March 9, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Universal healthcare has become political. With the number of people uninsured in the United States continuing to go up, and the cost of prescription drugs going up, the public outcry over the cost and quality of the United States healthcare system has intensified. As rural hospitals and emergency rooms continue to shut down, it has become obvious that the country has a full blown crisis on its hands. The problem is that Congress cannot seem to get together to compromise on anything in the current standoff, given the political climate and attitude in Washington D.C. Universal healthcare has become political.

It seems that in the United States, when we have problems, the problems can exist for years, even decades, before Congress, rattled by public anger, finally decides to act. If that time has not arrived yet, it certainly is close at hand. The issue of healthcare may be the single biggest issue of the 2020 Presidential Election. We pay the most for healthcare of any developed nation, yet rank a dismal 28th, in overall care. We may have some of the best care in the world, but if you measure the overall system, it is not that good. First of all, we do not insure millions upon millions of our citizens. Where every other developed nation on earth has recognized something the United States still does not understand, that the biggest resource we have is our people. That being the case, why would you neglect such a valuable, potentially economically powerful resource ? Universal healthcare has become political.

There are three universal healthcare models, and it is important to understand that they are not alike. Some countries mix universal coverage with other systems to maximize competition. An example is the two-tier system: The government pays for basic healthcare, and those who can afford it can purchase secondary coverage. The healthcare systems in several countries--such as France, Ireland, and Israel--operate in this manner. In the United States, the Medicare system operates uses IRS taxes in a similar fashion, under which covered individuals can purchase private supplemental insurance.

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