Cutting War Budgets Isn't Enough to Provide Health Care!

A lot of good people think that if we just cut the “defense” budget we could finance effective, universal Health Care in the United States.

 

One of the saddest "secrets" is that while the bloated U.S. war budget totals an astounding $1.2+ Trillion per year, that’s $3,600 per person per year (PPPY) not counting domestic social control costs for police, prisons, jails, etc, the total cost of our corporate, for-profit remedial sick care system is over $3.4 Trillion per year. That’s more than $10,000 PPPY and is climbing rapidly. To put that into perspective, the number one rated French system spends less than $4,800 PPPY for a much superior, universal Health Care system.

 

I'm completely convinced that the only path toward ending “terrorism” and achieving world peace would be to abandon our global military Empire, cut our massive, bloated war budgets down to a size needed for a "Defense Department" and then use the savings for a Department of Peace to engage in global and domestic Restorative Justice.

 

Alas, the relatively smaller amount of dollars wasted on war, the REAL source of our debt and deficit over the last 30+ years, would not give us enough to finance even 20% of our existing sick care as commodity system. In addition, that system's need for ever-increasing corporate profits and thus increased "costs" in order to satisfy Wall Street would quickly eat up the relatively small amounts that could be realized.

 

Of course, that's assuming that the REAL third rail of U. S. politics, cutting the war budgets would ever be touched by the current crop of politicians.

 

So even compassionate, rational, pro-Health Care folks who suggest we could pay for it by cutting the bloated war budgets are looking at the wrong part of the equation.

 

The part that has to be ended is tinkering with (the last) remedial sick care system driven by the profit-motive and provide “Health Care As a Human Right”.

 

Passing HR676 – Expanded and Improved Medicare for All would be the best first step toward that end. 

http://pnhp.org/

Comments

Tubularsock Added Nov 29, 2018 - 5:02pm
ChetDude, Tubularsock agrees that “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All” is a first step. People over profit is just a healthy mindset!
 
And a Department of DEFENSE is the perfect direction.
 
And it may be discovered that constant war CAUSES health problems within the populous and without constant war a healthier populous would reduce healthcare costs.
 
Oh don’t worry, Tubularsock is not going to hold his breath!
James Travil Added Nov 29, 2018 - 5:38pm
Empires either fold peacefully, like the British Empire did. Or they fall entirely, like the Roman Empire did. The United States must choose the former or the latter will be chosen for us. 
Stone-Eater Added Nov 29, 2018 - 5:44pm
Chet
 
Thanks for being a reflected American.
ChetDude Added Nov 29, 2018 - 5:52pm
Thank you, folks -- just trying to "Connect the Dots"...
George N Romey Added Nov 29, 2018 - 6:31pm
Our modern lifestyle is making us sick and even killing us. Ultimately proper healthcare may be something only the top 10% will enjoy. 
Tubularsock Added Nov 29, 2018 - 7:34pm
George, come on. The Pentagon has been audited and is missing $21Trillion and yet we still can bomb the world on ahh, faith?
 
Tubularsock is pretty sure that we can all have PERFECT healthcare for everyone!
 
Hell, if the Pentagon can run on “misplaced” funds and continue full force you are saying that the health system can’t run on the same kind of “faith” as well?
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 29, 2018 - 10:17pm
If a business kept its book anywhere close to the Federal government they would be in prison.  The budget present to is riddled with fraud and deception.  I have the data for 2015 but the basic nature of actual government spending is similar.  https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/
 
ChetDude, you have been taken in.  You only looked at discretionary spending.   Many of the smaller pieces in this portion of spending are stated as the responsibility of the Federal government in the Constitution.  The smallest piece of the total actual spending is interest on the federal debt which is also defined in the constitution as their responsibility.   The largest portion of the $1.11T discretionary spending as you ChetDude pointed out is 'military' at 53.71% and with administration 'government' piece of the pie 6.57%.  But military spending is mandated by the Constitution, obviously not 'discretionary'  ($671.38B).  The rest of 'discretionary' spending is actually not mandated by the Constitution, so actually 'discretionary' spending.
 
Now to the part the DIMMS do not want to talk about, 'mandatory' spending.  In reality the Constitution does not mandate the responsibility of any portion of this spending and prior to the Great Depression it was very small.  I believe that only 'veteran benefits' was a budget item prior to 1930.   Recall that 'discretionary' spending is $1.11T and 'mandatory' spending is $2.45T, more then double.
 
