I'm wondering why we can almost casually dump $700 billion into a bank bailout but it's unthinkable that we would spend an equal amount to provide universal health insurance.
Some quick math that may or may not be in the ballpark: Current health insurance prices are about $4400 per person/year or about $12,000 for a family of four. If we assume everyone buys as an individual and there are 300,000,000 Americans it would take $1.32 trillion to cover everyone. The US already spends about quite a bit on healthcare with Medicare (health insurance for old folks) costing about $440 billion and Medicaid (for poor people) about $300 billion. For an extra $580 billion we could buy a health insurance policy for every man, woman and child in the country.
If you propose that conservatives howl, "Oh no, way too expensive, we can't afford that." But a week ago a handful of people in government decided (perhaps correctly) that we suddenly needed to pump a lot more than that into the banking and finance industry, and while there's some grumbling, pretty much everyone just accepts that it's something that needs to be done and does it. When the hell will we decide that assuring that every American has health insurance needs to be done and just do it? (These are all pretty rough numbers I pulled up in a few minutes of Googling but I also left out the money currently spent by states who fund part of Medicaid, as well as all the federal spending on military healthcare. If anyone has petter numbers I'd be happy to see them.)
Labels: health care