Liberation From Fear in The Age of Trump 3: Healthcare Hell

1. Healthcare Hell in the USA

The United States life expectancy of 78.4 years at birth, up from 75.2 years in 1990, ranks it 50th among 221 nations, and 27th out of the 34 industrialized OECD countries, down from 20th in 1990.[5][6] Of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health in 2013, the United States had the highest or near-highest prevalence of obesity, car accidents, infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, and homicides. On average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country, though notably Americans aged 75 live longer than those who reach that age in other developed nations.[7] A 2014 survey of the healthcare systems of 11 developed countries found the US healthcare system to be the most expensive and worst-performing in terms of health access, efficiency, and equity.[8]

Gallup recorded that the uninsured rate among U.S. adults was 11.9% for the first quarter of 2015, continuing the decline of the uninsured rate outset by the Affordable Care Act.[15] A 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report said: “The United States is among the few industrialized nations in the world that does not guarantee access to health care for its population.” A 2004 OECD report said: “With the exception of Mexico, Turkey, and the United States, all OECD countries had achieved universal or near-universal (at least 98.4% insured) coverage of their populations by 1990.” Recent evidence demonstrates that lack of health insurance causes some 45,000 to 48,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States.[16][17] In 2007, 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claimed high medical expenses. A 2013 study found that about 25% of all senior citizens declare bankruptcy due to medical expenses, and 43% are forced to mortgage or sell their primary residence.[18]

Of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health in 2013, the United States was at or near the top in infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, homicides, and rates of disability. Together, such issues place the U.S. at the bottom of the list for life expectancy. On average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country.[7]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 49.9 million residents, 16.3% of the population, were uninsured in 2010 (up from 49.0 million residents, 16.1% of the population, in 2009).[24][25] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($7,146), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (15.2%), than any other nation in 2008.[26] The United States had the fourth highest level of government health care spending per capita ($3,426), behind three countries with higher levels of GDP per capita: Monaco, Luxembourg, and Norway.[26] A 2001 study in five states found that medical debt contributed to 46.2% of all personal bankruptcies and in 2007, 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claimed high medical expenses.[27] Since then, health costs and the numbers of uninsured and underinsured have increased.[28] A 2013 study found that about 25% of all senior citizens declare bankruptcy due to medical expenses.[18]

The U.S. pays twice as much as Canada yet lags behind other wealthy nations in such measures as infant mortality and life expectancy. Currently, the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than most of the world’s industrialized nations.[nb 1][29] In the United States life expectancy is 42nd in the world, after some other industrialized nations, lagging the other nations of the G5 (Japan, France, Germany, U.K., U.S.) and just after Chile (35th) and Cuba (37th).[30]

Life expectancy at birth in the U.S., 78.49, is 50th in the world, below most developed nations and some developing nations. Monaco is first with 89.68. Chad is last with 48.69. With 72.4% Americans of European ancestry,[31] life expectancy is below the average life expectancy for the European Union.[32][33] The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).[34][35] In 2008 the Commonwealth Fund, an advocacy group seeking greater government involvement in US healthcare, then led by former Carter administration official Karen Davis,[36] ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among similar countries,[37] and notes U.S. care costs the most.[38]

United States ranks close to the bottom compared to other industrialized countries on several important health issues affecting mortality: low birth weight and infant mortality, injuries and murder, teen pregnancy and STDs, HIV and AIDS, deaths resulting from drug overdoses, obesity and diabetes, heart disease, COPD, and general disability.[39]

A 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report said: “The United States is among the few industrialized nations in the world that does not guarantee access to health care for its population.”[40] A 2004 OECD report said: “With the exception of Mexico, Turkey, and the United States, all OECD countries had achieved universal or near-universal (at least 98.4% insured) coverage of their populations by 1990.”[41] The 2004 IOM report observed “lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States”,[40] while a 2009 Harvard study conducted by co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, a pro-single payer advocacy group, estimated that 44,800 excess deaths occurred annually due to lack of health insurance.[42]

(Source: ”Health Care in the United States”)

2. What the Fuck?

In view of the overwhelmingly obvious two-part fact that universal free healthcare, aka single payer healthcare, is not only the norm amongst industrialized countries, hence it could be easily afforded by the USA, but is also infinitely superior to the healthcare hell that exists in the USA, then I ask you: what the fuck?

