in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
Fund health care for everyone via a uniform tax
From: Bea A., Tonasket, WA
Along with the latest depressing figures on poverty in the United States, this week we learned that 50.7 million Americans now lack health insurance. While poverty has many root causes, there's an obvious link between these two phenomena: the level of poverty and the lack of health insurance.
Many Americans can relate sad stories of medical expenses driving them into poverty. Colossal amounts of money are spent on health care in this country, while everyone agrees that the system has evolved into a confused, mind-boggling mess. Insurance (every type of insurance) is a system of shared risk, in which everyone puts money into a pool -- those who are likely to have a claim, as well as those who are less likely. Claims are then paid out of the pool.
The Obama Administration has tried hard to find a creative solution to the problem of the uninsured, but unfortunately, the latest health care bill is probably not going to be very successful. There's already a concerted opposition to the requirement to buy insurance. There were political reasons, of course, why it worked out this way; but it's easy to foresee the problems the mandate will run into.
It would go a long way towards mitigating poverty in this country if everyone was able to obtain necessary health care. And the only way to accomplish this is to create a pool of premiums. Instead of the requirement to buy insurance, the only practical solution would be, to fund health care via a uniform tax, similar to the Medicare tax.