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Dutchess_III's avatar

If we added a tax of $1.00 for every man, woman, and child in this country, would that be enough to fund free healthcare in the U.S.?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42444points) November 20th, 2014

Our household of 2 would be paying $2.00 a month more on our premiums, since it’s just the two of us. My daughter’s household would be paying $5.00 a month more.
Seems like a drop in the bucket to me, per household, but it would be ~316 million dollars in government revenue per month.

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30 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

But it’s a tax. And the R party would howl.

And $316 million/month is on 3.5 billion/year, assuming everyone pays. That’s not enough.

jca's avatar

Some people have medical bills in the millions. My friend’s hubby just had surgery and was hospitalized in NYC for the surgery. The bill for the hospitalization alone was over 200k. That does not include medication, surgeons’ costs and anesthesiologist fee. That also does not include pre-op or post-op follow up. He was subsequently hospitalized twice for illness relating to that. I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to what that cost. Just think of people with chronic illnesses who are hospitalized often or who see the doctor often and take medication for their illnesses. All the people who overeat and now have diabetes, joint problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. All the people who smoke and have cancer or COPD. All the people who need home health care, nursing homes, rehabs for mental, physical or substance abuse, all the people who need medications that cost thousands of dollars per month. All the people who need psychiatrists, psychologists, therapist, mental health treatment, inpatient and outpatient? All the people who have neglected their health and now we all are paying the price. You think that will be covered by $2 per person? What of the people who have no income and will say they don’t have $2 per person per month? What of the people who don’t pay taxes for various reasons? We’d all be paying their share to cover their missing $2 each.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Healthcare costs in the US were $2.6 Trillion in 2010. I don’t even want to try to figure out the 000’s that would require.

jerv's avatar

It might be if our healthcare costs were anywhere near where they are in the rest of the world, but like our defense spending, we pay more than the next few nations combined. How many “few” is varies depending on where you get your stats.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Lightlyseared Excellent video I hope all that click on this question watch it.
While some will moan when I say I am super glad to have never brought a kid into this world.
I must also add I am super glad I am not a US citizen, while we Canucks have our faults, at least we don’t face financial ruin if we or a loved one falls ill and needs extreme medical help.

NOTE: PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO @Lightlyseared posted.

flip86's avatar

It wouldn’t be anywhere near 300 million. You have to remember that not everyone has income. Children, retirees, homeless people, the unemployed, the disabled.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Let’s say it is $2.6 T for total health care. And let’s say everyone pay into the system, all 300 million. That comes to $8700 per year or $725 per month.
An awful lot of people can’t/won’t pay that so the rest of the people will end up paying their share.
And so it goes.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@LuckyGuy did you watch the video???
It’s really worth it.
For the life of me I can’t understand why the right is so against universal health care for all u.s citizens.
The US is the best country on the earth, we are ready to die for our country, just don’t get sick or hurt because then your on your own.

jerv's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Looking at our infant mortality rates and other metrics, our healthcare falls behind even some third-world nations. Our education is similar; we pay far more, yet get less than other nations.

I say cutting costs beats throwing money at it.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@LuckyGuy In 2007 the US spent more tax dollars per capita on healthcare than the UK. Like you say an awful lot of people can’t/won’t pay for insurance and so the rest of the people are already paying their share. People with out insurance still need healthcare and because they had no insurance they will probably access that healthcare in the most expensive way possible by going to an ER. They probably left the problem to the point where it cost more to sort out (a prime example of this is the mother that couldn’t afford the $60 for her child’s tooth extraction – the child developed an abscess that affected the brain and the final cost of treatment was around $500,000 – I’ll try a dig out a link). If they can’t pay $60 they definitely can’t pay a half million. so not only does the tax payer end up paying for the care they are also paying for debt collection agencies to try and get (unsuccessfully) the money.

jerv's avatar

@Lightlyseared Preventative medicine generates less profits than multi-million-dollar ailments though, so if insurance paid for the extraction, the healthcare industry as a whole would’ve lost about $499,940 in profits.

‘MURICA!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy Here’s where I found some interesting comparisons. Granted it is company site, but some of it is okay.
http://www.aetna.com/health-reform-connection/aetnas-vision/facts-about-costs.html

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t think $1 would produce sufficient revenue to fund the health needs of the whole population. We have a much smaller population of course, but we pay 1.5–2% of our income to Medicare. That isn’t sufficient to cover everything. Many doctors do bulk bill (so there’s no additional payment) but others will charge over the set fee. Public hospital visits don’t incur a cost on the patient. As has been mentioned, not everyone contributes to Medicare. If you’re not working or you’re retired, you’re taking from the pool but not adding to it.

In the UK, (I think) the rate is 13.8 per cent for an employee however National Insurance covers unemployment, pensions and health benefits. There are other ways people contribute too and different percentages. However, I can’t find anything that breaks up how the contributions are broken up and what is used to fund only healthcare.

