Coup Save America explores many aspects of the Medicare for All debate as Sean first interviews Michaelangelo Hamilton, a congressional candidate who believes that access to treatment is a right and not a privilege.
Coup Save America explores many aspects of the Medicare for All debate as Sean first interviews Michaelangelo Hamilton, a congressional candidate who believes that access to treatment is a right and not a privilege. Next, health care advocate Dan Lehrman signs on to chat about the potential of a universal health care system in America and the reasons why we are the only First World country without one. Finally, Sean brings in Alan Kramer, a Canadian and retired hospital administrator, to guest star in a panal discussion about the pros, cons, and myths surrounding Canada's version of Medicare for All.
This past Tuesday 21 innocent lives were lost to yet another mass shooting in what has become a continuous cycle of tragedy in the United States of America and we can already predict that they won't be the last victims. America's most recent horrific event in Uvalde texas marked the 200th and 14th mass shooting in America thus far in 2022, a number that far exceeds the number of days that have passed this year. Of those 214 shootings, 27 were carried out in schools. This latest tragedy, coming just one week after the slaughter of 10 black people by another mass shooter in Buffalo, New York Took the lives of 21 people, 19 of whom were young Children.
Well, our hearts go out to the families of the victims and the traumatized survivors, We remain utterly incensed by the knowledge that another unlikely, even deadlier mass shooting lurks ahead of us. It seems that as many states rejoice in their aspirations to protect the unborn by passing restrictive legislation to ban abortion with future plans set to limit or outlawed contraceptives. There is little political will to tackle the epidemic of gun violence that is killing the already born guns were told are not the problem. It is our nation's mental health crisis that is to blame.
Along with our departure from God's grace. Of course, according to many politicians, more prayer and a return to biblical values is a solution not banning guns or imposing common sense, gun control provisions. Neither republicans nor democrats have the political courage or human decency to do a damn thing. To curb the tragic loss of life and lead the suffering endured by so many americans. And this feckless failure of leadership isn't just limited gun violence. It extends across all veins of our societal system from socio economic woes, poverty and hunger, the climate crisis, environmental degradation and perhaps most consequential are dysfunctional and lethal healthcare system.
Gun rights advocates and many politicians love to blame the ever rising surge of mass shootings on wait for it. America's mental health crisis and to be fair, they make a good point. The United States does indeed have a poor record of caring for its citizens. Mental well being. It's no huge surprise that there are people performing desperate and census acts. In a country where to Out of five adults report symptoms of anxiety or depression, A staggering. 40% of Americans who have suffered a history of severe mental disorders lasting 12 months or more do not receive any treatment.
And even the young are affected by our nation's psychological downward spiral. With one in every five Children now being diagnosed with a mental disorder between March 2000 and 20 and october 2000 and 20 alone, mental health related emergency department visits skyrocketed by 24% for Children between the ages of 5 to 11 and 31% for those ages 12-17, Sadly, it's reported that only about 20% of these diagnosed Children receive any treatment for their conditions. These numbers can't be ignored and serious research must be connected to figure out the reasons behind our country's decline in mental wellness and the solutions to making ourselves feel better.
Yet the rhetoric animated, emanating from the corridors of power about America's struggle with mental illness seems to be no more than a distraction, a convenient scapegoat to evade responsibility for the gun violence, epidemic and other social problems. Now, of course, if our leaders were serious about combating the mental health crisis in this country, they would be forced to also acknowledge that mental health is only the tip of the unwell Nous iceberg, they would have to admit that America's entire health care system is an unmitigated catastrophe. A cornucopia of dysfunction in inequity here are just some of the facts about our health care system in the United States.
While the US substantially outspends every other wealthy nation on healthcare, americans are nonetheless living shorter, shorter and unhealthier lives the biggest impediment to wellness in our nation is in accessibility to care, which of course stems from our for profit health care system and the high cost of treatment and medications considered as per person spending on healthcare is growing two times faster than household income. Hospital prices alone have increased by 600% since 1980, burdening americans were the world's costliest access to health care. That's right. The world's costliest access to healthcare.
Also consider that a family earning $45,000 a year must budget no less than 20% of their income for health expenses. More than 75 million Americans have had to cut back on their household spending just to pay for their medication. Never mind the insurance premiums deductibles co pays and out of pocket cost 48 million Americans report being unable to afford to fill their prescriptions and are either rationing their medications to make them last longer or doing without it altogether. You know, for a nation that claims to care so much about the sanctity of life, one in four americans actually risk their lives by foregoing necessary health care treatments because they can't afford them.
This is one of the primary reasons Why American life expectancy is ranked 28 Among 20, sorry, among 36 developed countries. Many of my conservative and neoliberal friends will dismiss this figure is misleading, playing out the high suicide rate. Mhm. But in multi variant models that are that assessed the association between suicide rates and the availability of access to health care results show that the state rate of federal aid for mental health was of course the strongest indicator followed by the rate of uninsured persons. In other words, the inaccessibility and high cost of health care is intricately linked to suicidality.
Moreover, the United States has the highest rate of avoidable deaths than any other developed nation along with the highest chronic disease burden and an obesity rate. That is two times higher than the reported average by the O. E. C. D. Which is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A new report from the National Academies Institute of Medicine finds that americans without insurance or those who are underinsured are far more likely to have poor health and die prematurely than those with insurance. Even being uninsured for a year seems to diminish a person's overall general health.
It is indisputable that our current approach to health care is killing americans at an unprecedented rate. In fact, 34 million Americans know either a family member or close friend who has died in the past five years after being unable to afford health care treatment spending on health care isn't just hurting average americans. It's also crippling business and economic growth Businessly will spend an estimated $810 billion dollars to support employee health care this year and that doesn't account for the lost productivity resulting from sick employees. It's perhaps why Warren Buffett calls healthcare the tapeworm of the U. S. Economy.
It is estimated that by 2040 employers will spend as much as $2 trillion dollars on employee health coverage. Now, perhaps you're one of the privileged few who enjoy a high income bracket and have excellent healthcare coverage affordability isn't an issue for you. So why should you care well consider this? Numerous studies have shown that even modest expansions and Medicaid have led to economically meaningful reductions in the rates of robbery, aggravated assault and larceny theft following the expansions and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, police arrest declined significantly, producing 20-30% reductions in arrest in the first three years alone, study after study shows that broad health policy reforms that make health care more accessible and affordable can reduce our reliance on the criminal justice institutions in our country, keeping our communities healthier and safer.
These studies are new. The results have been known for years and in some case decades. So we know what the problem is. We know that it's killing americans at a staggering rate. We know that it's making our communities less safe and increasing our reliance on a costly criminal justice system. Furthermore, we know that it's crippling economic and business growth. We know what the solution to the problem is and we know that this solution is far less expensive than our current system. So what in the hell is preventing us from joining the rest of the developed world in implementing universal health care coverage.
I wonder could it have anything to do with nearly $700 million dollars spent last year by the healthcare industrial complex on political lobbying is the high cost of american medications possibly related to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is among the biggest vendors when it comes to lobbying politicians, followed by hospitals and nursing homes. Might the lack of political courage and willingness to enact proposals such as Medicare for all, actually be corruption by our elected leaders. Hmm. Imagine that treating health care like a commodity means that healthcare decisions are dictated less by science and more on what the markets, financial incentives demand.
The current economic rules of our dysfunctional medical market are as follows. Number one more treatment is always better. And of course, always default to the most expensive treatment options available. Two. A lifetime of treatment is preferable to a cure. Three amenities and marketing matter more than good care for the more technologies age. The more prices rise. Five, there is no such thing as free choice as a patient. You are stuck with the options, your finances and the market afford you six more competitors Vying for your healthcare.
Business doesn't mean better prices, but it can actually drive prices up. And it often does. Seven economies of scale do not translate to lower prices. Were their enormous market and political power? Big providers can simply demand even more. Eight. There is no such thing as a fixed price for a procedure or diagnostic test. And the uninsured of course, will be built at the highest rates. nine. There are no building standards. There is money to be made in building for anything and everything. And finally, 10 healthcare costs will rise to whatever the market will bear.