 ChetDude wants to cut the military budget a measly  $598.49B, and I say that because 'mandatory' spending is about five time larger.  Made up of mostly welfare spending that is not a requirement defined by the constitution so is under the control of our temporary elected representatives, at their whim.  It is only 'mandatory' spending because they have told the public since 1935 that it is a right.   And created the allusion that citizens have invested in in them, but the supreme court has defined them as a TAX.  
 
Medicare and other health care costs represent 38.40% of 'mandatory' spending is $985.74B almost double military spending. Medicare was added 1965 under LBJ and a DIM congress, both houses.  The biggest part of the 'mandatory' spending pie is 'social security, unemployment and labor' started in 1935 by again a DIM congress and president, FDR.  It represent 48.56% of the 'mandatory' pie spending $1250B.  Only 13.04% remains.   
ChetDude, total spending is $3800B in 2015 of which the Constitution only requires defense of the nation, payment of debt and its interest, and the operating cost of the government, $671.38B + $229.15B = $0.9T.  So the required by the Constitution spending is only 36.76% of all spending.  
 
ChetDude, do you not thing that congress can change is whim of how it spend none required spending to fit in more welfare health care?  They only have a 63.24% to play with of total spending.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 29, 2018 - 10:19pm
error in the second paragraph  actually is not a requires spending in the Constitution << Many of the smaller pieces in this portion of spending are stated as the responsibility of the Federal government in the Constitution.>>
ChetDude Added Nov 29, 2018 - 10:41pm
Actually, I'd cut the bloated war budgets down to about $400 billion per year immediately and then ratchet it down as the $400 Billion I use to finance the Department of Peace defuses tensions and promotes harmony all around the world.
 
None of that will happen because profits are all that matter in the United States of Hypocrisy...
 
Earned Benefits like Social Security and Medicare (only problem with it being that it's at the mercy of the greed of the leeches in the last corporate, for-profit sick care industry on the Planet) are mostly pay as you go...they are NOT the drag on the economy that the bloated war machine is...and provide a much more effective multiplying factor than wasting money on war does...
 
The bloated war machine eats up nearly 60% of the Federal discretionary budget to create more "enemies" to keep the profits rolling in...
James Travil Added Nov 30, 2018 - 2:08am
You of course are correct Chet, but the decaying Sutrina particle will never admit it because he worships at the altar of empire and war. People mean little to his ilk. 
Qasim Raza Added Nov 30, 2018 - 3:24am
Health facilities should be provided by the Government... 
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 30, 2018 - 8:19am
"The end came rather anti-climactically in 476, when the German chieftain Odoacer pushed aside the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, and installed himself as the new authority and liberator of a corrupt and decayed ideology."    http://www.articlesbase.com/economics-articles/will-us-repeat-the-welfare-death-of-the-roman-empire/
 
Romans lost their desire to pay for the defense of the borders of the Empire from Odoacer and the other barbarians.    They turned to a hired army of people that could care less about the empire, drawn to high pay.  And internal troubles cause the border troops to be pulled back and the size of the armies were also decreased.   
 
"Emperor Nero once declared, "Let us tax and tax again. Let us see to it that no one owns anything!"" (above reference) Sound familiar?  Shortly the minority leader in the house will become the majority leader, in full control of the agenda in the house of Representatives.  This was her campaign cry for 2018. 
 
So please tell us what level of the federal spending is enough for welfare?  Curious minds want to know, ChetDude?  How small does the people that pay taxes have to go to and how much of the money they earn need to be transferred to the lower classes?   ChetDude this is the fundamental question that needs to be answered before we can discuss your additional welfare program.
 
James Travil, Qasim Raza, George Romey, and Stone-Eater your all welcome to also answer the question I just asked ChetDude.
Stone-Eater Added Nov 30, 2018 - 9:14am
So please tell us what level of the federal spending is enough for welfare?
 
There can't be a fixed level. What we in Europe need is a financial transaction tax rerouted to welfare, education and job growth, i.e. investments. Whether it's FIAT money or not, it looks good in the calculations LOL
George N Romey Added Nov 30, 2018 - 3:22pm
We can print money like no tomorrow for the military, Surveillance State and enforcing hegemony.  The crooked bankers need $14 trillion or so?  Step right on up.  Corporate Welfare?  Got the money sitting here just waiting.
 
Decent healthcare for our citizens?  Nope, we're broke.  
John Minehan Added Nov 30, 2018 - 5:37pm
I've worked in Healthcare for more than 20 years.  I served in two wars as an Army Intelligence Officer.
 