There are some really interesting stats comparing US health spending to other nations spending. This for instance. I’d love to understand why you’re spending so much on health and yet so many of your citizens don’t appear to have access to health care? The discussion in this site suggests the high costs paid result from high costs for pharmaceuticals, services and medical fees.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not a appearance, @Earthbound_Misfit. It’s a reality. I’ve had to go without health insurance at various times in my life. Thank God I’ve been generally healthy in my life, and got covered before the shit hit the fan, to the tune of $280,000. I only had to pay $1,900. Only owe $600 now.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

More taxes is more taxes.

Thank you but no.

jerv's avatar

@SecondHandStoke How much will you pay in order to have lower taxes though? Or are you okay with paying in human lives so long as it’s not your life that is used to pay the price of lower taxes?

If you are against taxes, then you are also against ALL forms of cost-sharing. If you have any form of insurance, if you ever used roads or benefited from police protection, if you feel that there is even the least bit of legitimacy in having a standing military, then you’re a bit of a hypocrite.

If it’s that you’re willing to pay taxes for only what you want but not for what you don’t, then I want the tax dollars that went to corporate subsidies back.

If it’s merely that you feel everyone should pay for themselves, then you are asking for a degree of self-sufficiency inconsistent with having any form of functional society, at least anything much beyond nomadic tribes of at most a couple dozen people.

I don’t like paying taxes either, but I see it as less costly than the alternative.

JLeslie's avatar

After looking at the answers above, my answer is similar to what I always write. If someone took the thievery out of the system we probably could have a very reasonable tax to insure everyone has a healthcare. The corruption in the system is mind blowing.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And people get all bent when I say is it designed to keep the poor,poor, maybe not but it sure does one hell of a great job exploiting everyone but the wealthy,who some how all ways come out on top with lots of poor tax payers money in their freaking pockets.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I did watch the video. Very well done. the numbers were useful. I do have a minor bone to pick but not much.. I foget the exact number but it was something like…$55B for Obeseity, $50 billion for extra insurance $50 billion… $70 billion… He implied those numbers were small. They are not. add them up and you are at 10% of total. Alos I have heard that administrative costs are nearly 30% . Reduce those and you have cut healt care costs almost in half.
Also we need to have people take some responsibility for their own health. You don’t need to take expensive diabetes medication or have your fet amputed or… If you exercied and ate right all along. How many case of lung caner are from smoking? One smoker in 150 will get lung cancer 50% of them will die within one year of diagnosis after spending $400,000 on treatment Maybe the hard answer is Sorry pal. You did it, you pay for it. We Only help with $50,000 worth. there are prostate cancer drugs that cost $90,000 but only extend life 4 months – and it is a miserable extension by the way. Maybe we only give those drugs to people who can afford them.

In my newspaper this morning were 3 different flyers advertising united Heath Care meeting for medicare benficiaries to help with sign up How much did tthat cost. We are getting crap liek this every day. How much is spent on TV advertising.

Here’s a fun game for you. Watch one episode of Alex Trebek’s Jeopardy (a TV game show). Sit down with a bottle of Coconut Rum and do a shot for every drug commercial you see. You will not be able to drive legally for 2 days! Those ads cost money. A lot of money!

Imagine if all those $$$ actually went into health care.

JLeslie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 There is a lot set up to keep the poor poor while the rich get richer. Healthcare costs suck for everyone I am pretty sure. The difference is the rich can afford it, they have the access, because of money. Plus, they probably own stock in the healthcare plans and phrama companies that are making bunches of dollars.

grac3alot's avatar

Only 85 million pay federal taxes out of those 316 million. You would have to raise taxes a lot more than a $1 and that is simply unacceptable with what is already a myriad of burdening taxes that Americans are currently experiencing, especially when it is the healthy haves paying for the unhealthy have nots.

I do not want the government involved in health care, period. There isn’t a single government agency or division that runs efficiently. This is the same idiotic government that developed the tax code. Once you go in that direction, it almost nevers goes back. Screw that.

I love the currently healthcare system despite its monetary inefficiency. It still offers the best the best doctors and technologically advanced hospitals in the world even though not everyone in the U.S can afford to utilize it. The quality and quick-readily available access is still top notch. It sucks for the poor and sick, but what else is new?

jerv's avatar

@grac3alot You think we have quality? You never read the stats then. It’s not hard to see here, here, or other places. Merely being 3rd in effective care and 7th in safe care out of a list of only 11 countries tells me we are not the best.

Now, this is a gem that I just have to rip a clip from:

“Despite the claim by many in the U.S. health policy community that international comparison is not useful because of the uniqueness of the United States, the rankings have figured prominently in many arenas. It is hard to ignore that in 2006, the United States was number 1 in terms of health care spending per capita but ranked 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for adult female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortality, and 36th for life expectancy. These facts have fueled a question now being discussed in academic circles, as well as by government and the public: Why do we spend so much to get so little?”