So this nonsense that we hear about the inherent capitalistic freedom in our current system. Well, that's just a myth now in the beginning, the concept of health care was actually much different from the beast of burden than it is today in her book, an american sickness, how healthcare became big business and how you can take it back. Elizabeth Rosenthal details how our current medical insurance system came into existence. The origin story is fascinating, but the well intentioned and result, of course, is tragic. Rosenthal tells us that quote, the original purpose of health insurance, which to mitigate financial disasters brought about by a serious illness, such as losing your home or your job.
But it was never intended to make healthcare cheap or serve as a tool for cost control. End quote as I'm sure you can easily guess, our capitalistic profit driven society instantly spotted a means to make money and a plan designed originally to help the average americans survive. The founders of the once non for profit Blue Cross Association nearly a century ago, had no idea how their innovation would evolve into the chaotic system that exists today. Instead of simply aiding a nation that should have been developing in the direction of keeping its citizens healthy simply for the good of the country.
The medical health insurance industry was warped into a monster that has held America back socially and medically progressing and it's killing people left and right in the process. So while many politicians are so quick to blame the epidemic of mass shootings in this country on mental health problems, You know what I'd have to agree with him. There is a true crisis and it involves the mental health of those whom we elect, who have an untreated case of greed and corruption and that my friends is the last word upfront.
I'm sean ST heart and you are watching or maybe listening to coo save America. Stay tuned. We have got a great show ahead As we continue this conversation about inequities in healthcare. Our guest today are dan Letterman, a retired medical and mental health licensed clinical social worker and the current chief executive officer of the Healthcare voice that is committed to advocating for the un and underinsured Dan has talked to and interviewed over 100,000 patients and is going to offer his unique insight into our dysfunctional health care system and of course make the case for Medicare for all.
A little later, we will be joined by another friend, Allan Kramer, who is a former healthcare administrator for a hospital in Canada who will help us to better understand Canada's health care system and dispel some of the myths. First up directly following the news that wasn't in the news segment, we're going to be joined by Michael Angelo Hambleton, a Bernie Crats running for Congress in florida's newly drawn 23rd congressional district. Michelangelo works as an independent Medicare advantage sales agent and has its own unique perspectives on America's health care system and I bet he's also got a thing or two to say about the shooting in vivaldi texas.
We'll be right back. America. America mm hmm. In the south, in the self professed land of the free, as we um told, so to speak, numerous anti protest laws have been creeping into existence throughout the United States in recent years. As of course, a retaliatory strike against the growing movements for social justice. There is a burgeoning new anti protest lobby seeking to suppress descent these anti democratic assaults on free speech and the rights of protests range from seeking to impose draconian criminal penalties for protesters, to providing alternative defenses for drivers who you guessed it run down protesters literally legalizing murder in this country?
Imagine that murder in this country from the same people that are so quick to profess the need to protect the unborn. one of these proposals Can be found in the Senate Bill 171 and House Bill 289 in Georgia, both fortunately Died in 2022. Now, Louisiana, it seems, is likewise intent on allowing its citizens to murder social dissidents. With the introduction of House Bill one oh one that proposes and provides a similar new legal justification for killing protesters in a nation with more guns than citizens. What could possibly go wrong with these proposals In another bill in Arizona Senate Bill 17, which was passed back in this year 2022 imposes new penalties for protesters demonstrating near gas and oil pipelines.
I wonder who's paying for that lobbying effort. The Center for Media and Democracy has recently launched an anti protest lobby tracker that's designed to help researchers, journalists and citizens shed light on the special interests behind these anti protest bills. You can find this tracker at and I'm sorry, anti protest lobby dot org once again, that's anti protest lobby dot org. In other news. The violence that has characterized the state of Israel since its establishment is nothing less than extreme and overwhelming the emergence of various security agencies such as the Mossad, the I. D. F. And other commando style units that are really little more than glorified terror squads, which the United States knows a thing or two about as well, are renowned for their ruthlessness against Palestinians.
And yet despite these agencies, it seems that Israelis are not quite fully content, Many are feeling that the enormous security apparatus is wholly insufficient and calling out for Israel Israeli citizens to take up arms gee that sounds familiar. More alarming though, are the recent reports on the surge of civilian run militias also seems roger familiar which are already operating in Palestinian communities. There is a new investigation by Jessica bon bon of Mint Mint Press News, which reveals that money from tax exempt american charities is finding its way to groups that support jewish terrorism in Israel to learn more about this story and the organizations that are in her report Please visit, Please visit Mint press news dot com and that of course concludes this week's news that wasn't in the news and it is now time to bring in our special guest and future.
Uh huh. Future congressman Michael Angelo Hambleton and we are going to help him to get elected. Michelangelo. Are you there with us? Hello? Hello. Hello, how are you doing? Good. I'm doing wonderful in yourself. I'm doing great. So I'm very excited. You are going to be our next congressman in florida. One could hope to be absolutely absolutely appreciate you having me. No problem, thank you for coming on. So tell us a little bit about yourself and your campaign now you're a fellow Bernie crats. So you've got probably most of my audiences support already.
Of course they have to live in florida. But tell us a little bit about yourself now. Um Yeah, go ahead. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your campaign and what caused you to run. Sure, well, first I want to appreciate you for having me. Um, first of all, I've been a British supporter of course since I was very young since I was 16, traveled to Iowa um with local Floridians of mine and I've just been very involved in politics since I was very young and you know, being in elementary school.
I always thought that was a career choice for me. Um got educated here in the district at florida atlantic university majored in political science and now with this opportunity um our congressional seats opening up and I'm interested in running for all of the people of the district and of our country. So um that is my purpose and reason to run and it's really to bring progressive change to our country and into the district. One of the things that I find fascinating and inspiring about your campaign is your personal history as someone who has actually experienced um growing up in and you know, and then shall I say impoverished, is that a fair word?
That is a fair word, you know. Um It was really hard growing up, you know my mom was a single mom, she stayed to take care of us, you know, make sure that we stayed out of trouble, got our education, I was homeschooled for parts of my educational background and then on it was in public schools for all my life as well. Public university. So I'm a product of the public school system and um you know my father was a doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital who was a state military.
Yeah, he was pretty smart, He immigrated to this country, believed in America. I believed in the promise of America. Um you know, so I come from a military background as well. My ancestors fought for this country um defended our country and um this is a way for me to enter public service. Um I I would say that's gonna be my contribution to our country as well. Now you're not a millionaire or billionaire though, that's gonna be kind of a different environment for our our lovely congress that's full of millionaires, isn't it?
I didn't, we've lost um Oh there we go, we'll get you back. Sorry, go ahead. We lost you there for just a second. Okay. No, I think it was my connection, I think it just froze at the level bank. So let's talk about um I know that that um you're very um obviously you're probably a supporter of Medicare for all or something of that nature and that's why I was kind of fascinating when you said that your father was a doctor because that must um that must be an interesting perspective that he brings to this as well then.
Well, um he passed on firstly when I was very young, but being around him. Yeah, no, it's okay. Um you know, I was I still have good memories and stuff like that, you know, he would definitely be someone who was very educated who would like to read a lot. Um So you know, I'm sure that perspective would be a part of the thought, but right, yeah, he passed on his three, so it's all good. Um Now let's talk a little bit about the um the recent shooting in in texas.
Um Now coming from florida, which is a I hate to use the word Red Blue State, but a red state for all intensive purposes? Um, one of the states, that's, that's also been passing a lot of laws making it easier to get guns. What would you bring? What do you think, What would you do as a congressman, um, in terms of resolving or reducing these, these shooting events in this country, what do you think the correct path forward to that is? Well, that is the excellent question.
Um, I do believe that we must end the gun violence in this country. Um, the district that would be representing, um, has Parkland included? Um, I was there for Parkland four years ago. Yeah, I was there for Parkland four years ago. I've lived in south florida all my life. Um, so, you know, I've made some meaningful connections there as well. And um, just being a part of what's been happening over the last four years and going to college and getting myself educated, I would definitely say we have to look at, you know, legislation banning assault weapons is an option we can look at on the table, um, and strengthening our ability to prosecute these people to the fullest extent of the law, um, maybe, you know, creating more federal law and more federal legislation to ensure that we don't mess around with these domestic terrorists because that's what they are, you know, anyone who incites terror in our country are domestic terrorists.