Based on what I have learned from those experiences, you really need to do some more research.   
ChetDude Added Nov 30, 2018 - 10:36pm
I've worked as an activist for Medicare for All for more than 20 years alongside doctors, nurses and other activists who I'm sure have MUCH more experience than you do in the field and have analyzed the system much more deeply and fully than you have...
 
I also escaped the "military mentality" over 50 years ago and have expanded my knowledge base way beyond the myopic box I inhabited back then.
 
YOU really need to listen up to the folks who know a lot more than you do...
 
"Army Intelligence" is an oxymoron...
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 1, 2018 - 7:43am
So then Stone Eater you think that the Roman level of welfare is acceptable.  You think that welfare is more important then defending the boarders.  You think that taxing and actually confiscation property is acceptable in order to pay for welfare.  Welfare is more important then the nation itself.   
 
Do I get a big Cheer, Stone Eater!!!!
John Minehan Added Dec 1, 2018 - 9:10am
"I've worked as an activist for Medicare for All for more than 20 years . . .
 
Has the idea existed for 20 years?
 
Was it called something else then?
 
It is funny, when PPACA first came in some PCPs supported it, as they are volume-based providers and thought it would bring in increased numbers of patient-encounters. 
 
That went south pretty fast when they saw the PPACA meant you had a lot of functionally uninsured patients with an insurance card and unrealistic expectations.
 
Specialists, by and large, opposed it knowing it was unworkable.
 
Here is where you tell me that, "Medicare for All" is not PPACA.  But here is also where you don't tell me how it will be any better.
 
I get the general idea from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez that you think you can generate savings by replacing the American Health Care . . . never thinking you will (at least initially) thereby increase demand, reduce competition and most likely increase costs.
 
Why don't you see that the whole point of this is to reduce the consolidation of payers and providers?  Increase competition, allow technological and operational disruption to improve the state0f the art and make this something other than a machine burrocracy. 
 
     
John Minehan Added Dec 1, 2018 - 11:29am
This might be interesting to you (if you can understand it).
ChetDude Added Dec 3, 2018 - 4:35pm
Update:
Nov. 30, 2018

In-Depth Analysis by Team of UMass Amherst Economists Shows Viability of Medicare For All Comprehensive plan is estimated to reduce U.S. health consumption expenditures by nearly 10 percent, while providing decent health care coverage to all Americans
 
https://www.peri.umass.edu/images/Medicare_For_All_release_Nov18.pdf
 
https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/1127-economic-analysis-of-medicare-for-all
ChetDude Added Dec 3, 2018 - 4:36pm
John Minehan - Excellent article, thank you...
ChetDude Added Dec 3, 2018 - 4:51pm
Yes, John.  HR676 has evolved but I believe the first versions were introduced in Congress about 20 years ago.
 
The fact that we need to increase the number of seats in Medical and Nursing (and Dental) Schools and begin supporting higher education with our taxes again (as it was in the 60s and 70s) in order to provide enough Health Care professionals who can provide care along with building publicly funded, decentralized clinics and non-profit hospitals to more effectively deliver care for the larger numbers of people who would be empowered to receive it once HR676 - Expanded and Improved Medicare for All is passed is often overlooked.
 
PPACA was WRITTEN by the industry.  So the Kabuki that played out in 2009-2010 was a faux-controversy designed to obscure the fact that PPACA would do NOTHING about the major perversion and cost driving mechanism that has resulted in the most costly 37th rate system on the Planet that is, the corporate profit-motive.
 
And the sound and fury was designed to make sure that HR676 was NEVER MENTIONED...
 
Specialists opposed it because they thought that their outrageous and ever bloating charges that insurance corporations gladly pay (higher gross=higher profits) would be threatened by "public option" and other such horrors that might control their greed.  Did you know that general practitioners are vastly overworked and underpaid compared to the millionaire "specialists" who control the AMA?
 
ChetDude Added Dec 3, 2018 - 6:15pm
John: The article you posted a link to:

'The case for European health care'
By Scott Sumner
 
'It might seem surprising to find a defense of Euro-style health care in a market friendly blog. In fact, I actually prefer the small government approach of Singapore to either the European or the US system. Nonetheless, I’m going to argue that the European system (or systems) is probably better than the US system.'
 
