Nostalgic for the good old days? Check out the BBC series called “Back In Time – For Dinner”. You can find the episodes online. The series traces 20th century British history – through food. I learned that even though WWII ended in 1945, food rationing in Britain continued for 9 years afterwards!!! The Brits finally threw out their ration books on July 4th, 1954. To me, however, the most shocking fact was that 6 years earlier – on July 5, 1948 – the National Health Service was born. Although the UK was quite literally rebuilding bombed out cities, food was rationed, and only 2% of households owned a refrigerator[i], Great Britain found the money to ensure that every person could see a doctor when they were sick.
Fast forward to today. In 2015, Great Britain managed to provide healthcare to every man, woman and child for an average cost of $4,003 while the US covered less people at more than double the cost ($9,451)[ii]. Do we get more for our money? Even though we spend more, we die sooner. Americans have a life expectancy of 78.8 years compared with England’s 81.1 years[iii].
Normally, I refrain from politics in this blog. However, as I meet with retirees and pre-retirees, the health care debate is not political. It’s personal.
In my business I meet with two types of clients:
- Those who are on Medicare
- Those who want to be on Medicare
Except for those served by the VA, I have yet to meet someone who is over the age of 65 who wants to give their Medicare card back.
Recently the House of Representatives passed HR 1628 – or Trump Care. It hasn’t made its way to the Senate, but this law would repeal Obamacare and wipe out the pre-existing conditions protections. If you are reading this column, you are more likely than not to have a pre-existing condition – since 68% of retirees have a chronic illness (compared to 33% of Brits[iv]). We don’t get younger or healthier.
The answer that every other industrialized nation in the world embraces is single payer. This has been introduced in the US House of Representative under bill HR 676. Only two Arizona congressmen – Raul Grijalva & Ruben Gallego have signed on to support single payer – or Medicare for All. This bill not only expands coverage to everyone in the country, but it also expands what Medicare covers. Under HR 676, virtually all necessary medical expenses will be covered without premiums or copays, including:
- Doctor’s visits and lab tests
- Prescription drugs
- Nursing home care
Why are only two Congressmen standing alone in support of this bill? Below is a chart of the senators and congressmen representing Arizona. I’ve also included a list of their campaign contributions from the healthcare industry according to OpenSecrets.org. Give them a call. Attend town meetings. Let them know how you feel about their vote – especially if you voted for them in the last election.
|Jeff Flake||AZ Senator||N/A||$702,032||602-840-1891|
|John McCain||AZ Senator||N/A||$448,785||602-952-2410|
Don’t know who your representative is? Download the “Congress” app for Android or “Countable” for Apple devices. These apps pinpoint who your reps are in Washington and have a handy dandy feature that will dial their office for you.
In all great civil rights battles, those who have rights and privileges stand up for those without.
- Freemen stood up for slaves in the 1860’s.
- Men stood up for women in the 1920’s.
- Whites stood up for blacks in the 1960’s.
It’s time for those with Medicare to stand up for those without. It may save the life of your son, daughter, friend, or co-worker. It will definitely save the life of a stranger that you don’t know.
Originally published in July 2017 Lovin Life After 50