And when you treat like, you know, we didn't, we didn't get to treat them like one. So that's, that's my stance on that. What about um, what, what about even going after the gun manufacturers? Any kind of criminal type penalties for them? I mean, because if you look at the, um, the gun manufacturer involved in this recent tragedy in texas, they have a history of advertising to some pretty with some towards some pretty extremist kind of um, leanings. Um, it seems almost kind of that there they should bear some responsibility, correct?
Definitely. That is definitely something I would look at for sure. The gun manufacturers, I do have some sort of role to play here and I would definitely be open to that sort of legislation if elected. Absolutely. So now your new district is, how would you um, describe it? How would you describe it like politically and so forth? I mean, is it, is it mhm You know, uh, hi heavy towards the, you know, republican side or, or do we not know yet? That is a great, that is a great question.
So the state just finished drawing up the lines, they were having some litigation with, it doesn't look like this could have happened in time for um, the congressional district to change our district is not going to be affected. So the new wines are west boca. Um, both of the city of boca, the incorporated present boca Raton, Deerfield beach, pompano, beach curl springs, um, personal fort Lauderdale, um, lighthouse points. So basically all the beaches all along the coast and then you go a little bit more the new areas is Westbrook and that used to be with Lois frankel.
Um but now that's part of my district as well. Um so unincorporated Palm Beach County, Incorporated Boca Raton, Parkland, Coral Springs Market, Coconut Creek. Um those are the areas that would be voting in this very important open primaries. So it's a, it's an open race. So, um, tell us about your opponents. Well, the main contender is jerry Moskovitz. Uh he used to be the florida emergency management um director here in the state of florida. He used to be a state representative. Then there's two other candidates as well in the race and one of them I believe serve in the military also.
So that's a little similarity, you know, family heritage, I guess in my side. But yeah, I mean those sort of the main candidates that would be myself and for other people and I would definitely love to, you know, start my campaign, which I'm doing right now with you and I would definitely be sharing my message to all of the people um in this very important Democratic primary after what happened in texas last week that definitely solidified my soul searching after college, but you know, deciding what I want to do with my life and um this is a once in a generation opportunity then I decided I have to take it.
Yeah, and you know, um I don't want to be ages, but there seems to be a generation gap in in this country in terms of who is representing us. And it seems to me that we're denying, in a sense, the younger generation, I mean, it's it's your future, right? And yet we've got these almost oligarchs if you will that are that are trying to stick with the status quo. And from my perspective, we need younger people in office, we need people that have a whole new perspective on the world has changed.
I mean, let's talk about nancy Pelosi for instance, the world has changed substantially since the time that she was, you know, your age. I mean, her generation has had, you know, there they're run if you will and yet they're still taking away from the younger generations. Um, what do you think? Um, you know, younger generations such as yourself have to bring to the table in terms of what we, what we currently have? Well, I definitely believe that we need more young people in office. We need more people from generation Z. I'm from generation Z as well.
And definitely in Congress, I think I know one other person running in florida who will also be joining me for both elected and um, having our perspective in 118th Congress would be very important to our country, especially with everything going on with inflation with the mass shootings that, you know, don't stop in this country as well. So I definitely agree with you. Um, this would be a very important race. It's all hands on deck and um, definitely believe we need more people like that us and you know, people of color as well.
You know, we're underrepresented Latinos elected as well and you know, minorities as well as under representative. So this is a very important thing for me to do. Uh, this is very, it's a very ambitious goal, but it's something I believe in fully and wholeheartedly and that's why I decided to do it. Have, What obstacles have you faced thus far? Is there a lot of money? I imagine at some point a lot of money is gonna be pouring in to these campaigns. Um, I don't want to call out, um, you know, some of these uh, other candidates I'm vying against, but one of them already has a super pac and That has to tell you that, you know, they're they're not going to be 100% for the people.
Um, so, you know, I'm the only serious, um, Canada, I was saying this ratio has the potential to win. Um, you know, I have connections, I've interviewed aoc before before she won her congressional campaign when I was right before joining college and you know, other people who are role models to me in this Congress. So, um, I would say I'm the only serious right now, Um, I'm the underdog of the underdogs. But when all said and done, I think I might have a real shot someone in the seat.
So, Um, now to answer your question a little bit more going back, um, it takes a lot of money. Yes, yes. That is very true. The laws or the laws, but you know right now is either petitions or stop deadline unfortunate already passed. So the next option is the qualification fee, which is about $10,000 give or take. Um, so for these big races, they are, they make it a little harder than a lot harder actually than all the other races of course. So, um, but it's very important.
So I decided, you know, I'm gonna commit to the goal? Let me figure it out. Let me, let me get the message out. And I appreciate you giving me this opportunity. Yeah. This, this impediment to um, to running for office is, is just disgusting. Especially in, in this, you know, a nation that that considers itself a democracy. Um, exactly. And you know, the big money pouring in it really does. Um, I mean, there's no question that the scales are slanted against progressives, Right? But um, so what, what can, what can we, what can we do to help you get get elected?
What can we do? Um, I mean, obviously donating to your campaign is important, what else can we do? And how do we donate to your campaign by the way. That is a great question. So right now I have an instagram Micro angel for Congress. So if you google it in instagram, you can also look at my website that will be ashamed at Michelangelo for Congress dot com or follow also Michelangelo, Hambleton dot com. Those two websites, um, should get you pretty in the loop of what's going on.
Um, and definitely we're gonna need a lot of volunteers phone banking. Um, I'm hoping justice democrats gets ahold of this that email them. Um, have some people in the district, you know, vying for me as well. So we're gonna do the best we can and we're gonna keep pushing for for progressive change. And um, maybe we have the chance of making history and unseen for centuries in this country. You have to go that far back, um, to all the way to the Andrew Jackson time when Andrew Jackson seat left in Congress when he resigned.
Um, it was an open seat and a 22 year old one and served in Congress. So that's what I'm hoping to do. I'm 22 right now and I'll be serving when I'm 23 180th Congress. Yes. No, absolutely. We need to get you elected because we need more people like you in office. Um, it's, it's been so discouraging to see so many of these races, like with Nina Turner for instance, I mean, that was really disappointing to see her loss. And um, a lot of that has to do with, with, again, that these, these out, this outside money pouring into these campaigns.
Um, and you know, it, it scares me. Let's just put it that way because we're not getting, um, people that are representing, you know, their constituents were getting people that are representing their donors. Um, what, So if you had to, if, if let's say that you were on a debate stage right now and you were asked what your three most important issues are that you want to tackle, what would they be? I would definitely say inflation increase in american wages and, and gun violence in this country.
Very good. Those are very good, um, positions. Of course there's a lot of, um, now let's just talk about real quick inflation. What do you think is driving inflation right now? Because we're being told that it's Ukraine war. We're being told, um, a lot of things, right? Yeah. What, what would you, I mean, what do you think can be done to curb inflation and to get americans a decent living wage. That is a great question. I definitely believe as far as the pain at the gas pump, the congress has to be doing more, um, to alleviate the pain.
Um, we have to look at legislation to possibly tax these oil companies have a discussion with these oil companies do something because something is definitely not working. and you know, that is something I will look at. Um also as far as increasing american wages, we need to make sure that we look out raising the minimum wage is long overdue um for a raise in the minimum wage in this country are federal minimum wage is what still like 7 25 You know, it's, it's unbelievable, you know. Um so we need to look at that and and these, these are issues since I remind you sean, like since I was like a toddler maybe, and it still hasn't changed and and then I went through a whole college and, and you know, I have to be fighting for all of that.
So, um, it's gonna be an interesting campaign, an interesting terms, hopefully, and um, you know, I'm going to do everything I can for the american people. I'm unbox and unbossed and that's that's that's why I stand so absolutely some of my viewers and listeners are going to are going to ask because they've been somewhat disheartened with the Democratic Party. They're gonna ask why one is a democrat, why not one as an independent. What what would you say to them on that? First of all? That is an excellent question as well.