It's not that hard to understand and Mr. Sumner apparently agrees with me that HR676 is the best way to go...
ChetDude Added Dec 3, 2018 - 6:31pm
John: Looked up Singapore's system.  No wonder a "libertarian" like Mr. Sumner likes it.  Their Socialist, Government system keeps the "government" cost at around 1.8% of GDP by denying care and pushing costs onto their people.  USAmerica's for-profit remedial sick care costs a whopping 13.3% of GDP. 
 
They place a huge burden of much higher co-pays and other costs onto the backs of the people who use it.  So their poor and less well off get screwed even harder than they do here...but there are fewer of them and Singapore really doesn't care.  If they complain too loudly (or spit on the sidewalk or chew gum in public), they'll just cane them...
 
And of course, Singapore is REALLY among the richest nations per capita on Earth (over $20,000 per person MORE per capita income than the U.S.) and is actually a CITY with 1/2 the population of L.A. rather than a nation.
Eric D Beyer Added Dec 6, 2018 - 10:21pm
Somehow you believe cutting the military budget will not pay for health care. Well, if along with military cuts you also get the insurance companies out of the medical profession as well as corporations then our medical care would be a lot less to deal with. Face it, insurance companies are not needed in this picture and letting corporations and their greed to take hold is also a big mistake.
     Now let's add big pharma to the picture. They are getting the government to approve drugs that have little or no value then advertising them as miracle drugs with a hefty price tag. Then payola for doctors that prescribe. Cut out this nonsense and it would bring medical costs down as well. 
     I believe if these steps are taken,(I know, in my dreams) we could cut health care costs by two thirds and I still believe we should rein in the military industrial complex.
     Finally an audit of the federal reserve would expose a lot of financial scams and rid us of most of the national debt 
ChetDude Added Dec 6, 2018 - 10:55pm
Eric: As I explained the NUMBERS tell us that just cutting the bloated war budgets would NOT be enough to pay for Health Care.  Even using the ENTIRE bloated war budget we could cover less than half of what remedial sick care costs in USAmerica.
 
HR676 DOES get the leeches in the corporate insurance industry with their 30-40% overheads and profits and denial of care out of the mix. A HUGE savings.  It also gives us the big stick to use (a SINGLE-BUYER) to beat the drug pushers in Big PhRMA among others into submission.
 
If you read the article again, you'll find that I agree about the war machine.  I believe that the bloated war budgets should be cut by at least 75% and a lot of that money saved used for a Department of Peace to heal some of the damage done by our 74 year old Forever War and end the creation of new enemies and to prepare our infrastructure for a much more hostile environment thanks to fossil-fueled AGW/Climate Change (for the worse)...
Eric D Beyer Added Dec 7, 2018 - 12:42pm
I don't know where you are getting your numbers but they are way off. The trillions spent by the Pentagon are mostly waste and fraud. The same can be said about the medical profession . We are a country where medical bills bankrupt people getting treatment. Put a stop to that practice and make it a Capitol crime to inflate medical bills and watch the expenses drop.
     So I will agree that cutting the pentagons budget will not by itself pay for medical, but if you at the same time reform the medical profession you will find it will easily be enough. But in this day and age where corporations can legally buy out our politicians and politicians can engage in insider trading with impunity we are pretty much screwed. Add to that the intelligence community keeping files on all citizens and spying on everybody it makes it impossible to organize a resistance movement without infiltration by the government. We are screwed.
ChetDude Added Dec 7, 2018 - 7:42pm
The numbers I use are the best consensus of all of the Federal Expenditures on the bloated war machine and National Security Snooper State but doesn't include the vast amounts that states, cities and towns spend on the overall police state for domestic control of the lower 95%, we of the "masses".
 
The number for the entire global war machine is around $1.2 to 1.3 Trillion per year.  Or nearly 60% of Discretionary Federal Spending - and it's still climbing rapidly...
 
The remedial sick care system sucks up about $3.4 Trillion per year.  60% of that (over $2 Trillion per year)  is paid for by the U.S. Taxpayer.
 
If we had France's system (usually rated the best in outcomes) at the cost they pay per person, it would be $1.632 Trillion per year and cover EVERYONE (including house calls from doctors!).
 
I agree the reason we have a bloated military machine (that can't "win" a war) and a hopelessly expensive 37th rate "health care" system is because we DO NOT live in a democracy but rather an Oligarchy which over the last 40 years or so has re-established complete control over the government via campaign bribes and their massive corporate propaganda machine.
 
