Common Dreams , December 11, 2014
by Larry Smith
Single-payer health care reform (some call it improved and expanded Medicare for all for life) isn't just good for those folks under 65 who aren't yet on Medicare. Single-payer financing for our health care system isn't just good for public budgets and business bottom lines. Single-payer health care reform would allow most of us to spend a lot less than we do now on health care costs.
Take this scenario. A 70-year-old, retired Social Security recipient who is receiving $1,632 in monthly benefit payments and who has no other pension or retirement funds is paying 33 percent of his monthly income for health care costs.
A $104.90 premium payment to Medicare for his Part B coverage comes directly out of his Social Security benefits;
His Medicare Part D coverage premium is approximately $40;
His Medicare supplemental coverage is $206 each month;
Additionally, his other out-of-pocket medical costs have averaged another $200 each month;
He has also paid into the Medicare system for more than four decades of his working life.
That’s a whopping $550.90 per month or 33 percent of that $1,632 per month income.
In contrast, a U.S. resident who makes $200,000 per year and purchases a top-shelf, private health policy at a cost of $1,300 per month (and also has out-of-pocket costs of $200 more per month) spends 9 percent of his or her income on health care costs.
You can imagine how awful this looks if we were to look at the figures for those earning even more than $200,000 per year! For example, someone making $1,000,000 per year pays less than 2 percent towards health costs.