Um, I would definitely say running as a no party Philly candidate presents a lot of difficulty, especially within our two party duopoly. Unfortunately, it's not, unfortunately, it's not feasible. Um they make it so hard and you know, you know, and it's just the way our country's structured, it's just too structured for a two party system. It would take a lot of resources um to be able to pull that off and you can take a look at what ross perot tried to do um back in the day, you know, as a no party affiliate when he was running for president, he spent a lot of money, I don't know how much, but he spent a lot, he was rich and you know, he he was able to, you know, get the, you know, the job.
So running as a democrat in this primary presents me a real opportunity to win the nomination. And since it's a it's a Democratic district, you know, G plus nine. So um it's a Republican area, you know, with the beaches in boca raton, but then when you go west coral springs Parkland, it's democratic. So it hasn't changed that much. And if I win this nomination, I'll probably be joining hundreds in Congress. So I'm looking forward to do the best I can for everyone. Do you think of florida?
Because we hear all the time. World texas is turning more blue and florida is turning more blue. Do you see that? Well, I would definitely um contend that south florida is the bluest part of our state. You know, the Palm Beach County are Broward County. Um some parts of Miami Dade, what happened recently in the last two years? Um was very interesting to see in the presidential race, you know, um trump, got more support in the Miami area unfortunately than the last time. So you know the republicans are picking up some steam, definitely north florida is traditionally very republican, you know, you got matt gates um and what they did uh huh and what I'll say, I'll stand with uh also, you know, those who were drawn out of their congressional districts not drawn out, but they were yeah, they yeah, they were drawn out like they were like disenfranchised, that's the word I'm looking for from the system, you know, traditionally um due to our federal law, these were districts that were created to protect the minority vote um to protect the minority representation?
Rather, I'm sorry. And um I guess our governor didn't really like those two congressmen or that congressman that much and and they were able to um unfortunately get the way they wanted so because um you know, that's the way things are in the state, unfortunately, you know, it's mostly Republican uh governorship, usually Republican house and Republican Senate. So what are the issues that are driving people to vote Republican? And I mean, I know that that's kind of a straight question because there's a number of factors, but Right, is it just geographic, is it is it culture, do you think, is it, I mean is it like I think it has to go, I agree with you.
I think it has to go back to like your other question about why 3rd Party candidate doesn't really have a chance is because of a lot of culture. Um It's a lot of um you know just you know being around family like you know for example if you grew up in a democratic council you're probably gonna turn out democrats um and then you're not really gonna give it a second thought of, you know how the system works or if you should be M. P. A. Or all the other parties started out there.
So I think that happens a lot in this country. Our founding fathers actually don't even believe in political parties. So you know. Yeah and I mean that's probably why um you know and also you have you know I can't speak to republicans because I'm not a republican. But I mean that's probably the main reason why I would say um to answer your question now, is there anything in the republican platform that that you agree with on republicans? I mean that you would be willing to do that.
You would be willing to like work with them on a bipartisan basis to work with them. I believe the working class republicans. Um the republicans who are not the politicians, I can definitely work within the district. You know, my constituents, you know but the republican politicians. You know I'm gonna definitely do my best, you know like for example, we need to be increasing wages, I'm sure everyone agrees with that, you know, so, different issues we can work together on. Unfortunately, the main natural Republican Party has been dominated by the former president, and I think that did a very large, large disservice to the Republican Party.
I mean, what happened to the Republican Party of Lincoln and and um, the Republican Party of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Republican Party of of the back in the day, you know, that they stood for certain principles, and now it's all about one man, that's how I feel the Republican Party is right now, it's all about one man or whatever that one man says, and, and to be on the record, I believe january 6th was a disgrace, um, in a republic, and, um, you know, to provide a gen z perspective on that.
Um, I was in college at the time, and it was very scary, you know, me and my classmates didn't even know if this country was going to survive that day. Those were scary, 12 to 11 hours, and that's another reason why I'm running, I would say yes, well, I mean, we can't let that stand in the country, you know, anyone who commits terror or tries to incite violence or any of those things, um, should not be allowed to stand in this country. Well, they certainly should not be allowed to run for office again, and that's another thing, oh my God, that's crazy.
But so you have it. Um so okay, so once again, just tell us, what can we do to help? Where can we go to help you? Um let us know that one more time. Sure. Michelangelo for Congress dot com. Michelangelo, Hambleton dot com. You can find me on facebook instagram, pretty much anywhere else on the internet. Um and I would love your support. We're gonna need help with phone backing any donations right now. It's top priority um to qualify on the ballot and hopefully we'll give some of our progressive groups to come in and endorse as well.
And that way we can have a lot of support and get this race um going because I feel like we have a real chance. You know, I would appreciate all your support, I appreciate you, strong and I hope you're having a great, amazing show here. I don't know if that was the last question or that was that. Um we'll let you go now, but you get it, please let us know how your campaign is going. We want to continue to support you and hopefully you'll come back after we get you elected because you are going to be our next congressman.
Thank you so much. You know, I really appreciate it, Looking forward to it and go progressive, I appreciate it. Thank you, thank you so much. You have a great day, Youtube. God bless. God bless. Okay, now we're going to be going to um our next guest, we're going to be bringing in dan Lemmon and I'm very excited about this guest. Um So dan are you are you here? Hello. It works awesome. How are you Sean? I'm good and I hope you are too. I'm doing great. Um so I've been looking forward to talking to you.
Um Obviously we've talked and I appreciate you coming on this episode. It was a little bit last notice. Um Tell us a little bit about yourself. I I mentioned that you are a former clinical social worker um and you're also part of the um I'm sorry Voice for Healthcare Healthcare tell us about that organization. Right. Um I apologize you broke up the audio maybe. Yeah, I think we're having some issues with the internet connection. Um can you hear me? I heard you when you said can you hear me?
That's going to be the new name of this podcast. Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? We'll have to get us we'll have to get a telephone corporation to fund the show. Um you know I was asking about your organization uh and and just a little bit about your healthcare Healthcare Voice. Let me uh with your kindness. How did I actually get interested in all this? Well It was like back and believe it or not, 1985, I was living in California and I became aware of a woman who had breast cancer and she had requested to have a bone marrow transplant uh which was an appropriate request.
However, the medical director of the corporation as well as he was uh you know, high level administrator had denied the request. And um so a medical decision it turns out was made based upon that in the patient's best interest. But it was primarily financial. Thank Well the woman did pass away and left two beautiful Children. Her son happened to be an attorney. And with no experience or background in these issues, you decided to challenge the decision and in court and to make a long story short ah He was awarded $22 million dollars in the state of California.
Now I'm sure they settled for less, but he proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the decision was made so that he could get a bigger bonus and to save the corporation money. Well, it was at that time that the connections were made with me. Unfortunately, when I was 19 going on 20, my mother passed away from breast cancer. It was a late diagnosis and treatment. But that can happen. But between the two connections of this young lawyer and my mom is when I really first started to become interested in this whole issue of profit over people.
Yeah, and that's really what it's about unfortunately. So the the the healthcare voices basically uh I spent 25 years in public service working for the Department of Veterans Health Care Administration Over 25 years And towards the end, starting in 1985. Uh and beyond until I retired approximately from the via approximately 17 years ago. I really did become known as an advocate within the V. A. Healthcare system for patients for families and for dedicated healthcare providers and their support staff. And that's what I've been doing uh within the V. A. Healthcare system as well as enjoying my practice in home healthcare and doing some volunteer work and some pro bono work, just trying to be a voice and an advocate for people doing some problem solving uh with one patient, one family at a time, I am retired now.
I am retired now. But technically I do some pro bono work. How many americans do you think pass away every year because of the same story? Well, late diagnosis and treatment due to lack of healthcare insurance and before we proceed, I just and I did talk to your producer Mackenzie about this. I want your audience to know that while I've worked in healthcare for decades as a licensed clinical social worker, I don't consider myself to be per se an expert in Medicare for all. But having said that I've seen and heard about so many stories and of course I have both the personal and professional interests that I felt like I could come on the show and for lack of better words, you know, hold my own.
