Thanks to sky-high monthly premiums and multi-thousand dollar deductibles, many of us already have health insurance and medical costs on our minds all too often. We might be trying to balance our budgets to cover premiums. We might be worrying that we won’t meet our deductibles and will have to pay for expensive care out of pocket. We might just be facing the fine that isn’t a fine when we file our taxes. In any case, it's an ever-present nagging worry in the back of many minds.
Last year, one of the Democratic presidential candidates really brought this worry to the forefront with his proposal of “Medicare for all.” He claimed it would save the average person thousands each year. Critics claimed it would raise taxes astronomically and bankrupt the country.
The internet exploded in a spate of vitriol like I haven’t seen in years. Television talking heads got hot under the collar. Newspapers carried letters to the editor. The proposal went down in flames...and we all saw what happened later on in the presidential race.
I’m not here to write about politics. And I’m not here to advocate for a single-payer healthcare system. The problems with our system go much, much deeper than that, and single-payer is the ultimate tool for Big Brother to tell you just what medical care you can or—even MUST—have.
No. What I want to talk about today is just how much of the country’s astronomical healthcare tab is already funded by your tax dollars and mine. And it’s much, much worse than you think.
Your taxes already pay for most of our healthcare
The official line is that about 45% of all healthcare costs are taxpayer-funded. This, we’re told, pays for medical care for veterans through the VA. It pays for public health services like the CDC. It pays for Medicare for older Americans and Medicaid for the most destitute.
Those are all worthy causes, and I don’t begrudge my hard-earned dollars being spent for these purposes. They could all use an overhaul, true, but that’s another story. What we’re not being told is this: a huge chunk of my tax dollars and yours goes to buy private coverage for public employees—like members of Congress. To the 45% we’re already paying, tack on another twenty-eight percent to pay for private insurance for public employees like Congresspeople, teachers, and firefighters.
And then there are the tax dollars that subsidize private employer-paid plans—which mainly benefit more affluent families. Add another $326 billion to your bill for that. Forget the 45% we’re told we pay. Our taxes actually pay sixty-five percent of the country’s healthcare bill, and that’s expected to go up to 67% soon.
All together, we spent an outrageous 2.1 trillion of our tax dollars on healthcare costs last year. That’s about $6,500 per person. And THAT is more per person than any other country in the world except Switzerland spends.
Think about that for a moment.
Nearly every country in the developed world has universal healthcare, paid for by taxes. We, on the other hand, pay more in healthcare taxes yet still have to spend thousands of dollars per year on private health insurance—insurance which is so insanely expensive that many of us will never even be able to use it.
THIS is one of the many big lies about healthcare that the Big Guys would like to keep under wraps.
Why am I telling you this?
We all know that something simply has to give when it comes to healthcare and health insurance. Some kind of change has to happen. The lies we were told about the ACA become clearer all the time—and there are more of them than I can count. And though we were promised a repeal of this monstrosity, it’s looking more and more like we were lied to once again. I’d love to see a repeal, but I’m not holding my breath.
We’re not paying less for insurance, as we were falsely promised we would way back when. Instead we’re paying more. Much, much more in many cases. We’ve lost plans that fit our budgets and been forced into plans we don’t want and can’t afford. We’re restricted in what doctors we can see. We’re still hit with unexpected and outrageous bills. The ACA hasn’t cut the number of people using the emergency room at taxpayer expense—in fact the numbers have gone up.
And guess what? We’re still going bankrupt because of unpaid medical bills. The main thing that’s changed—unless you have a “preexisting condition”—is that we’re paying much more for much less.
Something has to change. And it will. The question is, will the change be something we want? Something that benefits us? Or will it be something even worse than what we have? This is why we need to be informed. We need to know all the facts, not just the ones our fearless leaders want us to know. It’s impossible to have a truly informed opinion if you don’t have all the facts.
Big Government is in flux right now. We’re still feeling the aftershocks of the election, and you can bet that nothing will be done on a federal level any time in the near future—and what happens then will depend a lot on what other kinds of chaos are going on in the hallowed halls of the capitol. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has a new and as yet unknown face---a justice who, ultimately, will have the deciding vote in any health-related cases that come before the Court.
What happens next is anybody’s guess. But if we, the people, want to have any say in things, we need to arm ourselves with all the facts we can get our hands on—like those above. Here’s what you can do:
- Don’t take anything at face value—fact-check every health and health policy-related claim you hear.
- Go to the source. Seek out statistics yourself.
- Voice your opinion to the people who make the rules. Write, call, and email your state legislators and your governor. Contact your Congresspeople, and even the president himself.
Something has to change. And we, the people, NOT Big Pharma and Big Insurance, should be the driving force behind whatever that change is.