Universal health care is the only humane system for a nation of such great wealth, and the only logical discussion is how to get there. Except, why has this Congress not taken a baby step? Why has it not authorized Medicare to negotiate drug prices?
Other first world nations have found their own way to provide government sponsored universal health care to their people. Japan does it yet is able to provide nearly instant services at extremely low cost to the residents (yes, it is not restricted to citizens).
Britain provides care at very low cost but has delivery delays that trouble some. Germany provides both excellent care in a timely fashion, but is more not as inexpensive.
Taiwan studied these and other universal systems as well as the American model. As they put it, our system is “what happens when you don’t do anything.” They found it to be worse than the other models because we pay the most for the least benefits.
But while politicians pronounce, announce, promise, debate and dither about their way to get there, there is at least one single step that could be taken now and it would result in enormous savings to Americans.
We need to authorize Medicare to negotiate drug prices for its beneficiaries.
Medicare carries enormous clout in setting prices – ask hospitals and doctors. Yet they are prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices, an insane policy that was wrong when adopted and even more glaringly now.
There are many things that can be said about health care and what changes are needed to bring the entire system into balance and to provide excellent health care. But as usual, Congress is in love with the charade we call democracy, they would rather talk about something than doing it.
Maybe none of the ideas now out there are the entire answer. Maybe each has some merit and eventually the system we will get be a synthesis of current and future plans. But wouldn’t it be better to just get started, test out one change at a time until we are able to agree on the next one.
Congress, just do it.