My best friend and I celebrated our 40th anniversary by fulfilling her dream: going to Scotland.
I got sick right after we arrived. After six days with a fever, I went to a Scottish hospital. With no appointment, I had just a 25-minute wait. A nurse-practitioner examined me, confirmed my fever, ruled out pneumonia, consulted with a doctor, and gave me a prescription for antibiotics.
Fearfully, I went to pay my bill. After checking my passport, the billing person assured me the visit was free. That’s right, free. What about the antibiotics? Nope, free too. Why? In 1948 Scotland chose to care for the health of all their people and visitors.
Meanwhile, America has the world’s most expensive healthcare system, but some of the worst outcomes in the first-world nations, including higher infant mortality and uninsured citizens dying without treatment. In fact, part of every premium you pay funds insurance company departments dedicated to denying coverage. So, while overhead for Medicare is about 2-3 percent, insurance companies add 15-30 percent to healthcare costs.
Americans face a moral choice. Continue the selfish Republican/Ayn Rand, every-man-for-himself model which lets Americans die to pad the bottom line of insurance companies and big pharma. Or, support the Bernie Sanders “Medicare for All” bill, which will “provide for the general welfare” and support the “inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and save up to 27 percent of healthcare costs.
Americans are caring people and believe in helping each other. Isn’t it time we showed it?