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Tuesday Letters: Medicare for all, and Trump’s swamp

MFA won’t cost that much

Elizabeth Warren says Medicare for All will cost $20.5 trillion and the taxpayers freak. That’s almost as much as the national debt ($23.8 trillion). But that estimate is based on current medical costs, which will surely go down with a single-source government health care plan.

First of all, let’s play B.F. Skinner and define our terms. Medicare for All is socialized medicine. Let’s not be afraid of the S-word. Fear-mongers who weren’t even born during the Red Scare of the ’50’s still don’t understand the difference between socialism and communism. Second, here’s hoping Medicare for All is better than the current Medicare which doesn’t cover dental, eye glasses, or hearing aids.

Let’s look at three prominent health expenses and the effect socialized medicine will have on them; pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and doctor’s fees. President Trump recently proposed opening up imports so cheaper drugs from Canada can be available to American patients. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced such a bill earlier this year, but Senate Republicans, with the help of Sen. Michael Bennet, shot it down.

Why do you suppose Canada’s pharmaceuticals are so much cheaper? Could it be because Canada has had socialized medicine since the ’60’s? The price of Canadian drugs has dropped 20% since then.

In Canada, the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t dictate costs to consumers that absolutely must have their product. The industry negotiates prices with the freely-elected representatives of people and the government won’t pay the exorbitant amounts Big Pharma gets in this country.

Due to our dysfunctional multi-payer system, 25% of your hospital bill goes toward administration, processing the bill. Ask any hospital medical employee what it’s like dealing with all those different insurance companies and their varying requirements.

Jacobin Magazine compared how we fund hospitals to how we finance public schools. The schools don’t have to give an accounting for each student. They’re given a lump sum that’s to be used to provide for all students. Canada and Scotland have such a system for hospitals.

Valley View Hospital is a nonprofit facility, but we all know they use their “excess capital” for accoutrements like single-occupancy rooms with fireplaces, carpeting and mountain views, and valet service. As such, Valley View is the most expensive hospital in the state.

There is currently a bill in the House (H.R. 1384) that would limit hospitals to operating costs and capital expansion that’d serve the community need, not the hospital’s profitability. As an inpatient at Valley View, I enjoyed the luxuries, but why should we here in populous areas have them at the expense of rural hospitals that’re closing because of low volume.

Doctors in France, where they have the best health care program in the world, make $95,000 per year on average. In comparison, U.S. physicians pull in $186,000. But our doctors are more qualified, right? It doesn’t appear that way. In obstetrics, for example, the infant mortality rate in France is 2.961 per 1,000 births. In this country it’s 5.8 per 1,000 births.

The biggest reason health costs will go down under socialized medicine is the system will be removed from the clutches of the predatory insurance industry. It’s in their best interest prices are high so everybody but the rich can’t pay them out of pocket. Big Pharma, medical supply companies, hospitals, and doctors charge what the market will bear, the market is Big Insurance, they have all the money in the world, and they’ll pay anything.

Will taxes go up? Certainly, but if we have a progressive government, the bulk of the load will be borne by that great untapped revenue source, the one percent and large corporations. Even if the middle class gets a slight bump, that’ll be more than made up by lower out of pocket costs.

Fred Malo Jr.
Carbondale

Time to drain Trump’s swamp

Trump thinks he’s a miracle — he’s just a mirage.

A miracle? An “amazing event, marvelous example, act of God”?

Donald Trump anointed himself a wonder, a phenomenon, a sensation and wrapped himself in the gold of kings to show competitors that he was above them.

His recent comments calling himself “the chosen one” in the New York Times on Aug. 21. reveal his blatantly delusional self image.

He put himself in judgment of others by demeaning and disparaging aspiring business entrepreneurs on “The Apprentice.”

The people who are fascinated by his arrogant display, drawn to the bawdy performances, have bought into his projections of success and superlatives.
When making his entrance onto the stage of presidential hopefuls who wished to represent and lead this country, he led with a stomp in the face to other human beings with derisive, belittling commentary.

For these reasons, a large and growing number of voters have a deep aversion to him, his administration and their positions. Instead of inspiring and carrying the nation to a higher place, he drags us down to an uglier and increasingly hostile and dangerous place.

He is a mirage, created from the heat within this country. He’s a distortion, a misreading of the land. He is leading the country into the desert.

It’s time to recover what he stripped from this country, stop the carnage that he has wrought, drain the swamp that he’s created.

Charmaine Locke,
Carbondale


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