NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN

Learn more about the details of our National Health Insurance proposal

My name is William Ulrich, and I have three rainbows pushing me to give America a better health care plan. I also have a fist full of $500 and $1,000 bills I will be sending to at least twenty-five of the most influential people in America. (Photo on right)

For those who don’t know, thousand dollar bills were pulled out of circulation after the Lindbergh kidnapping because the ransom was paid with thousand dollar bills, and the government thought that by pulling the bills out of circulation they might track down the kidnappers. Not surprisingly, the remaining bills are valuable collector items. Of course, my decision to send out these collector items is not to bring attention to myself, but because it’s the best thing I can think of to bring attention to what I believe is a better healthcare option than all the others being offered to the public.

A NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN


The Problem


America needs a better healthcare system.


Under the current system, about 45,000 people die each year because they do
not have health insurance. (According to the American Journal of Public Health).
Hundreds of thousands of families go bankrupt every year because of medical
expenses, even if they have health insurance. (According to a study run by Dr.
David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s
Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, it is about 530,000
families a year.)


Millions more families are being devastated because they cannot even afford
the deductibles under the current system.


Some die sooner than they should. Others are dying from treatable illnesses
because they do not get treatment.


And American businesses have higher costs because of sick employees and high
health insurance premiums, which means profits are lower than they could be.


The question is: why is all this happening?
The answer is simple. It is not because of doctors and hospitals.


It is because of private health insurance companies that refuse to pay for people
with medical histories; insurance companies that call medical histories pre-existing
conditions and use it as an excuse to not pay. It should just be called a medical
history, because everyone has a medical history, and it is information that should
be used to help determine the best treatment people receive, not to deny treatment.
Insurance companies are behind most of the bad stuff, because it all comes back
to insurance companies refusing to insure people, refusing to pay bills, refusing to
pay complete bills, having people stuck with high deductibles, and so on.
This is the 21st-century. And it is America. And in the 21st-century in America,
it makes no sense for people to be dying, and for Americans to be living sicker and
shorter lives than people in other countries.


Everyone should have access to and be receiving medical care and information
that will prevent sickness and disease.


And when someone is sick, he or she should receive treatment, which includes
doctors, medical equipment, drugs, and so on.


If someone is sick, there should be no questions, just treatment.
And in that world, drug prices can not be set by monopolies.
Drug companies should not be allowed to sell a drug in the United States for
$2,000 that they sell in Europe for $8.

The truth is: We know why all the bad stuff is happening. We know why people
are dying. We know what’s wrong. We know how great American doctors and
hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are.


So if America has the best doctors, the best medical equipment, the best
hospitals, the best pharmaceutical companies, what is the problem?
The answer is simple: private health insurance companies.


There are things, as every economist can tell you, that cannot be handled well
enough by private individuals and companies.


National defense is one. Protecting property rights is another. Providing an
economic infrastructure that is good for incomes and profits is another.
And if we look at the numbers and reality, using facts instead of political
dogma, we can see that healthcare is being disrupted by allowing private insurance
companies to make decisions that are in their interest, but not in the interest of the
people or the businesses of the United States.


Therefore, the solution is simple. Government has to become the insurance
company for the American people and American business.


It is not a question of fairness.
It is not a question of whether or not healthcare is a right.
It is about economics and the economy and economic efficiency and wasting
resources. It is about incomes and profits and increasing exports and decreasing
imports.


And the economic solution is simple: it is to have government be America’s
health insurance company so that the greatest doctors, the greatest hospitals, and
the greatest pharmaceutical companies in the world can provide the greatest health
care in the world.


The bottom line should be obvious: There is absolutely no reason for the United
States to not have the best healthcare and the best results in the world.
Not doing so is an “economic crime.”


Not surprisingly, Wall Street does not like the idea of government handling
health insurance, because Wall Street wants to protect the value of health insurance
companies.


We are more interested in protecting human lives, families, business profits, and
the United States economy.


The Solution


How many times have you heard a politician say Americans cannot afford to have
healthcare that is as good as everyone else in the industrialized world has?
How many times have you heard someone respond by saying that if we are
spending two to three times as much per person as every other industrialized
country, what is it that we can’t afford?

The United States is the only country in the world where people end up in
bankruptcy because of healthcare costs.


Of course, fixing healthcare is not just a personal issue. High healthcare costs
and high health insurance premiums increase the cost of doing business for every
American company, which not only affects profits and wages, but leads to more
imports and fewer exports.


Given that healthcare reform is inevitable, and after conducting extensive
research on the issue and concluding that no other entity or politician has proposed
anything as efficient as our plan, The Rainbow Movement is sharing its discoveries
and solutions with you below.


A healthcare plan based on economics—NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE—
will increase profits, incomes, economic growth, and exports while decreasing
imports and eliminating bankruptcies caused by excessive healthcare costs. It will
also let people make better plans for the future and make it easier for virtually
anyone to start a new business.


The United States is spending two to three as much per person as all other
industrialized countries, each of which has some sort of National Health Care. And
according to virtually all measures of health, the United States has some of the
worst results.


We are currently spending $3.7 trillion a year on healthcare, which is almost
20% of Gross Domestic Product (currently about $20 trillion a year), which means
by leaving health care in the hands of private health insurance companies and by
not regulating pharmaceutical prices, the United States is wasting trillions of
dollars a year while providing its citizens with some of the least effective care.
All of which explains why a large majority of Americans would like to have a
NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE system with the government replacing
private health insurance companies while leaving care in the hands of private
hospitals and doctors.


