Tag Archives: universal healthcare

Military Spending, Universal Healthcare, and Higher Education

I haven’t posted any blogs for awhile but I feel a rant coming on… So, let’s do this!

Part 1: Military Spending

Military spending in the United States is absolutely insane and out of control. Military spending in the US was at $581 Billion in 2014.
2014-military-expenditures

That’s higher than the rest of the top 10 combined. Their combined total comes up to $566.3 billion compared to $581 billion from the US. Russia, considered one of the world’s super powers right up there with the US spends a meager 12% of what the US spends on military. This is, quite literally, insane. The most insane part of all is that it’s sacred. Nobody wants to touch it. Nobody even wants to talk about it. It’s not on the table. The only time it is on the table is increasing it even further!

2014-military-expenditures-pie

Insane. Absolutely insane.

Part 2: Universal Healthcare

Why the hell don’t we have universal healthcare? The overwhelming majority of Americans – 75 percent according to a 2005 Harris Poll – want what people in other wealthy countries have: the peace of mind of universal health insurance.

There is actually a bill that would have given us just that and I’ve mentioned it before, it was called H.R.676. It was heavily blocked in the House by health care industry lobbyists spending massive amounts of cash to buy off opposition. It wasn’t free of course, it was a single-payer health care system similar to our neighbor Canada.

Even those with insurance, when seeking medical treatment in the US can end up with bills in thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands or more. The sad reality is, due to healthcare costs many will likely wait to seek treatment until problems become severe, which doesn’t help them and certainly doesn’t help our nation’s health burden. Medical debt contributes to 46.2% of all personal bankruptcies, and 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claim high medical expenses. That was in 2001 and 2007 – since then health care costs have increased.

Did you know that the US pays TWICE as much for health care, yet is terribly behind other wealthy nations which offer the security of universal healthcare?

So where’s the money going? 15 cents of every private US health care dollar goes simply to shuffling paperwork. The administrative costs for our patched-together system of HMO’s, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, and government programs are nearly double those for single-payer Canada. It’s not because Americans are inherently less efficient than Canadians—our publicly funded Medicare system spends under five cents per budget dollar on administrative overhead. And the Veterans Administration, which functions like Britain’s socialized medical system, spends less per patient but consistently outranks private providers in patient satisfaction and quality of care.

But in the private sector, profits and excessive CEO pay are added to the paperwork and bureaucracy. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry averages a 17 percent profit margin, against three percent for all other businesses. In the health care industry, million-dollar CEO pay packages are the rule, with some executives pulling down more than $30 million a year in salary and amassing billion-dollar stock option packages.

Don’t let the concept of not-for-profit healthcare fool you though. We would actually save a great deal of money. As a nation, it would be something to the tune of $100 billion a year. It would also bring us up to par with all other wealthy nations around the world such as our neighbors in Canada, as well as the whole of Europe, and even many of the South East Asian countries such as Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

The worst part of it all? Politicians are convinced that the United States has “the best healthcare system in the world. Not only do we not have the best healthcare system in the world, we’re not the second, third, or even in the top five. Hell, we’re not even in the top 36. That’s right, according to the World Health Organization we rank #37:

1. France
2. Italy
3. San Marino
4. Andorra
5. Malta
6. Singapore
7. Spain
8. Oman
9. Austria
10. Japan
11. Norway
12. Portugal
13. Monaco
14. Greece
15. Iceland
16. Luxembourg
17. Netherlands
18. United  Kingdom
19. Ireland
20. Switzerland
21. Belgium
22. Colombia
23. Sweden
24. Cyprus
25. Germany
26. Saudi Arabia
27. United Arab Emirates
28. Israel
29. Morocco
30. Canada
31. Finland
32. Australia
33. Chile
34. Denmark
35. Dominica
36. Costa Rica
37. United States of America

But, we did beat Slovenia, so go us… I guess? If you’re a fan of Jon Stewart give this little segment a watch, it covers this very subject.

Part 3: Higher Education

Many countries offer college education for completely free with no tuition with the student only needing to cover their own living expenses. Some even pay the student to attend college. I could rant about how horrible our higher education system is in the US but I’ll just embed a video instead – it has sort of a conspiracy theory vibe to it but it presents a lot of otherwise useful information:

With that, I’ll just leave you with the sad truth that if we had lower military expenditures that we could not only completely remove student loan debt, we could offer higher education completely free to everyone – and we could do a hell o fa lot more than that.

