KADNER: Trump gives new life to the call for universal health care

SHARE KADNER: Trump gives new life to the call for universal health care

Supporters of single-payer health care march to the California Capitol, , April 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Donald Trump may be responsible for convincing a majority of Americans that single-payer national health insurance makes sense.

The president has said he wants to repeal Obamacare, but do it in a humane way. He has said, among many other things, that wants to make sure the poor, children and people suffering from chronic illnesses can afford quality health care.


He understands on some gut level that people shouldn’t be denied access to doctors just because they don’t have the money to pay health insurance premiums or jobs that provide health insurance.

Before Trump’s election, Republicans in Congress had spent years calling for the repeal of Obamacare. They said it was socialism, un-American and too costly.

But now they are desperately trying to find some sort of realistic replacement and discovering that it is basically impossible.

That’s because Obamacare itself was a bastardized version of universal health care, designed as a short-term solution to a major health care crisis.

By relying on the private insurance companies, former President Barack Obama’s health care plan virtually guaranteed that premiums would escalate to the point that people would no longer be able to pay for them.

The idea was to create a situation that the country is facing today, the realization that single-payer universal health care is the only system that makes sense. That’s why it’s the standard in the rest of the civilized world where health care is paid for by the government.

That makes sense for a lot of reasons. For one, it allows the government to control health care costs and reduces the profits of price gouging corporate entities.

Right now, health insurance companies make billions of dollars that do nothing to improve health care. That’s money that could be, should be, used to pay for hospital rooms, lab tests, doctor’s visits for children, vaccinations.

But there’s an even bigger reason for universal health care.

Politically speaking it’s the most practical system. Everyone gets the same health care.

Under the current system, you pit rich against poor, old against young, the employed with insurance against those who have jobs but no insurance.

Many people have forgotten that President Obama was elected promising to provide national health care for all Americans.

The deeply flawed program he eventually passed was a compromise because Republicans and health insurance companies didn’t want true universal health care and successfully lobbied against it. They raised the specter of a tax increase to fund national health care.

It seems like ancient history, but it wasn’t long ago that people who were sick, individuals with pre-existing conditions, were denied access to health insurance. That was inhumane and today President Trump and most Republicans admit as much.

In addition, many American companies coming out of the Great Recession and trying to compete internationally decided to eliminate health insurance for their employees. Companies in Japan, China, Canada, Germany and everywhere else in the world don’t have to pay for their employees’ health care because the government does it for them. American companies spend billions of dollars to provide health care to their employees.

The U.S. spends more than $2 trillion annually on health care, far more than any other nation in the world. Yet, studies show we do not have the best health care outcomes.

Republicans, despite all their talk of market competition, have no realistic alternative to Obamacare. Millions of Americans will be denied health insurance.

The President has inadvertently given new life to single-payer universal health care. Donald Trump may be the reason it becomes the law of the land.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com

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