Single payer healthcare is the popular option right now according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll that reported 51 percent of Americans support it while 43 percent oppose it. The poll was conducted between January 22-February 24 of 2018 with the results published on April 12, 2018, in the Washington Post. Despite what the results of this recent poll declared, the United States is a long way from a tried and true single payer healthcare system.
Single Payer Healthcare. What Exactly Is It?
From your staunch conservative all the way to your ardent "Bernie-bro", every politically-minded individual has an opinion on single payer healthcare. But before we continue on the subject of single-payer healthcare, let us first define what single payer is. The most popular online resource of the 21st century, Wikipedia, defines single payer as "a healthcare system financed by taxes that covers the costs of essential healthcare for all residents, with costs covered by a single public system (hence ‘single payer’)."
Elements of single-payer healthcare are:
- Single payer is a government (federal or state) takeover of universal healthcare. This is similar to the current healthcare systems in the United Kingdom (N.H.S.) and in Canada.
- Private health insurance would not be an option for residents.
- The single-payer healthcare system would be funded by taxes.
Given the characteristics of single-payer healthcare, the question now is whether it can be implemented in the United States. There are a handful of lucrative, successful insurance conglomerates that currently dominate the healthcare sector. Therein lies the first impediment to implementing single-payer healthcare: The current system will be opposed by the likes of Kaiser, Humana, and Aetna. Obviously, large conglomerates of a specific business sector will have the resources to oppose any legislation that may dissolve their current business. They will have the time, the money, and the political influence to keep the single-payer debate going indefinitely or even squelched.
Recent Democratic Presidential candidates support a single payer healthcare system. One particular candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, proposed a bill titled, "Medicare For All", which expands Medicare beyond residents over the age of 65. Aside from expanding Medicare, Senator Sanders' plan also involves:
- Eliminating deductibles, copays, and premiums.
- Eliminating private insurance companies. This would be eliminating residents' choice of private or public healthcare.
- Expansion of Medicare in phases. 1st year, Medicare would be available for resident 55 and older. And in subsequent years, the age minimum would be lowered by ten years, (Ex. The following year, the plan would expand to residents 45 years and older.)
- Vision and dental would be covered. Currently, both are not covered by Medicare.
Another impediment to Senator Sanders' plan for single payer is how 'Medicare for All" will be paid for. The Vermont Senator has yet to come up with a definite plan for funding but he proposed a 7.5 percent payroll tax on employers, a 4 percent individual income tax and an array of taxes on wealthier Americans, as well as corporations.
Let's recap. Senator Sanders' plan is not yet "rock solid" on funding, or rather the taxing of citizens for his bill. Private insurance companies would be eliminated. Citizens would lose the ability to choose private and publicly run healthcare. And billion dollar healthcare conglomerates, who are now merging with even bigger retail conglomerates like CVS and Walmart, would be out of business or unduly written out as an option.
Another factor: The Affordable Care Act, colloquially called "Obamacare" is still supported by Americans. This same Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll estimated 53 percent of Americans are still in favor of the public healthcare act even with the Trump Administration attempting to "chip" away at it.
More factors: Both houses of Congress are Republican controlled, which will obviously put any single payer healthcare plan on the backburner. Any still, Senator Sanders' plan had 16 Democratic cosponsors backing it. It will take a lot more Democrats and more than likely a few Independents and Republicans to turn in order to make single payer into reality.
Do you honestly believe with all those factors, single payer can happen or even can be phased into reality? It's a possibility but close to impossible as the insurance companies will put up a fight for their literal lives when Sanders' bill gets debated. The "right to choose" between private and public healthcare will be an issue as it is heavily correlated with what is considered the utmost American value, "freedom".
How Technology Can Help
Will single payer solve the issues that healthcare ails from? Well-respected economist and billionaire, Warren Buffett, describes healthcare as a "tapeworm" infecting the American people and its economy. It will take more than a well written and well-constructed bill and trillions of tax dollars to solve healthcare. It may take the dissolving of the health insurance industry or a concerted effort to improve the current system.
Whether healthcare is a right or a privilege is not a question that has a correct answer. Modern technology has given us ways to connect people directly for the purpose of sharing unexpected costs of life whether it's a health emergency, car accident or necessary home repairs. Eusoh was created based on the concept of providing better access to care without the expensive and burdensome legacy middlemen, aka private and public insurance companies. At Eusoh, we connect people directly together and provide them with all the protection, transparency and guarantees they should expect. so that groups of people, not just individuals, have a platform to share expenses. No bills have to be drawn, no debates and no filibusters on the House floor. Eusoh's technology allows people to share and manage costs with the utmost transparency.