care system has come to this. A young man saw jail as his only option to relieve his suffering and get care.
A few days ago at a restaurant in Kingsport, Tennessee, I talk to a gentleman who told me he was considering filling for disability just to get Medicare or Medicaid. A large number of people do this because over the last two decades, paying health insurance premiums and other health care bills has become increasingly hard for American’s. As premiums have gone up each year and the cost of health care has escalated, more and more costs have been shifted to consumers through increases in deductibles and copayments and decreases in covered services. Middle-class and low-income families need relief from escalating health care costs. Like this gentleman, many want to continue to work but they find it impossible to get health care coverage or can’t afford the costs. They become ill and the costs of visiting a doctor and buying a prescription eat up a week or more in wages. They are left with nothing for rent, utilities and other cost of living expenses.
According to the Social Security Disability Resource Center, the average monthly title II disability benefit (another way of saying Social Security Disability) is about one thousand dollars. This is, of course for a single disabled individual who is eligible for SSD. SSI Disability, of course, is different in that it has a standardized maximum benefit amount which is currently, I believe, $623 per month. Consider the fact that some people, as the gentleman I spoke to in the restaurant in Kingsport, choose to file for disability to get insurance coverage. Not everyone does this but never the less some do. The extra monthly benefit amount above the cost of medical coverage sets a good argument for universal health care or Medicare for all, if you consider the fact that some people on disability would choose to return to work, if they could keep the health care coverage. This would save billions of dollars now being spent on benefits.
Medicare for all would cost an estimated $47 billion less than we are now spending. Even though millions of us have no health coverage at all, we spend almost twice as much as the other countries that cover every one. We waste hundreds of billions on insurance companies which only provides limited healthcare, limited to what they want to spend on you. In fact, one third of that money is wasted on insurance company salaries, stock holder profits, and marketing. The only way to pay for all of us is to remove the useless waste and profits of the insurance companies, according to medicareforall.net.
The Affordable Care Act, that was past into law, is a good start and will provide direct financial relief to millions of insured American families that struggle to pay health insurance premiums today. The new law will give families the option to shop for a plan in new state insurance marketplaces (called “exchanges”) and to receive a robust discount on their premiums (through a refundable “premium tax credit”). The Affordable Care Act will also help people who have insurance by protecting them from high deductibles, high copayments, and unexpected gaps in their insurance coverage in three ways: It will eliminate lifetime and annual limits on how much a health insurance plan will pay for covered benefits (so that plan payments don’t abruptly “run out”), it will cap how much a person must spend each year on deductibles and copayments for covered benefits, and it will provide additional help with out-of-pocket costs for lower-income families. Yes, the Affordable Care Act is a good start and should be supported but does it go fare enough? No. We should have Medicare for all because it’s more affordable and cost effective.
Some information for this article was obtained from the links provided above.
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