I did take some notes for myself trying to make perhaps over preparing rather than under preparing. But there are probably and I did take notes on this. So you'll excuse me if it looks like I'm looking down at some of my notes, uh the number of deaths according to Physicians for National Health Care Per year are approximately 45,000 people in the United States to answer your question. Yeah. And I would imagine that it's probably much more than that. Um you know, it's really hard to quantify that, but 45,000, you know, even if it was 45,000 I mean we're talking about no, I'm sorry if I said 1000 I apologize.
46 million. Oh 46 million. Okay. Yeah, that sounds, I apologize. That's okay. I might have misheard you as well. Um so you know, in as far as being an expert in Medicare for all, I mean considering that we don't have it, I think it would be impossible for anyone really to be an expert on that field. Um You know, I think we have experts on those that are saying this is why we shouldn't have it so called experts at least. Um you know, every other developed nation including a few that are not so developed um have a universal healthcare system in place and yet America treats that as though it's some untested experiment that's always gone awry.
And all the costs are unaffordable and wait times are too much and no, we can't, you know, because we've got to have freedom, you know, freedom in America freedom and choice with healthcare, um, which again is a myth because there's not really any freedom unless you're uber wealthy and can afford to go wherever you want to go. Um and president Kennedy, she indicated the need to go to a universal health care. I mean, it wasn't called Medicare for all per se, but You know, he, he proposed something very similar to that.
And yet here we are in 2022 and we still do not have any kind of, I mean, and the insurance industry is just getting bigger, more powerful and things have actually degraded. So, you know, we know that the cost of Medicare for all. I mean, studies have been done on this included by the Koch brothers ironically, and these studies have shown that that Medicare for all would actually save money. So why are we not doing this? That is absolutely true. Well, um, I don't want to over simplify the answer.
It's a simple question and it has a simple answer. And the simple answer is the reason why we're not doing it is because of money. I'll give you just a couple of recent examples in the state of California. The governor was really stepping up to the plate. Uh, the governor that's there now, stepping up to the plate to try just for the state of California, a Medicare for all type of program. And unfortunately, uh, he's peddled back on his political promise to go for it. Why? Well, the paper trails were transparent.
He received large donations from various sources. I don't feel it's appropriate for me to be online and tell you exactly what companies, what corporations, But it was from the hospital industry and it was from the pharmaceutical industry, uh, which by the way, as you probably know, because I'm sure you've done some homework that the hospital industry and the pharm pharmaceutical industry and thirdly, medical devices have turned out to be, especially over the last five years to most awful reasons for people, you know, having to spend a lot of money.
So he took that illegally money because the laws are what they are. And, you know, people can say, well, the politicians got bribed and it's illegal. Well, uh, the laws allow for all the senators, all the congressmen, uh, to accept money from um the companies and the corporations that to this day do not want Medicare for all because they feel like it will hurt them or their stockholders. Uh, it will it will harm them. Well, of course, you and I have common ground. Um, that's too bad.
Well, let's talk about that. So obviously this would, would hurt would hurt the insurance industry. There's no, you know, I mean, which again, I don't care, I care more about protecting human life and and making sure that people have the health care that they need. But when we look at the pharmaceutical industry, um again, other countries have a Medicare for all type system, how how the pharmaceutical companies fair there. I mean, I imagine they're still selling their their their wares in general and I'm going to generalize um the industrialized countries of the world, uh whether it be Canada or the european nations in general, ah People pay approximately 40% less for their medications.
That's a that's a lot of money. We know today as an example that the pharmaceutical industries and and don't get me wrong, Some of the pharmaceutical industries over the last 30 years, they've done tremendous things for many, many people. So we don't want to pretend like they're of no good. They in fact have created wonderful things to help people. Unfortunately, it's the cost and it's the stockholders. So insulin as an example, there are still so many people here in the United States that especially if they don't have health care coverage, uh they don't have access to programs and coupons and this, that and the other for whatever reason.
And so they're skimping, they're skimping on their on their medications. They're cutting back or sometimes people aren't buying as many groceries is as they'd like to or they're going into financial debt. I mean the list is endless as to the pain and suffering that so many citizens and americans have suffered in this country since unfortunately um back in the day uh 1973 it was illegal to profit off of healthcare In 70 for um one of our presidents just had a friend by the name of Perma Mente. Well, Kaiser Permanente of course is one of the hugest uh insurance companies and the network of hospitals, healthcare providers in the United States, especially on the west coast.
Well, Kaiser Permanente uh and the president at this time I made a deal making it legal to profit from people who have accidents, diseases and illnesses and eventually making fortunes of money off of these problems for so many americans, you know, I recently um was shocked to learn. Um and that that's because this is the I have there's a great clinic care in Washington state that I think would be a good model for health care. It's called the Everett Clinic and it's just fantastic I worried. However though because a few years ago uh they were being purchased and that purchase did unfortunately go through and I actually talked to um one of the physicians that was um she was a dermatologist and she was on the uh the head of the terminology department.
And so she was on the board that was considering um debating this and I don't know the full details, but what I was shocked to learn was that the company that we're buying was buying the clinic was an insurance company, which to me seemed like a huge conflict of interest. Um And so I looked into it further and it turns out that this is a fairly common practice. There's a number of clinics and hospitals and private practices that are owned by insurance companies. And that's just such a conflict of interest right there.
And especially the fact that most patients aren't even aware of that what's going on there. I mean that that to me again, the conflict of interest part aside, it just seems insane to me that an insurance company, he's buying up, you know, these private practices and hospitals. I mean, how long has this been going on if you if you know. Well, I I actually, I don't know. But the the issues here are that the laws that allow for this to take place are in fact written by lawyers.
These and and by the way, I want to make something else clear when a when a person needs a good lawyer fine by me. So we don't want to make blank. I don't want to come across blankets that, you know, all lawyers are part of the problem. They're not in fact, some lawyers are actually part of the solution, but they're up against a tsunami of money. They're up against a tsunami of money these laws allow for insurance companies uh to uh buy these individual practice groups and and larger practice groups and and not just the insurance, Well even uh medical corporations, I'll just throw out too uh H. C. A. And the tenant just as an example.
Uh, they, they buy up these practices by the way. I want to say that I, I see a a cardiologist in jupiter florida and his practice is owned by tenant. So they don't do all bad. It's just that there are so many opportunities to make massive amounts of money, massive amounts of wealth. And and it's legal. So until there's some type of um movement that is going to really push the ball forward and over the red line, so to speak, we're going to continue to see these types of, of things happening in our country.
Um, people want to see politics out of out of the health care system. But until that changes, I don't see the green light at this time, Although the movement is growing, I'm not a gambler Shawn, but I'll tell you just a quick story that in 1985, when I became interested in everything that we're talking about and then, some I made a prediction in 1985 that by the year 2020 we would have resolved these problems. Well, unfortunately now we're going into 2022 and in some respects were closer, but in other respects because of everything that is going on in our country today.
And I'll just be blunt. There's 76 million people that we know as you and I talk right now, they would be thumbs down on Medicare for all. They believe in freedom of choice. They don't understand the dynamics of what we're talking about. Their own families may be suffering and they may be going through all kinds of, you know, uh stress worrying about bills, but they're not voting uh they're not voting the way we would like to see. And the polls, thanks for letting me continue to talk here.
The polls talk about more and more people wanting to support Medicare for all my observation is is that it's not being shown and it's not being demonstrated at the voting booth. And so you can say that the 70% of Americans want Medicare for all. Uh and maybe that's true, but when it comes to pushing the button and seeing people actually voting for candidates that are not only promising to make a better effort towards improving our country uh in health care until the candidates come forward and keep their promises.
I'll give you an example, our Vice president, uh and she really was talking about, you know, moving forward on a platform for Medicare for all. Not that long ago something happened, I wasn't there, I wasn't privy to it, but she's walking it back a huge disappointment in my opinion. Well, she did that during her presidential run as well. Um She and what really kind of teed me off about what she did is twice at least two times on the debate stage, she was asked in front of a national audience.
