According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, health care costs are the number one economic issue facing American families. Universal healthcare as a fiscal stimulus would provide the following benefits:
- A healthier population saves money. Many people want to purchase insurance but cannot obtain it at any price. Others cannot afford the premiums. Many people with health insurance today are on high deductible plans. In all three scenarios, people tend to wait until their medical condition becomes intolerable before seeking treatment. If every American had guaranteed issue health insurance where the entire population came under community rating, affordable coverage and medical care costs would allow people to obtain care before a problem became catastrophically expensive.
- The power of numbers. Requiring every American to have health insurance brings costs down through volume. Insurance companies have often said they do not object to universal coverage that includes everyone because it spreads the risk over a large enough population.
- If it’s good enough for Congress… Universal coverage does not have to mean a single payer system. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or Medicare could be opened to all Americans. Americans would select an insurance provider. Any American not satisfied with the universal plan would still be able to purchase supplemental coverage (just as Medicare beneficiaries do).
- Peace of mind= greater productivity. When people don’t have to worry about how they’ll meet their medical needs, they can free their minds to be more productive, thus strengthening the economy. Many people stay in jobs they despise solely for health insurance.
- Less bankruptcies = greater prosperity. Nearly half of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical costs.
- U.S. companies will become more competitive. Since all the industrialized nations provide universal healthcare, U.S. companies are at a cost disadvantage in the global marketplace.
Most forecasters have estimated that Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan would cost around $110 billion. The various “stimulus” packages currently circulating would cost between $100-150 billion. The American people deserve government spending that is truly meaningful. Opening up the government’s healthcare program to all Americans now would do just that.