If you think government caused that, then why is it that those places where government has been involved have better outcomes? There is a grain of truth to what you say in that the private sector could solve the issue more efficiently. Here’s the thing though; if they did that, then the government wouldn’t step in in the first place as, contrary to what many think, they tend to avoid trying to fix what isn’t broken.

In other words, the reason government is involved in healthcare is that the private sector broke the system and refuses to fix it. Same with much of the regulation that government imposes on business; the government is merely trying to protect society at large by policing those who won’t police themselves. Want to avoid regulation? Then don’t be a sociopathic predator!

Oh, and as for going in that direction and never going back, I think we have gone back. Long ago, it was a system where only the poor payed, while the rich just sat idly at the top of the feudal system. Then we had a Capitalist heyday where hard work meant prosperity regardless of birthright. That time used a progressive tax system where those who made the most paid the most, and it worked pretty good for the mid-20th century. Then we regressed. Nowadays the top 20% with 50% of the income pay less than 40% of the taxes, the bottom half of the population with ~20% of the total income pay nothing, leaving the middle class, the backbone of America, the workers and small business owners, to pay 60% of the income taxes with 30% of the total income. Meanwhile, small businesses pay taxes while multinationals pay zero, and we all pay subsidies, like the $6.2 billion given to Walmart alone.

So, do you want the foxes to guard the henhouse, or are you merely against having a functional society, preferring a barbaric anarchy instead? I’m not seeing any other option that makes any sense; nothing based on facts or logic that leads to any other conclusion.

grac3alot's avatar

Those studies are judging what kind of impact the healthcare system has for the entire nation, not individually. We do have a lot of cutting-edge, technologically advanced hospitals with very little wait time, and elite doctors, but because a lot of our nation cannot utilize their services, the mortality declines, so the ranks drop. They usually go to the crappy hospitals with crappy doctors. That is the poor and sick getting the shit end of the stick. That is nothing new. They always get that end in this country. The alternative (higher taxes, nationalization) is not desirable by the majority of Americans. That is why, as you said, we have what we have. Just like the government steps in when it senses inefficiency, what society wants is what we get.

It is the same thing with public and private school. Our private schools are the best in the world while our public schools are garbage and financially inefficient. That is why overall we rank low in education, but that doesn’t mean we don’t offer the best.

I didn’t say government caused it, although it is partially responsible for this mess. I’m saying I don’t want the government to run healthcare, period. I don’t care if the market is not running efficiently as it should, it beats the government alternative any day of the week.

I’m all for tax reform. Taxes should be equal, not progressive. A flat rate no matter how much you make. A progressive tax is just another way of saying I envy the rich. Screw that too.

It doesn’t take much to have a functioning society. It fact the only thing required to have a functioning society is for the government to have a monopoly on violence and protect people’s property. That is why for the longest time, cost-sharing services were limited to courts, police, prisons and military. Societal ups and down or what they call booms and busts are just naturally occurring events. Part of human nature. They exist with or with government intervention in equivalent degrees.

jerv's avatar

@grac3alot In other words, you judge overall quality simply by the best of the best, eh? Well, I am not surprised that you ignore mathematical concepts like averages as you also favor regressive taxation over equal taxation under the guise of “flat tax” in order to simplify math.

But if you feel that corruption beats ineptitude, or that rising tides shouldn’t lift all boats, then I think we are at an impasse. I don’t think there is any possibility of you even trying to find a middle ground, so I won’t bother trying to budge you from your obvious extremist stance.

grac3alot's avatar

I go where the best is offered which happens to be the U.S. I would like to keep it that way. New York City is one of the best cities in the world even though it is located in the same nation as the one of the shitiest cities – Detroit. If there was a study that showed overall cities in America were terrible, it doesn’t change the fact that New York City offers the best of the best in the world.

Flat taxes are not regressive if you target income instead of wages and combine it with exemptions and rebates.

Let the boat owner figure out how to lift his own boat.

grac3alot's avatar

I’m not judging overall quality. I pointing out that the best quality is available for many despite overall average. Majority of Americans are satisfied with the healthcare system and majority of Americans feel the government should not be in control of healthcare. I appreciate that, I want to keep the best of the best, and I understand that was only possible with a free market. Nationalization would ruin that and higher taxes would further ruin an already burdening situation for many.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

All I can say is God bless America, and you can keep it,I wouldn’t care if I ever set foot in the states again, I LOVE it north of the border.
If aloved one or myself need medical help, we wont face financial ruin for it..

Oh and @grac3alot have you asked the 55milion u.s citizens that don’t have or can’t afford your out of sight cost,private health care insurance,think they are happy with your nations health care system??

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Would a National referendum ,settle the debate once and for all, if Americans are for or against universal health care?
Think the drug companies might freak if it ever came down to that?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It doesn’t seem to matter what Americans are “for” or “against.”

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