Andy Schmookler: Health care

American consumers pay more than 17 percent of their annual national income on health care, roughly two times more than comparable Western democracies – with measured outcomes in the range of some Third World countries.

Andy Schmookler is among those who has a problem with this dichotomy.

“I was brought up to believe that one of the things about being an American was, you get yourself a good deal. To pay more for less, to pay twice as much for less, is not a good deal,” said Schmookler, a Democrat running for the Sixth District seat in the United States Congress.

To put just the expense that we bear into perspective, if we could bring costs down in line with what other Western democracies pay for health care, the trillion-dollar deficits that have become the norm of late would turn overnight into budget surpluses.

“That’s how big it is,” Schmookler said.

Republicans, Schmookler noted, blocked Bill Clinton and the Democratic Congress of 1993-1994 from taking action to prevent the explosion in health-care costs that we saw in the late 1990s that continues to this day, throwing out as an alternative the idea of an individual mandate that was later adopted by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress of 2009-2010, and is now referred to by those same Republicans who proposed the idea as being an unconstitutional overreach of federal power.

“I hate that we have politics where we can’t have an honest conversation. And when people are calling unconstitutional what they used to call a good idea, you just can’t call that an honest conversation,” Schmookler said.


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