Donald Savastano, won $1 million playing the lottery. He was a self-employed carpenter and planned to use the money to finance his business. He also decided to visit a doctor to have his health checked. He had not been able to do so because of the absurd price of health care in America, and he had been feeling a bit under the weather. Upon visiting the doctor he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his brain and lungs.
He was not a greedy man. He did not seem to be a man who lived outside his means. When asked what he planned to do with the money he reported that he was going to take a vacation, buy a new truck for his business, and save for the future. However, he would never get this chance. Savastano died just three weeks after he won big.
This story is not only heartbreaking simply for the fact that a seemingly benign human being died. It is a story far too often seen in the U.S., which is essentially the only modern nation that deals with this sort of tragedy year after year. According to the American Journal of Public Health 45,000 people die every year in America due to lack of adequate health care. This is unheard of in the “modern world”.
This is one of the main reasons that I moved away from the United States. Even those who are considered middle class sometimes struggle to pay for good health and dental care. This is also why the U.S. needs to work towards a single payer system, like its counterparts all over the world.
Many will argue, “how will we pay for it?” This tired argument needs to be put to rest for good. First of all America is the richest nation the face of the world has ever seen. We spend more than an estimated $880 Billion on our military. This is more than the next 9 countries combined, most of which are our allies. This spending could be reduced from areas where the DOJ is in fact wasting money and be moved to health care costs. Sounds like a win win to me. Kill less innocent civilians, save more innocent Americans, America First right Trump supporters?
Honestly though, even if this spending was left alone we could fund a single payer system in America. Want to know why? Because a single payer system would in fact save the U.S. BILLIONS of dollars. Some estimates even say that there could be over a billion dollars saved on paper work alone. This will not only save the government money, but the normal citizen too. Some are worried about tax increases under a universal system. However, they often forget, or omit, the fact that they will no longer need to pay premiums or copays to their greedy insurance providers.
People also like to bemoan that national systems create huge waiting lines. To be honest in some ways they are right. The secret is though, these lines are for elective procedures. If you have a serious emergency you will be in and out in no times with no bill whatsoever. But if you want a face lift you may need to wait a few days, sorry sweetheart. This is the exact opposite of America where you may often need to wait days or weeks to get life saving treatment, if you can afford it at all.
I actually live in a country with a national health care system and I couldn’t be happier. I would in fact pay more taxes to keep this healthcare, don’t tell the government that. I had a pretty serious accident over a year ago which resulted in my collar-bone being broken in three places. You know how long I waited to get surgery? Less than 36 hours, and it would have been shorter but I asked to be transferred to a hospital closer to my house and they kindly obliged. You know how much I paid all of the surgery, stitches, removal of the stitches, numerous x-rays and check-ups to make sure that everything was healing properly? Less than $150US. So when anyone tries to argue against a single payer system do some research and refute them, they are wrong unless they are in favor of paying more and more people dying. Also go talk to your congressperson and tell them if they want your vote they need to push for single payer.