In the 1930s, when the federal government under President Franklin Roosevelt enacted Social Security, the program was considered controversial. Opponents denounced Social Security as being a socialist program that would hike taxes and destroy jobs.
Over time, however, Social Security proved to be a great help for people going into retirement. In 2008 when many pension funds suffered heavy losses and 401(k) retirement plans failed, Social Security continued to make regular monthly payments to its beneficiaries.
Medicare, which covers a multitude of medical needs, is available to everyone age 65 or older who has worked for at least 10 years. In the 1960s, when Medicare was enacted under President Lyndon Johnson, that program also faced serious political opposition, as did Medicaid, which covers those who cannot pay and is designed to provide emergency help to the poor.
Now we hear the same kind of opposition to the new Affordable Care Act. The program provides medical care to everyone, while allowing insurance companies to participate. No doubts rates will be adjusted downward as more people participate. It is similar to Social Security in that everyone must contribute to the Affordable Care Act.
Of course, much of the language of the Affordable Care Act became quite complicated due to the opposition to the act when it was first introduced.
There is no doubt for anyone with common sense that a single-payer plan that competes with insurance companies would soon have universal coverage for everyone from cradle to grave. A single-payer plan would be much less expensive and would cover everyone. It works fine elsewhere. Medicare has a 4 percent overhead cost, while insurance companies have a 25 percent to 29 percent overhead. That is because the insurance company has to make a profit and rightly so.
The problem is that people can no longer afford to pay exorbitant premiums with present wage scales and deal with selective coverage. I believe its time to give the Affordable Care Act an opportunity to prove itself or that some adjustments are made to simplify the legislation.
Any national social program has to have universal support financially in order to make our lives better. Everyone pays, just like Social Security and Medicare, and everyone benefits, including billionaires.