It is remarkable that our current health care system is so inadequate compared with other developed countries, and yet we tolerate it. This is especially surprising because we have the most expensive health care system in the world, by far. That’s so evident it is not even a challengeable fact.

There is a remedy all the other national health care systems are nonprofit or government run.

Germany has had their nonprofit system since 1883! And, Germany is probably the most productive national economy in Europe, always noted for their innovation and industry. In Minnesota, health insurance companies are supposed to be nonprofit, but they are never audited.

So, why is our system the most expensive and yet so bad regarding longevity, live birth success, infant survival, and many other measures? It’s because the aim in our system is for insurance companies to make a big profit. Health care outcomes are not the priority. Can anyone justify the CEO of a major health insurance company receiving more than $52 million in compensation for one year? Think of how many individuals and families could be covered if that CEO received a paltry $1 million per year.

I generally don’t focus on executive compensation, because it is just a small part of the problem, but that recent figure illustrates glaringly where the incentive for maintaining the status quo is.

So, what can we do? Well, Germany and Switzerland allow nonprofit insurance companies to enroll the population. Each individual or family chooses which company they want and they usually stay with that company the rest of their lives. Purchasing supplemental insurance is common, much like we have with Medicare. Switzerland doesn’t allow the wealthy to get ahead of others for service just because they have more money, so everyone is invested in the system working well for everyone.

Off course, we are aware of national systems like Canada, Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries.

Though the British system is run by the government, private service is also allowed.

We pay 100% more than the average of all other developed countries, which all have universal health care. We pay 50% more than the three next most expensive countries, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland, and they cover everyone, with better health care outcomes!

A study by Yale indicates that we would experience savings of $458 billion per year if we converted to Medicare for All. Remember, this is providing coverage for all!

Universal health care in the form of Medicare for All has been discussed for years. Of course, what would come out of the legislative process would be an adaptation for practical reasons. But, call it what you will, we are losing every year by deluding ourselves into thinking that our current health care system is even acceptably great, though the price is huge. It isn’t great. The cost and health care results are not acceptable.

Gerald Ugland is a retired social worker, union representative and real estate broker.

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