To understand the framework they used to bring them back from the horror of being forced by a People's coalition of Unions and non-capitalist Movements and the New Deal response to the failure of capitalism into actually sharing a little of the bounty from the 40s through 1971, check out the Powell Memo of 1971:
 
The Powell Memo: A Call-to-Arms for Corporations
http://billmoyers.com/content/the-powell-memo-a-call-to-arms-for-corporations/

The Powell Memo (also known as the Powell Manifesto)
first published August 23, 1971
http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/
 
That plus a few billion dollars at first of mostly far-right-wing plutocrat money (initially Schaife, Coors, Koch, etc) and finally starting in the late 70s gained the collusion of both wings of the One Big Party and the entire corporate capitalist establishment, the counter-revolution allowed Bill Clinton to complete Reagan's "revolution".  And then it all got even worse...
 
ChetDude Added Dec 7, 2018 - 7:47pm
And Eric, I cover some of the depth of perversion and degradation that the corporate profit-motive causes in our remedial sick care system in another article here:
 
Profits Must Not Drive Health Care
Eric D Beyer Added Dec 7, 2018 - 8:19pm
You must remember they have a long history of retaliation which they conduct with impunity. Be careful what you write, this site is being closely watched.
ChetDude Added Dec 10, 2018 - 6:40pm
Eric: The profit-motive that drives the USAmerican sick care system already took years off my life in order to increase profits.
 
Retaliation for whatever I write here and have written elsewhere for years will be a little too late...  :-)
Eric D Beyer Added Dec 11, 2018 - 11:46pm
Let me give you a real life example. I'm 64 years old. I have lung cancer, cirhossis, and high blood pressure. I am in hospice "end of life" care. I live in my house and no longer go to doctors or hospitals. Sounds cheap huh? Well, I have a seven person team working my case. I have health care coordinators, case workers, doctors, nurses. They provide zero care. None. They come several times a week and ask me the same questions over and over. Does this hurt? Sharp or dull pain? On a scale of one to ten? This is not health care. This is corporations trying to get as much as possible out of the government. You would think end of life care would mean making the patient comfortable for their last few days/weeks/months. No. It is endless interrogation. It is harassment. It's as if they are trying to convince me to give up and die. They want personal, private information about my family and friends.  I left the house one day without my phone. Within one hour they had the police at my house. They broke down my front door AND my back door and ransacked the house. I got home, no note, nothing to say they were here except for the damage. My neighbor told me it was cops and EMTs or I would not have known. But I digress. The medical system in this country is controlled by big corporations. They cash in at the government pay window. Profits. Not treatment. They tried to force me into chemotherapy. I refused. They tried to force me into surgery. I refused. All my friends that took the chemotherapy are all dead. Surgery is no better. You have to sign a paper that says if you die it's not their fault.
     Bottom line is that our medical system has been polluted with corporate greed and scam artists. My personal opinion is 90% of the medical system is nothing but a profit for big corporations, big pharma, insurance and scam artists.
    Another example. They decided I needed hearing aids. I went to the exam. Have no idea what they charged the government. They ordered me some hearing aids. Costs? No idea. The hearing aids came in without a volume control. They wanted me to come down for adjustments to the volume charging the government $300 for every visit. I asked them why I didn't get the ones with volume control. They said you might change the volume yourself!!!! I can't even use them. I can sit one on the table and you can hear it screeching. It's nothing but a scam. 
     You really think cutting the military budget won't pay for health care? Not the way it is now it won't. Corruption and greed. Same problem we have with the military and every other government orginization.
ChetDude Added Dec 15, 2018 - 9:25pm
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, Eric.
 
Indeed, I'd say the profit-motive that drives the U.S. system is a major cause of the mistrust and Calvinist punitive tendencies in the system that is causing you stress you don't deserve.
 
My best to you.
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 15, 2018 - 11:44pm
In this email list of comments their are your two older articles and a new one.  They all are related and after a few comments the differences are lost.  So I am going to comment on the most recent.  
We need a national healthcare plan!
by Disqlosure Dec 15, 2018 - 6:01am
Eric D Beyer Added Dec 16, 2018 - 9:01am
Talk all you want. Until we get rid of the legalized bribery in this country our politicians will continue to turn a blind eye to  the people and lick the boots of the oligarchs. We need a complete replacement of our government, no less. We have politicians who have been at the government trough for generations. Our revolving door let's them go to big corporations where they have the advantage. We need someone with the power and the bravery to break up the big corporations and audit the federal reserve. Someone who will jail the banksters and the thieves at the Pentagon. Stalin at one point had all officers above the rank of leutenant killed. We should do the same.