Thursday, March 05, 2009

Healthcare Money Pot

I’m not trying to display wisdom with this post like I usually do. Okay, let me start over, since that didn’t go well. This post poses a question to which I do not even think I know the answer. How’s that? If anybody knows of a source that provides an answer, a pointer to it would be much appreciated.

Take a big pot and start throwing money into it:
~ all of the money individuals pay for health insurance premiums
~ all of the money companies pay for employee health insurance premiums
~ all of the money people pay in copays and deductibles
~ all of the money people pay in “not covered” medical expenses
~ all of the money deducted from paychecks for Medicare
~ all of the money paid for medical care by people without insurance
~ all of the out-of-pocket losses to providers due to unpaid medical bills
~ all of the premiums paid by people for Medicare coverage after retirement
~ all of the amounts paid for Medicare/Medical copays and deductibles
~ out-of-pocket losses due to medical crisis-related bankruptcies

How far would the money in that pot go toward covering the cost of medical care, not “healthcare,” medical care of every single American?

I’m talking about a system that provides a reasonable profit for the organizations which provide the medical services, but a non-profit basis for the organization that provides for payment to those medical providers. Yes, I’m talking about a single-payer system.

People are asked if they are willing to pay higher taxes for universal health care, and a surprising number answer in the affirmative. But I wonder if we are asking the right question. Given the amount of Medicare taxes withheld, the health insurance premiums you pay and the amount of out-of-pocket expense for medical that still remains, would your cost actually go up?

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