Again, this was during the debates, do you support Medicare for all? And she raised her hand and then the next day on a morning show in some local place that didn't get any attention. She's like, no, I misheard the question. Okay, let's just say that that's true, that that's fine. That one time when you do that on the second debate and then you use this technicality Well, but your question was what I give up my insurance, which I wish that wasn't, she's not stupid. She knew what that that question was.
And that to me showed she knows that that's a popular platform and yet she's unwilling to support it, but she wants to at least confuse the public as to whether or not she supports it, that really I thought was just just tasteful. Um and yeah, we see all. I mean, you know, we see the and and that's why I think a floor vote on the House would be so important is to actually see where people stand on this because it's easy to say that you support something in the campaign trail, but once you get elected, it's it's how you vote the next the difference.
Um unfortunately back to that one reason why we are in the current situation that we're in, uh they may raise their hands on the stage, but if they feel like it's become the third rail for either votes or popularity caving in to special interest groups who do not support Medicare for all. And then the raising of the hand and then backtracking on it, uh, it becomes a relatively easy thing to do. And by the way, I'm open to the idea of her, if she so chooses to revisit and really not only listen with her head, but also with her heart, because I, I have a sense that in her heart she knows what's right, let's see if she's capable and any anybody else, you know, people are entitled to change their minds about things.
We've seen that with a lot of politicians who have changed their mind in the right direction. So I want to remain somewhat hopeful than anybody who has historically been opposed to Medicare for all you can start, you know, moving this forward and that includes who's ever in office now and who's ever thinking of running, You know, um there's a, he's the host of another show, it's called the Young Turks name is chang cougar and very funny thing happened during the presidential um, I think it was, yeah, I think it was the last presidential elections.
He, what happened to interview Michael Bennet, the senator in colorado and he asked, he basically started off with, you know, would you agree that Medicare for all would be like the cadillac of insurance plans for the public and Michael Bennett walked right into that and said, oh absolutely, that would be the, you know, that would be the best of the best insurance. And so then they follow up questions, well, well, would you support that then? You just said that, that is, you know, the cadillac of insurance, your words, would you support that then?
Uh, with, with a vote? And of course he said absolutely not, no. And I just thought it was so exactly. I mean, here he is admitting this is the kind and, and this is by the way, you can find this on Youtube this clip. Um, but he's admitting that is the cadillac of insurance and I think the, the advantages, I don't think he knew who check hunger was. So I think that he was under the impression that this was just a another corporate media outlet perhaps, um, rather than the progressive outlet.
So he may have not realize where this was going. But even still that, that sort of depraved honesty, he's just stunning because it does show in their hearts, most of them know that it's the right thing to do, but when it comes to, and I would say it's not even so much politics as, as it is money in politics, that's driving these, these problems, it is the money and you know, the old phrase follow the money. Um, you know, even, I remember 15 years ago, at least a huge add huge ad in the newspapers, Aetna Insurance company supporting what you and I are talking about.
Well, they got, they got bust somewhere. I don't know what they figured out that it wasn't in their stockholders best interests, but there was a time that they were behind this really. So there's a lot of, you know, it's, it's it's it's one thing for money to be so heavily influencing what's going on in healthcare today, especially again with the hospital's medication and medical devices. But when we take ourselves away from the court that the, the money and the politics and then kind of look at what's going on underneath that that might be obstacles to preventing ordinary citizens to jump on board with this.
Um, there's there's continues to be a tremendous amount of misinformation, lack of education. Um, and and the public relations of that people are reading about and seeing about that are convincing ordinary people that it's not in their best interests, which is really, you know, very sad, very sad to me. A lot of fears. And there are so unnecessary and the only way to really get around these unrealistic fears, it's, it's got to be more and more education now. I don't want to change the chapter here, let alone the book, but we see what's going on in our country with other, you know, very hot issues and you think like, common sense would prevail and yet it's not.
So I'm hopeful that this will happen. I don't see it happening soon. I just, I wish it would. Um, but we, we've got to, there's the organization which I quoted before Physicians for National Healthcare, they've been around, Uh, since 19, late 1980s that I know of. I was asked to actually become, not a member as a physician, but just to join. And, and I'm, and I'm friends with in social media, physician in Berkeley and who is also involved in clean air. And she sees what happens, you know, to people that don't have clean air.
And I've experienced it myself in the San Joaquin Valley when I was there for about 10 years. But she, uh, uh, talks about other countries that, you know, in other industrialized nations That you have healthcare insurance for 99-100 of their populations. And we see that there in fact many of them living healthier lives and spending less money, they have less infant mortality. Uh, they have earlier diagnosis and treatment. I mean, the list is, it's, it's, it's wrong. And so because our american culture spared it out with survival of the fittest, there is still this unfortunate mentality, even in health care that you may not be entitled two get healthcare or if you are entitled to it, you're gonna pay and that payment might cause you over the long run to go bankrupt because of medical bills, bankruptcies by the way, primarily are due to hospital bills or if somebody doesn't go bankrupt then they are going to have to take out a loan or they're going to have to get a second job.
We don't see this being talked about in the local mainstream media, it gets a little bit of attention, but in my opinion it should be daily, people should be, you know, just like the weather report, we get a weather report, they predict what the weather is going to be next month, next week rather may not always be accurate. But having said that we just need to have more and more attention to this and I think eventually we can overcome it. Well, I think it goes back to the money because if you look at the mainstream media, uh I mean a lot of money is spent from pharmaceutical companies on these advertisements.
Um it's the same thing with the insurance industry and so again, that's that's another conflict of interest. Um now you you would you have made an earlier 0. 2 things that I want to return to, but one is the people that are against the, that would vote no as far as the american citizens are concerned and I think a lot of that has to do with the media, but there's this concept and we hear this all the time, freedom, you know, you know, free choice and freedom, what exactly do they, how do they, that's what, where I I think is a narrative that doesn't make sense because freedom for as far as what Because in our, I mean to me, freedom, if you're gonna use the word freedom, that more applies to a Medicare for all system where you have choices of treatment, you have choices of doctors.
You don't know what freedom do they think that they have in the current system? This is what I don't understand. Well, um, you know, if if a person today is working full time and the company that they work for is contributing to their healthcare program, okay, their healthcare insurance rather, um, then they can then go to their human resources personnel and they can look at what their options are. They want this, they want that they want gentle, they don't want gentle, they want mental health, they don't want mental health.
And so there are a lot of people that who are working full time and they pay some for their insurance and their employer pay some. So there's a lot of people that say that if we had Medicare for all, they're not going to have those choices. It's not true. It's just not. I mean, well, they people want to promote it as it's not true that they're going to somehow be forced into something that they don't want to be forced into and let let me bring up an interesting point.
It's kind of like two sides to the same point we do see and sometimes we should see that there is a lack of trust today in our government. You've you've actually talked about it yourself that there are some things that people just don't trust their government to do or not to do. And so that also gets factored into this Medicare for all, because Medicare for all would be a huge, so to speak social program that is going to have to be managed by the federal government. And by the way, years ago I thought maybe in four different sectors of the country, uh, to kind of break down the administrative issues.
So there has been mismanagement of other federal programs, there has been waste, there has been fraud and there has been abuse. However, those same concepts take place in the private sector as well. And if you want to see who has more waste fraud and abuse our federal government or the private sector, well then it's no contest and I don't think and and by the way, I'm not supporting waste fraud and abuse, but I'm just saying that there have been federal programs that have been mismanaged. You know, people joke about what we went to the, we went up to send the rocket ship up in the toilet costs $100,000.
Okay, I get it, but you know, let's get out of the toilet, let's let's just, you know, move forward and and and and try and you know have a have a human, have a more humane country Where we actually wake up and have some deeper understanding that we really are all in this together. I talked about this in 1985, That we will remember things like I wrote in 1985 about what happens when there isn't a an an effective public health structure. And lo and behold we see it now with Covid and you would you would have thought that with Covid, that that would have been kind of like um a time in and our our our our our current here and now to say, wow, look at all the people now that are suffering because they don't have health care coverage because they lost their job.
