I’ll Pay More under Medicare for All, and that’s Fine
I have pretty good health insurance through my employer. I have no deductibles, no premiums, and a low copay. Under the Universal Healthcare or Single Payer Healthcare or Medicare for All plans championed by the more left-leaning politicians, I may end up paying more annually than I do now. And that’s fine.
I rarely go to the doctor. I hardly ever get sick, and can’t remember the last time I went to a doctor because of an illness, rather than just drinking tea, sleeping and waiting it out. It generally takes a serious injury or a worryingly cancerish lump to make me visit a doctor. When I have gone, my copay has usually been twenty dollars. Not bad.
I take a medication daily, for which I pay nothing. I visit a psychiatrist rarely, for a twenty dollar copay, who renews my prescription, which is fully covered by my insurance. I use Costco’s pharmacy home delivery service, so I don’t even have to waste time and gas going to get it.
My medical costs are generally very low, thanks to my good health and my insurance plan. I make more than 29k a year, meaning that under Sanders’ plan, I’ll have to pay a 4% tax increase. His argument is that this increase will amount to less than the cost of premiums and deductibles for most families, thus cancelling itself out and allowing those families to save more. But I’m not a family. I’m a single lonely schmuck of vigorous vitality who hardly pays jack shit for my healthcare. So I shouldn’t support Universal Healthcare, right? Maybe not, if I were a myopic and selfish prick who didn’t delve into an issue beyond its most superficial and capitalistically biased talking points.
If my worldview was that of an infant, wholly self-obsessed, only able to view the world and the other people in it in terms of how it and they relate to me, and unable to imagine existence beyond the static confines of the immediate moment and my perception thereof, I might object to Universal Healthcare.
Why should I have to pay into a system to help other people if they’re not helping me?
Why should I have to worry about healthcare at all when I’m a goddamn picture of health?
Well, because I’m an adult. I can imagine possible futures beyond this moment, ones in which I could lose my job and my insurance, and maybe end up having a horrible disease or injury, or I just get old. If that happened, and there was no Universal Healthcare to fall back on, I’d be fucked. Also, while I for sure have some narcissistic tendencies, I’m not a full-blown narcissist. Nor am I a sociopath, incapable of concern for others or issues which do not directly affect me. I’m not a family of four being forced to pay high premiums and deductibles making only 29k or less a year, but I want those families to have healthcare and not be forced into debt and entrenched poverty. I want every person who needs medical care to be able to get it. I don’t want anyone to suffer or die for lack of money.
We also have to acknowledge, particularly those of us with decent employer-paid health insurance, that while it doesn’t seem like we’re paying a lot or even anything for coverage, we are. It’s not as if employers happily shell out extra money for medical coverage on top of what they pay in salaries. All that money comes from the same pot. The more they have to spend on your health insurance, the less you get in your monthly check. If employers didn’t have to pay the high costs of for-profit insurance companies, they could afford to pay their workers more. Whether they’d do that willingly would remain to be seen, and would perhaps be a fight for later. But assuming that’s the outcome, workers, like those in my position, would have the cash on hand for a higher cost in taxes and still have more to take home.
The idea that increased taxes is or should be a concern for working people, for the overwhelming majority of Americans, is a duplicitous argument pushed by the obscenely wealthy class of the conservative, libertarian, and neoliberal right, of which insurance company executives comprise an influential part. It is as dishonest and self-serving a strategy as pushing the rhetorical narrative of, “But how are we going to pay for it?” which corporate media personalities obediently parrot.
The seed of any belief or claim disparaging the economically, logically, and ethically just nature of Universal Healthcare is sown by the exploitative billionaire class who benefit most from the status quo and would be hit hardest by its dismantling. Personally, my will to ensure the health and wellbeing of the disempowered majority struggling to survive eclipses my pity for an oligarchic minority fighting to maintain dominance.