Monday, July 17, 2017

Trumpcare Would Shift The Financial Burden To States

(This chart shows the amount the states would need to increase taxes to cover current Medicaid patients if the Senate bill is passed -- with the darker the color the more taxes would have to increase. You can go here for an interactive version of the map, where you can click on an individual state to see exactly how much taxes would have to rise in that state.)

The Senate Republicans are bragging that their version of Trumpcare will reduce the cost to the federal government of sustaining the Medicaid program. What they won't tell you is that they are just shifting the financial burden of Medicaid to the individual states. And to meet that burden, states would have to raise taxes or kick people off the Medicaid insurance program -- probably both.

The sad part of this is that there is no reason why we need to pay more taxes (on federal or state level) or make citizens go without health insurance coverage. Other developed nations cover all their citizens with health insurance, and they do it at less cost per capita than the United States. There is no reason why the United States could not cover all its citizens, and do it for less than is currently spent.

The easiest way would be to institute a single-payer insurance system (something like Medicare-For-All). How could costs be lowered in such a system? By cutting out insurance profits, lowering the costs of administering the insurance program (Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance), and by negotiating medical costs with providers (doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc.).

And such a system would also be good for businesses. They would no longer have to provide insurance coverage for their workers (and their share of the program cost would be far less than they currently pay for employee insurance). They could use to money saved to compete more effectively, increase profits, or increase worker pay (thus increasing loyalty and longevity).

Unfortunately, the congressional Republicans (and some Democrats) are not ready to support a single-payer system. They (and the public) need to be educated.

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