The Healthcare Issue Revisited, again….

The Healthcare Issue Revisited, again….

One of my top soapbox issues is the status of our broken Healthcare system. It continues to bother me to no end. I suspect that I will continue to revisit this subject often. Here are a few bullet points that I hope will garner your attention:

  • Our country has by far the most expensive system among all counties
  • In 2018 the cost of our healthcare system was $11,600 for every man, woman & child!
  • The average per capita cost for the EU, Canada, Australia & NZ was about $3,800 or 3x our cost.
  • According to the WHO (World Health Organization) almost all of these countries deliver a superior healthcare product. (We rank 37th among all counties)
  • We spent $3.8 trillion on Healthcare in 2018 (over 18 % of GDP) making it by far our largest industry. 
  • The Government pays for less than 30% of this, $1.1 trillion in the form of Medicare & Medicaid. The remainder is paid either by companies’ insurance benefits or by the tax payer in the form of premiums, co-pays and for some self-insured it is simply out of pocket. I could not fund a breakdown between what employers’ pay vs. others.
  • The Cost of Medicare & Medicaid is the single largest Budget Expense at almost twice that of what we spend on Defense and it the major contributor to the annual deficit.
  • Since there are much cheaper and better systems available to our leaders their inaction levies a very high tax on the tax payer. I have referred to this as a “hidden” tax since you do not realize that you are paying it.

Many smaller industries have their hand in our very lucrative system. For details on those I would refer you to earlier posts to my blog. The solution is not very complicated and the reason that it will likely never happen has to do with so much money being made in the private sector. Again, I would refer you to prior posts on this same subject for the details.

The high cost of health care can have several negative effects, including the following:

  • When the government spends more on health care, the national debt increases and/or funds available for other programs decrease.
  • When people spend more on health care, they have less money to spend for other things, and when health insurance is paid by their employer, they are paid less.
  • When employers spend more on health care, the costs of their products and services increase, and jobs may be moved to countries with lower health care costs.
  • More people cannot afford health care insurance. When people without health care insurance receive health care, they usually cannot pay for it. As a result, this care is paid for by other people who are paying into the health care system. Or, people without health care insurance may not seek care when they need it and thus develop a serious disorder that could have been prevented.
  • Medical bills that are not covered by health insurance can lead to bankruptcy.

The Electoral College

The Electoral College

The following is taken from an earlier post: “Critics argue that the Electoral College is inherently undemocratic and gives swing states disproportionate influence in electing the President and Vice President. The Electoral College gives a numeric advantage in the election of the president to the smaller states, as the minimum number of electors for the small states is three compared to one for the election of representatives. On the other hand, the winner-take-all method of voting favors the larger states. On four occasions, most recently in 2000, the Electoral College system has resulted in the election of a candidate who did not receive the most popular votes in the election. A number of constitutional amendments have been proposed seeking to alter the Electoral College or replace it with a direct popular vote.”

Currently 18 states control the destiny of elections with 63% of the votes. Money is a significant factor in determining the winner and as a result the most populated states receive the lion’s share of campaign funding. In the last 125 years there have only been two elections where the winner of the EC did not win the popular vote, both Republicans. The most recent example was in 2016 with the election of Donald Trump where he won 56% of the EC, but only 46% of the popular vote. In fact, his opponent secured just under 3 million more  popular votes!

The EC was a practical solution when it was established over 200 years ago. Gathering, counting ballots & combining the results was problematic given the distances involved among the states. The EC just made sense. In the electronic age the problems of distribution no longer exist. It appears to me that there is no valid reason keeping the voters from making the decision on whom is to be President.

Recent polls indicate that over 60% of voters are in favor of abolishing the EC.

Gallup trends show that Republicans were far less supportive than Democrats of abolishing the Electoral College in late 2000, when Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush had lost the popular vote, but was fighting a legal battle to win Florida and therefore the Electoral College. Since then, however, Republicans have gradually become less protective of the Electoral College, to the point that by 2011, a solid majority of Republicans were in favor of abolishing it.

I do wonder why no action is taken to make this change? There are two reasons: 1. It would require a constitutional amendment, which is near impossible. 2. A state can decide to apportion the EC votes in the ratio of the popular votes. This only is effective if all states do this and so far only two states have taken this action: Maine & Nebraska. States resist this as the thinking is that it diminishes the impact of a candidate winning the state and the states influence on the outcome.

Military Spending

Military Spending

The general consensus is that when a Democrat is the president military spending will be reduced and the reverse will occur when a Republican is in office. Obviously, there are may other factors involved. Regardless, the following chart may be a surprise to many folks:

Below from:

It is interesting to note that during the last two years military spending has average almost the same as the eight-year average under President Obama.