Well, when you lost your job, because you got sick, you know, sure, they pumped out a lot of money uh which in part is causing inflation, but having said that, you'd think like, ok, let's wake up and and let's really understand that we need a good health care system for everybody because it will, in the long run it will help everybody if if if if people have that understanding, you know, not only in their brains, but in their hearts as well. Well, let me ask you, we here um joe biden tweets us out all the time um that healthcare is a human, right, is it?
And what does that mean? What does it mean if we say that healthcare is a human, right? Because, well, okay, so what, what you bring up is, is the Age long debate since 1974 and that is, is health care a right or is it a privilege? And I will tell you that there are many people who are very bright and they're very articulate and they can make a strong case for it's a right. There are also very bright, articulate people that can make a case for saying no, it's a privilege.
And the people that say it's a right, uh, they do say that it's okay for our government to impose certain taxes on people to help those that are burdened by the free marketplace. Okay, So I'm not an expert in taxes. I'm not an expert in math. But let me say this, we already know that there are corporations and people that legally are allowed to avoid paying certain taxes. They're not cheating. They're legally allowed to, or there might be billions of dollars still set aside an offshore accounts.
It's not illegal, but there's a lot of ways for our country to have more money for health care. You know, people are worried that they're going to tax the middle class more for this or even people should have more skin financially in the game, even if they're at poverty level, maybe they should contribute $50 a month. Uh, if they're not paying any taxes at all. But, you know, that's like, you know, it's time to stop picking on little people and let's really look at where the money is at and how it could effectively be redistributed.
um, and not just the 1% of the 1%. Yeah, they're part of the What the dialogue that we're having, but then there's the 1% And then, you know what, then there's the 10%. I mean it's, you know. Yeah. So the rights versus privileges. Well, people that say it's not a right, they say it's a privilege and you have to work and you have to save as and and so that when you reach a certain age then you can have Medicare, well that has really worked for a lot of people, but times have changed.
Not everybody is gonna be around to make it to Medicare age. They're not necessarily going to have a job that helps pay for their insurance because there's this whole gig economy now where corporations have learned very effectively that if they only have somebody work for them for 31 hours a week and no insurance. So now they're on their own. And so you've got this program and their program and Obamacare and this care and and blue shield and blue florida, you know, it's such a patchwork of system and and the the administrative costs to run all these programs and what we have now are huge.
These countries that only have universal healthcare, their administrative costs are maybe 3% and ours are like 8%. That's how, that's a lot of meatballs. Yeah, yeah. You know, I guess so. It really comes down to you whether or not healthcare should be, you know, a commodity traded on the open market. Um, I would say no. Because, you know, when it comes to being a commodity, there's going to be, I mean, the profit incentives in healthcare just don't make sense, right? Because, you know, companies, you know, they're selling a product, you know, coke or Pepsi, whatever they're going to compete.
And it's very cutthroat. They're going to, it's not right. But when it, when it comes to health care, you're, you're taking people's lives and jeopardizing them. And, and, and just the thing is health care is not a commodity and we should not. And even if you're, you know, you can have a great job and I think we've learned this in covid, uh, there can be a catastrophic crisis that is beyond your control. And all of a sudden you're situation changes. And not only is that bad for you, but that's bad for the community, It's bad for public health in general.
Um, the average, you're absolutely right. And it gets back to that lawyer that, you know, so his mother passed away because of profit over people. I was just today looking, uh, and there's no need to quote the sources, People are free to, you know, find their own information. But I was just looking today And again, back to a bankruptcy medical bills. Well, 2/3 of all personal bankruptcies Are, are due to health care, mostly hospitalizations. Of those, 20% of those personal bankruptcies are people That are over the age of 55.
Then when we look at debt, Almost 60% of all Americans at some point in time in their life have accumulated debt due to medical bills. That's 60%. So what I was reading is 70% of people with in that population, they're cutting their actual their food expenses. bankruptcy. And then you talk about worry and anxiety. Well, since Covid, I mean that since Covid, but 39% of the american public is more worried about their financial bills than they are about getting Covid. That's, that's, you know, that's sad. And the list of this, you know, like 33% of Americans through physicians for national healthcare talk about 33% of them, they're postponing a visit to their doctor Because they don't want to incur the costs or, or the tests.
And in fact 20% of Americans sometimes skip a test because even the copay Then we've got about 65 um, uh, of our population still today have financial concerns about what unexpected medical expenses. So you can't even like live in the here and now you're already anxious. What is anxiety? Well, it's about worrying about something in the future. Uh, you know guilt is, you know, the past, but Why would we want to live in a country that's, you know, say 60% even that's, that's on their minds. They're worried if something is going to happen it, you know, it really is, it's it's a moral ethical issue that our country hasn't come to terms with about healthcare.
And of course other issues as well, of what we see unfolding today, we'll, and I'll give you an example of a catastrophic crisis. Um, again, let's look at you baldy texas, the school shootings. Um, who do you think pays, you know for those medical costs for those students. I mean, I actually, I looked into that a while a while back and it turns out if your shot, if your child was shot in school, um, that's gonna either affect your insurance or you're gonna get to medical bill that includes the ambulance to the hospital, that includes the care at the hospital.
So if if you're, you know, working a minimum wage job and you know, your kid is shot and you don't have insurance. Well now you're in debt. Well, people don't, you know, need to, I mean, not again, I'm not saying people are going to get site, but there are instances of, of, of things that happen that you cannot prevent that, you know, it is beyond your control. And we're living in a society with climate change with, with, you know, the issues with air quality. Um, I mean, people, we have a sick society and we don't have the infrastructure in place to properly care for our citizens.
And you know, that goes back to what some people will say, well, how are we going to pay for that? Which is why I hate hearing that argument. Um because it's like, how do we pay for everything else? Right? Um but no, how how would you, I mean, people would say, well, how are we going to pay for that? Well, obviously the answers through taxes, right? But The savings talk about the savings, because currently if you're paying 40% of your income. um which is what the average american budgets for health care or should be budgeted for healthcare.
Um I mean, even if you took that down to 20% of your income, um if you're paying that for health care now, the taxation that you would be paying wouldn't even be close to that, right? That's that's that's what I've been led to believe that people that share that this phrase of how are we going to pay for it? Um Well, we somehow don't have issues with paying for other things. Was one point that you just brought up and, you know, it's fine to have a good military industrial complex, but is it overblown?
And if it's overblown by how much um but and then all the other things that we do, you know, spend money on, look, you know, it's a free country. Yes. So, uh so the federal government, they make huge money in taxes every hour of the day on people that continue to unfortunately buy cigarettes. This is an example and um, you know, where's the public education and on how much money that's costing our country. Okay, So I think there's enough evidence out there to say that with all the administrative costs that we spend back to 8%.
Whereas the other countries are doing 3% for administrative court. That in and of itself is a huge saving. I want to go back to something that you just said though, and this really is of concern to many physicians and other health care providers who have their hearts in the right place and they bring up what you brought up the infrastructure right now, there are certain areas of the country as we talk and I live in one of them uh in the city Where you might it might take 3-4 months to see some primary care doctors or even a little bit longer for a specialist.
This is a concern uh to healthcare providers who have their right who have their heart in the right place. But they also know and say, well, if all of a sudden, which we know isn't going to happen if everybody were going to be eligible for Medicare for all, there's not enough doctors, there's not enough nurses, there's not enough life nurse advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to really cover Medicare for all as we talked. But let me say this, that's by design. That is not an accident.
The number of doctors that we have in the United States has been severely limited uh, to only allow a certain number of people into medical school at one time And back in the day. I don't know how it is today, but I know that 20 years ago the american Medical Association and I'm sure has done wonderful things. But they also limited at least back in the day, the number of people and then the expense of going to medical school. The debt. I mean really you want to go into debt in order to take care of people, whether they want to be a dermatologist, whether they want to be a heart surgeon or brain surgeon, uh orthopedic surgeon reconstructing hands from injuries.
I mean, you name it. Why would we, why would our country want to force medical students into huge debt? So they come out and you know, um, it's not an easy thing. Well, I want to say, I want to just add something that you said because you mentioned that that that they they limit the number of um people that can, that can get into med school. Now, my understanding is that that that's not entirely the limit is on the residencies that are available when you actually get through medical school.