Although a number of plans have been offered, each projecting both financial
savings and better health for Americans, a major problem with each plan is how to
manage the change without a massive and costly disruption.
After extensive reading and research, we have concluded that the least
disruptive and most efficient way to handle the change from a system based on
private health insurance companies to a system with government-managed
insurance is to phase in the new system over a number of years.
Instead of spending billions of dollars to re-employ the massive number of
health insurance employees whose jobs will be lost with an instant elimination of
private health insurance companies, a phased-in change will result in a more

controllable movement of workers from private health insurance companies to
more productive jobs.


Our solution is simple.


Each year, the age of eligibility to move onto Medicare is reduced by one year.
In the first year, the age is dropped to from 65 to 64. The next year from 64 to 63.
Then 62. And so on, until everyone is smoothly and efficiently moved onto
Medicare.


And because each age group that moves onto Medicare requires less medical
spending that the older people already on Medicare, the average spending per
person by Medicare will decline every year.


Another advantage of such a phase-in is that each year the most expensive age
group to insure, which is the oldest, will move from private insurance to Medicare,
which means private health insurance premiums should also decline year-by-year,
reducing costs and increasing profits for companies that pay for all or part of their
employees’ health insurance premiums.


Our conclusion is that there are no economic or business reasons not to move to
a NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE program.


And by phasing in the new system, as we are recommending, the change can be
smooth, effortless, and efficient.


Because of that, we will be using our resources and energy to promote this
phase-in policy as one of our most important rainbow projects.


Questions and Answers
What do you say to people who say we can’t afford national healthcare?
The answer is simple. We are already paying for it. Anyone who says we can’t
afford to have government handle health insurance for everyone is assuming that
what we’re getting now is free, which is obviously not true, or that the costs will
increase if government replaces private health insurance companies. The truth is,
by avoiding the waste and fraud in the private insurance industry, we will lower
total spending on health insurance. Again, we are talking about government
replacing private health insurance companies, not socialized medicine. Doctors,
hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies remain private; they would not be owned
or run by the government. We do, however, have more than enough evidence to
know that pharmaceutical prices and some medical prices must be regulated. There
is nothing that helps American business and the American economy by allowing a
pharmaceutical company to sell a drug in America for $2,000 that it sells in Europe
for $8, given that the company is making a profit with its European sales.

 

How does your plan address the 26 million people who are currently
uninsured?
Unless Medicare For All is adopted, those people will remain uninsured. Given the
current Republican view and the power of medical and pharmaceutical lobbyists, it
is unlikely a Medicare For All plan will pass Congress and be signed by the
president. Therefore, reducing the Medicare age one year at a time is a beginning.
It’s like the idea, or fact, that a thousand mile journey begins with a single step.
And by moving in the right direction, which would be to begin by lowering the
Medicare age to 64, we believe the measurable benefits versus the measurable
costs will lead to dropping the age by more than one year at a time in the future. In
other words, we are talking about a beginning that both Democrats and
Republicans might get behind.


How much will it cost just to reduce the qualifying age from 65 to 64?
The simple answer is to multiply the number of people who are 64 (just under four
million) times the average cost per person now on Medicare (about $11,500),
which comes to about $46 billion in extra government spending.
However, that number is far from accurate.


A more accurate (and much smaller) number was offered in an article by Dean
Baker, a macroeconomist and senior economist at the Center for Economic and
Policy Research in Washington, D.C. (published by Truthout)
What Baker did is look more carefully at the facts.
Here is what he came up with:
About twenty percent of 64-year-olds are already on Medicare (on Social
Security disability). More than ten percent are being covered by Medicaid. Forty to
fifty percent are current or former government employees who are already covered
by government insurance. And Medicare spending for 64-year-olds is going to be
maybe seventy percent of the current average, or about $5,750 per year (because
they are younger).


Put all the facts together and we get a number for additional government
spending of maybe $13.8 billion (which, as Baker points out, “...is less than 0.3
percent of total spending or one week of the military budget.”)


How will it be paid for?
We are already paying for the healthcare we are getting. And because the
administrative costs of Medicare are much lower than those for private insurance
companies, we are spending more than we have to spend. Right now, corporations

pay either all or part of the health insurance policies for their employees, and self-
employed people are paying their own health insurance premiums, which, under

the ACA, are incredibly high. Ideally, we would switch the payments currently

being made to insurance companies over to Medicare. However, the bureaucracy
required to accomplish that is overwhelming. Therefore, the best way to pay for
insurance that will include all Americans is to repeal the Trump tax cuts for
corporations and the very rich and use that money to fund the government run
insurance program. That would, in reality, be imposing taxes on corporations that
are currently paying for their employees health insurance, but through taxes on
corporate profits.


Is it a good idea to tax corporate profits to pay for health insurance?
It is better than the current system, because profits are an after-tax expense while
paying for insurance for employees is a business expense. In order to improve
American companies competitiveness in the world, it is better to tax profits than to
have them incurring the high costs of private health insurance.


Are there other cost savings with your plan?
One of the major savings is the transition cost accompanying an immediate
Medicare For All plan. Estimates for handling the unavoidable unemployment in
the health insurance industry are in the $65 billion range. By lowering the
Medicare age one year at a time, the transition will be much easier and less costly.
In fact, the economy could handle the relatively small movement of people from
health insurance companies to more productive jobs without the government
incurring any expenses.


What about the concern that your plan will take a long time before everyone
is covered?
What I expect this plan to do, if it is implemented, is to year-by-year show that the
naysayers are wrong and that the dire predictions of disaster are unfounded, and
that after a few years we will decide to lower the age by maybe five years, maybe
ten years, maybe more, not based on ideas and arguments, but based on facts that
we can now see. In other words, it may be true that a journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step, but it is also true that once the journey begins, you might
decide to start running because the journey is so good.

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© 2019 by William Ulrich