Well, consider this:

Health care in the United States is provided by many distinct organizations.[1] Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by private sector businesses. 58% of US community hospitals are non-profit, 21% are government owned, and 21% are for-profit.[2] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($8,608), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (17.2%), than any other nation in 2011. 64.3% of which was paid for by the government in 2013.[3][4]

(Source: ”Health Care in the United States”)

So the overwhelmingly obvious answer to the WtF? question is this:

Privately-owned healthcare providers, privately owned healthcare insurance companies, and rich doctors in the USA are making out like bandits and don’t give a a shit about you.

Wait! I think I hear the phrase “American exceptionalism” springing to many lips.

But, please don’t give me that bullshit:

American exceptionalism as applied to healthcare (or anything else) is nothing but a self-serving cognitive illusion for fat cats, and everyone who isn’t in the grip of a cognitive illusion knows it.

Now as I pointed out in the earlier two essays in this series, on poverty and economic oppression, and on the job dilemma between either unemployment or shit jobs, President-Elect Trump, who received 46.3% of the popular vote, is a billionaire — a greedy, ruthless billionaire.

So for most people, the act of supporting Trump, and voting for Trump, was what is called internalizing your oppressor: kissing the foot of the person who is stepping on your head.

Do you really think that, over the next 4 or 8 years, he and all the other rich people in the Trump governing elite are even going to attempt to fix healthcare hell in the USA?

Hell no. Of course not.

Even Obamacare, which, sadly, is nothing but a pathetic band-aid for a gushing national wound, is going to be repealed by the Trump administration and governing elite as soon they take power, and then, strategically, dismantled after the mid-term elections.

So, for as long as Trump is POTUS and nothing is done to fix healthcare hell, unless you’re rich or have a high-income job, well above the median yearly household income of $56,516.00 USD (according to the US Census Bureau Report on Income and Poverty in the USA for 2015), you’re screwed.

3. Universal Basic Income, a Fifteen-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs, Eco-Jobs, and Universal Free Healthcare

According to The Wake The Fuck Up! Party , aka The WTFU Party, and its Universal Basic Income (UBI) proposal:

· Anyone 21 years of age or over who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.

Moreover, over and above UBI, The WTFU Party is also proposing a Fifteen Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs), which says:

· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.

So anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.

***

Here are a few more details about UBI and eco-jobs.

(i) The UBI is to be paid by a monthly stipend check.

(ii) Eco-job income is not taxed.

(iii) For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.

(iv) For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, that recipient’s total UBI is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s total UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.

(v) For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.

***

Now what about healthcare? According to The WTFU Party and its Universal Free Healthcare (UFH) proposal:

· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.

4. Two Decisive Reasons for Implementing UFH, Together With UBI and Eco-Jobs

First, although it is true that, under the system of UBI together with eco-jobs, no one would ever suffer from poverty or economic oppression again, and also no one who is capable of working and who wants to work would ever be unemployed again, nevertheless, if UFH were not implemented starting in 2021, then most people living permanently in the USA would still suffer from healthcare hell.

Second, under the collective system of UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH, not only would no one ever suffer from poverty or economic oppression again, and also no one who is capable of working and who wants to work ever be unemployed again, forever, but also healthcare hell in the USA would be ended forever.

5. Two Things You Can Do Right Now

In order to make UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs, eco-jobs, and UFH a reality, you can do these two things right now:

That’s only four years away.

Only four years away from no more fear of living in healthcare hell, forever.

Mr Nemo, Nowhere, NA, 10 December 2016

***

The WTFU Party is a sub-project of the online mega-project Philosophy Without Borders, aka PWB, which is home-based on Patreon here. The WTFU Party and all the sub-projects of PWB are supported entirely by the generosity of patrons who think that the world would be a little bit worse if projects like these didn’t exist.

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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