June 22, 2019

We had a great meeting on Saturday, June 22, with 30 members there to discuss the importance of changing US healthcare to a “Medicare for All” system. Our meeting leader was Richard Master, a local businessman and Chairman of the Business Initiative for Health Policy. He got into advocacy for a change in our healthcare system through his frustration in how much healthcare for his employees costs his company.

The bulk of the meeting was watching the documentary “Fix It: Health Care at the Tipping Point.” You can watch the documentary, which features Richard’s company near the beginning, at https://fixithealthcare.com. The main points of the film are:

  1. It is deeply problematic that we have healthcare tied to our employers. Employees are often trapped in jobs because they cannot afford to lose their employer-provided health insurance. Employers, particularly smaller employers, can be bankrupted by a few catastrophically sick employees.
  2. Private insurance has significantly more overhead costs than Medicare, with roughly 30% of private insurance premiums going to administrative costs, compared with <5% for Medicare. That inefficiency means that companies, school districts, and local governments are seeing money consumed by healthcare costs instead of by services to customers and tax-payers.
  3. We pay more and have worse health outcomes than other developed countries, like Canada.

There is a “Medicare for All” bill in the House, HR 1384: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1384. Note: it had a different resolution number in the 2017-2018 Congress, so you might see reference to its previous number HR 676. There have been some interesting analyses of “Medicare for All” and other countries’ healthcare systems from the New York Times recently. You can read the stories here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/upshot/medicare-for-all-bernie-sanders-cost-estimates.htmland https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html.

If you are interested in this topic, please consider asking Congressman Malinowski about it at his town hall on Sunday, June 30, from 12:45-2:30 pm at RVCC: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/town-hall-with-congressman-tom-malinowski-tickets-63440234449.