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Political Proposals

Here are a few political proposals…

Allow National Referendums

The national initiative is a proposal to amend the United States Constitution to allow for ballot initiatives at the federal level. In other words, for the people to directly vote on Federal laws like is currently possible at the state level (in some states). In doing so, the American people could bypass the bureaucracy and bickering of Washington.

Eliminate Lobbying & Corruption

1. Eliminates political funding & campaign contributions.
2. Federally mandates equal funding to candidates, and BANS all other forms of campaign or political funding.
3. Federally mandates equal representation in news media and commercial media outlets OR establish a free and readily available Federal outlet (such as a TV channel) for such purpose and ban other instances.
5. Offers more scrutiny and regular mandatory investigations into Political candidates and their assets as a form of oversight and in doing so create a Federal organization to perform the investigations thereof for such purposes. Personal privacy rights of those running for office being waved for such.

Put H.R.676, “Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act” to vote by national referendum.

This law establishes national universal health insurance similar to Canada’s single-payer system and Britain’s socialized medical system.

This will save $100B annually due to 15c per $ currently going to shuffling paperwork, double that of Canada single-payer system, which would drop to 5c per $ under Medicare with lower administrative overhead and eliminating the Pharmaceuticals 17% profit margins compared to 3% for all other businesses.

What do you think? It’d be nice, yeah?

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Communism & Socialism

I was thinking about it, and why are Communism and Socialism bad?

I don’t know about other “Western” countries, but the US tends to view the two things in a very negative light. Communist even being a derogatory term, no doubt stemming from the Cold War where it likely meant something akin to traitor.

But what’s really so bad about it? We tend to crusade for Democracy, but Democracy has absolutely nothing to do with Communism or Socialism. It’s Capitalism which is the difference, and even a Capitalist state needs some form of socialism. Medicare, or universal healthcare as most wealthy nations have it, is a form of Socialism. It’s a very critical part of society, and it’s Socialism. In fact, so is Welfare. Actually, I think they’re moreso part of Communism than Socialism, albeit Communism is Socialism just taken a step further is it not?

So what’s so bad about Socialism and Communism, really?

From what I understand, the distinctions are: From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds (socialism). From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs (communism).

People say, well, it just leads to the oppression of civil rights. Why do the governed get no say? Why would Democratic Communism not work? Remember: Democracy is a system of government, Communism & Socialism are economic policies – it just so happens that most Communist states end up ran by Dictators. I think that most people forget this.

I think a limited Communist state would work. A Democratic (or rather Geniocratic, as I’d prefer it) government, and a Capitalistic free market for the majority of the economy. Then, the top x% that make more than $y, that money would instead go back into the system and be dispersed among the rest or used for the Socialist/Communist programs such as welfare, healthcare, and education.

For instance, that whole “we are the 99%” movement for the redistribution of wealth of those with the top 1% of wealth that made surplus of $506,000 annually – because who needs more than that, really?

We have executives making $XXm+ a year, atheletes making $XXXm+ a year, celebrities and music artists making $Xm+ a year… these are clearly not the most important members of society, but rather just the top end of consumption. But the problem with a pure capitalistic state, in my opinion, is that without caps on wealth then the wealth of a nation just stagnates in the coffers of a small percentage of the wealthy while the rest of the nation state suffers.

So what I’d do is say… if your income is more than x% than the average annual income then any excess wealth will then be redistributed back into the population, in large part going to fund socialist programs (healthcare, welfare, education), but the remainder redistributed.

It could be done through taxes, where the wealthy get a very severe tax beyond a certain income, and the redistribution is done for others via a tax credit in a proportional equal amount depending on their reported income after the socialist programs.

It would be, basically, a more extreme version of our current system… just with caps and limiting of economic loopholes. I mean if you made $500,000 annually, I don’t think anyone would be able to say you were bad off… but you wouldn’t be so far above the rest of the population that you controlled a majority stake in the entire economy.

What do you think? I mean I’m not an economist, but it sounds good to me.

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