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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Healthcare Plan, as of Now

From the Wonk Room, via Andrew Sullivan:

What I Say:  Sigh.  Don't take anything in this chart as gospel truth, guys.  That high-level economics and accounting is infinitely convoluted, who knows what the real fall-out will be when and if all this gets enacted and trickled down to us peons.

What I do know is that the vast majority of people in this country cannot afford to pay $10,133 a year for health insurance, if that's what's required by law.  There is no fucking way.  That's nearly $850 a month!  Who the hell thinks this shit up?  That might be what some fine folks on the East Coast making over 100K a year could pay, but I can tell you for a certain fact that the single mom down the street raising two kids on 30K a year or less - and millions and millions of other people, single or married, with or without kids - flat cannot pay that kind of money.

Anybody wants to encourage the shitheads who are drooling at the mouth to start Civil War II, well you just keep on with stupid stuff like this.

Where I work, an employee with a spouse and kids gets Blue Cross for about $350 a month, I believe.  Which is a big chunk of money, more than it ought to be; but people manage to pay it somehow.  I lucked out - because I'm single, I don't have to pay out of pocket, the employer covers it, which I think is worth about $150 a month.

Still, your Head Trucker has to shake his head at these ridiculous figures coming out of Washington.  I say the only fair and responsible way to do it - not that anybody will listen to me - is to impose a flat healthcare tax of 5 percent on Adjusted Gross Income for everybody* making between $20K and $100K a year; zero if you make less, double that if you make more, triple if you're a millionaire.  And then you get all your healthcare free.

Which, according to my reading, is basically how it works in France and some other places.  You might have to pay ten bucks for a doctor visit, and fifty for an ER visit, something like that, but otherwise except for some nominal charges here and there, it's all free.  Which gives the government a great incentive to keep everybody employed AND to keep healthcare costs down.

That includes drug costs.  If Wal-Mart can give out generic prescription drugs for 4 bucks a pop, the government can too.  It's a sin to be making a profit out of people's illness.  Do y'all agree with me on that?

* - I went and did some figurin' off the tables at the Wikipedia article on U.S. personal income.  Here's what I came up with (figures are for 2005).  Of the 211,832,000 individuals aged 15 or above, the breakdown is this:

  • 82,611,000 make less than $20K a year.
  • 116,006,000 make between $20K and $100K a year.
  • 13,215,000 make more than $100K a year.
  • Median income of the 155 million persons over the age of 15 who worked with earnings in 2005 was $28,567
  • Of those individuals older than 25 with income, over 42% have incomes below $25,000. 
  • Median personal income for the population 25 and older is $32,140. 
  • Median household income for the whole country is $46,326. 
  • 92.5 percent of all households (some have more than one employed member) have a total income of < $92,000.
Now you can play with those numbers yourself and see what kind of figures you come up with to finance healthcare reform.


Stan said...

There's no way the pharmaceutical and insurance industry is going to give up any of their huge profits for our benefit. They've all spent hundreds of million lobbying against any REAL health care reform.
It should be a basic human right. Even in Cuba every citizen there is covered. No questions asked.

Mareczku said...

Thanks for the info. What you said makes a lot of sense. I am lucky because I have good health care with my job. I would never be able to afford to pay out of pocket. I would be in the poorhouse. That is why so many people don't have health care.

Russ Manley said...

Yup. The profit motive should be left entirely out of it, and everybody should have a right to healthcare, regardless of income or anything else.

Jeepguy said...

I think we're faawked on this one, too! After I retired, I went back to work part time in the records dept of one of the hospitals here. I got to see first hand what the insurance companies are doing to sick people. And I'm talkin' here about people who have insurance and have faithfully paid their premiums for years. It's criminal, believe me! And this bullshit just keeps driving up costs for everyone so the fat cats can get fatter. I think that only the only thing that is ever going to change our broken system(s) is a full-scale revolt. Remember Les Miserables and the French Revolution?

Heretic Tom said...

Double sigh.

I hope I never get seriously ill.

As a writer and singer, most everyone I know in the arts here in L.A. lives without health insurance.

TomS said...

I had seen this chart on another site, and it was proclaimed as a sign that the new Bill, with all its problems, was still a better solution...

I had my doubts, still. And Your comments help me clarify my thinking.

Thanks Russ!

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