Some people think Bernie Sanders might as well be from Mars as he advocates for universal health care in our country. If we look in the mirror, we as a nation are the people from Mars. All other industrial Western countries offer their citizens universal health care. Even our neighbor Mexico does.
Fear-mongers say it cannot be done here. They make you believe that Canadians are unhappy with their universal health care plan, but on the contrary, they are happy, healthier and live longer than we do — and they do it for half the price.
No, it will not work here if pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and legislators think they can continue to stuff their pockets with cash.
Bernie Sanders wants campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of lobbyists on Congress. The vision of thousand dollar bills dancing in legislators’ heads is a major obstacle to health care for all. People are dying as a result; we have to change.
The Canadians, English and Germans negotiate drug prices, but we don’t. They have doctors on salaries just like the Mayo and Cleveland clinics, but fixed salaries for doctors are rare in this country. With salaries, there is no incentive to do unnecessary procedures and tests that amount to one third of our medical care bill.
Germany operates with 200 healthcare insurance companies. The government sets the premiums and amounts providers can charge patients. Insurance companies in Germany are content to make a reasonable profit, and their CEOs don’t make astronomical salaries built on the backs of clients.
The naysayers here want you to think that health care for all cannot be done, but it is being done. All we have to do is ask countries for their playbooks, and we are on our way.
It’s ironic that while NASA plans a trip to Mars, we cannot figure out how to give health care to all our citizens. Irony will have it when our astronauts finally step out on the red planet and are handed a universal health care card by a tiny man from Mars.
George F. Warren, M.D.