Credit: Hari Aprianto/Freepik

“Who’s gonna pay for it?” is a common refrain heard when the subject of CalCare or Medicare for All comes up. Such individuals will often frame their hesitation in the guise of financial responsibility. Certainly, the price tag can give many people pause. Thinking about such figures is enough to make people envision scenarios of complete economic collapse with the rise of roving bands of thieves in heavily armored vehicles fighting each other for a vial of amoxicillin. (If you have not seen Mad Max Fury Road, it is a great film — not to be confused with Mad Max Furry Road which is Mad Max walking along a dog park).

But I digress.

The answer to this pompous pecuniary posturing is simple: we are already paying for it. We pay twice as much for health care in this country as countries that have a CalCare or Medicare for All system.

Ali Javanbakht | Courtesy

Here’s the financial roadmap: We take all the money we are currently putting into our system in terms of monthly fees paid by employers, monthly fees paid by enrollees, co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurances and put them all into CalCare. The biggest dilemma we’ll have is what we’ll do with all the money we save and what we’ll do with so many of the population being healthy and not going into financial ruin due to medical costs.

So all the hand-wringing that takes place when considering the cost of CalCare will be sorely out of place if we do not apply that same level of hand wringing to the cost of keeping our current system. If the concern is genuinely financial, that makes the impetus for CalCare or Medicare for All even stronger.

But that is only looking at the direct cost of CalCare. What that does not take into account is the “trickle down” effects of increased economic output due to fewer sick days, cost savings from preventing catastrophic high-dollar complications of preventable and chronic diseases, and decreased economic burden of individuals and families going bankrupt from medical costs.

And we haven’t even discussed the humanitarian aspect. I think few people batted their luscious lashes at the billions in aid sent to Ukraine and Taiwan. After all, helping people halfway across the world who are suffering due to unimaginable human cruelty sits well with all but the most cold-hearted of us. So why not apply that same level of empathy to our own people? Plenty of our own populace is suffering due to unimaginable human cruelty except that this cruelty is propagated by health insurance companies, Big Pharma, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (looking at you, CVS), and big hospital conglomerates.

So, if we wind up talking about CalCare, I humbly ask that whomever I am descanting with to not bring up cost as a concern. Our current system is far more financially perilous.

CalCare will be coming up for legislative Twister in January 2023. If you feel that the economic, social, and humanitarian well-being of our state is important, implementing CalCare is a big step in that direction.

However, the opposition is strong and well-funded. So our local legislators need to hear from their constituents loud and clear. Please call, email, DM, post on social media, hand write letters, send carrier pigeons, and/or skywrite your State Assembly people and senators and tell them you support CalCare. The more people express their support, the more likely it is that CalCare will at least get a chance for open debate.

It’s the least we deserve.


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