And so what we have because of these and this was actually passed by Congress. I I don't remember when uh in coordination with the american Medical Association as you mentioned. Um, so there are actually a number of students that graduate from medical school that that go into debt. And they find that because they can't get a placement with residency which is which has been limited um itself or not. They either have to wait until the next term to get into a residency, which of course, unfortunately most.
So we've literally got students that have completed medical school that cannot get into a residency because of these restrictions. And that is to my understanding, I think that's what you were talking about and and I think people need to understand that you know, we have people and they go to medical school that cannot be positions because they can't get into a residency because we limit the number of of residencies that the hospital can can intake. Well like you, I learn something every day. I really was not aware of that.
So you know, that's just you know more uh you know, sadness to you know, to the system. But the other limit to is the cost of medical school. I mean to even get in. I mean, so there's so many impediments and you do have to and in terms of the shortage, they, yes, it's true that there is not perhaps enough medical professionals for Medicare for all right now. What people need to understand is there's currently not enough medical professionals for the system that we have now. Um, Exactly, exactly.
Especially in rural America and a lot of physicians are entering retirement age and we don't have enough people even thinking about going into medical school to combat these retirements. And then of course a lot of physicians, I know a couple that have said, you know, I'm just, I'm done with the system, It's not worth it. Um, we're losing nurses and, and, and, and doctors and, and so we don't have, the system that we have is not working either. So we, you know, the people that would argue, well we don't have the physicians and the infrastructure for Medicare for all that's true.
But we, we also don't have those resources for the system that we have now and it's getting right, let alone the future When it was 1985. And I thought this was going to be, you know, a lot more improved and resolved by the year 2020. Like I said I was a gambling man and I certainly on that one and I lost. So we're now in 2022, I can't take a guess as to when we're going to even at a rate of slow guided implementation in, you know, state by state or section by section.
I do know this sooner or later we're going to have to join the rest of the world and and and do, I hate to say it the right thing. Um I don't know when it's gonna happen, but I don't wanna I don't wanna lose faith and I don't want to lose hope that someday we will come around and look back in the history books and say, well, this is how it was and and this is how it is now. Well, you mentioned doing it by the state level and you would really mentioned that Governor Gavin Newsom, the governor of California had promised that in backtrack. Now.
I've heard a lot of pros and cons about doing this at the state by state level. And I'm just curious is that feasible? Because there seems to be, I mean, it doesn't seem as though that would work at a state level only because you're still dealing with, again, you have insurance companies that own clinics and hospitals and um I mean, what do you think about that? Is that is that a feasible pathway to a national program, Sean? I I don't, it's it's literally above my pay grade, but let me say this something, even if it were a experiment, okay, might be better than nothing.
And I know that you had talked about what would happen to the companies, the businesses, the corporations that are currently, you know, making money in the state. What would happen if my guess is is that Maybe 10% would leave, I don't because they're still going to these companies, they're still gonna be able to build, uh, they're still going to be able to build uh somebody and they, their profits may not be as great, but you know, if people can get medical care and just keep up with the rate of inflation at that with the tax base, I'm talking about Medicare for all you see what what's angered a lot of people and to a certain degree to myself as well.
I didn't like, and I don't like the concept of saying, you know, we should have free medical care or we should have free education. Everybody knows one way or another, it's not free. There would be nothing wrong with saying, why can't we have publicly funded health care and publicly funded uh education and by publicly funded that means taxes, it means corporations that, you know, uh, it's not free. And so people that maybe for whatever reason don't have their thinking cap on and then they'll start resenting that word.
All right, let's, let's deal with that. By the way, Vermont, we're not proposed as a singular state of Medicare for all. And it didn't happen. And the only reason to end happen in Vermont, which is a very small state compared to California. Uh, the only reason it didn't happen government is because they couldn't really sit down with pencil and paper and say how are we going to pay for this? Had they done that Vermont may have had been the first state, it's not over, would I like to see instead of state by state?
Well I would like to see it, you know, a nationwide, it's huge. Can I talk about something that's a little bit sensitive to all of this? Can when any person googles Medicare fraud? Some people and that's probably accurate, have mentioned that as you and I talk Medicare fraud in the United States Is equal to approximately $60 billion dollars a year. Now in terms of the GNP and the terms of the vast number of dollars that we do spend on healthcare, I don't want this to sound wrong. It's not that huge sum of money.
I mean it's huge to you and me, I mean it's beyond huge. But um we have people for instance, in the state of florida who recently got built, charged for bilking Medicare, a huge corporation who changed their name And the head of the corporation uh testified, he took the 5th a number of times and he was let off the hook and that could have mentioned his name, But about four or 5 other people beneath him went to prison. And now it turns out if you do research that when severe Medicare fraud takes place by huge organizations, they sometimes end up settling with the federal government to the tune of 10 cents, 20 cents on the dollar, is there fine.
So this this mentality of the Wild west of you know, trying to bilk the government And then knowing that if you get caught, if you're a huge corporation, well you're going to spend maybe you'll pay back 20 cents on the dollar. You know this business of, you know, we want to be a tough law and order country. Well we should be when it comes to the right things and Medicare fraud and waste and abuse and Medicaid and you know, we can do better. It's a bad image. And so a lot of people think, well if everybody now is going to be Medicare for all The 60 billion that could turn into a greater sum of money, I'm not saying that it would happen, but we need to, you know, they say, well there's not enough employees to monitor this Medicare fraud.
Uh you know what we can do better, we can do better. On that note, I want to bring in um our other guest if you'll stick around please, he's a hospital administrator, former hospital administrator in Canada. And I want to get his perspective on on a lot of this too, because I think that can answer a lot of questions about what kind of fraud, you know, it is possible under under a national system. Um So I'm gonna bring my producer into. So um hello there. You hi there.
Hi alan, how are you doing? I'm pretty good sean how are you? I'm doing great. So I don't know if you've been listening to some of the conversation um But you know what is the the well let me look because Mackenzie has done a lot of research into the Canadian healthcare system so I'll let her take the lead on this. But I am curious um I hear that you have, I hear that you have to wait like 12 months to even get in to see a doctor up there in Canada even for like a heart attack.
Is that true? I'm joking of course. But yeah I'm not actually here as any kind of expert at all in the I've done very little research on the Canadian medical system other than going to Canada frequently and finding out that it does not apply to americans no matter how badly they're bleeding. But I'm I'm just here on the show today, I'm a producer but I'm here just as a guest as an average american who has to use the medical, you know our our medical system a little more than the average american.
And you know I invited my friend Alan here as an average of almost average Canadian who also it takes yeah advantage of it takes advantage of the wrong term but he's also utilizes the medical system quite often. So between the two of us we both have a lot of experience with our individual system and Allen used to work in the hospital as well correct. He did. I'll ask him for a second. And so yes. So basically the first, the first question really, Allen is um you know, what, what did you do in the medical um industry in Canada?
And do you think being in the system to some degree would change your experience getting health care in fact? um well, I've been retired for 15 years, so my experience is not experience in the industry is not that recent. I worked for about 20 years and hospitals in the Toronto areas Director of Finance. Your last question. Um What was that again? Mac I was just wondering that, you know, at the end of the time when you were a director of Finance in the hospital system um Do you did you get say better healthcare because of it?
Do you think you're the same as any other person in Canada? No. Same as any other person. Aside from the fact that we're you actually working in the hospital? Okay then, I guess I guess you you're a little closer if something happens. Well, yeah, I mean, I yeah, I should, maybe, maybe I should, maybe I should backtrack a little bit um if I'm there and I had to go to emerge um might I get special treatment? Well, one or two times I would say that I would I would say that happened.
Yeah, I'd get the director of emerge, you know, come right over and but you know, I was nice to him. Well it was it was because you were nice probably I'm sure not not because they needed you back at work quickly. Alright. So yeah, so let's let's cut to the big major question. The first thing that comes into everyone's head when we think about Canada's universal health care system and the um big sacks smith is that in Canada because the government is providing in one form or another health care that there's no sense of urgency that there's no that um you can't get a better doctor faster doctor, you're just stuck in the system and it's going to take forever now.
First off before before you accept a couple of things to say before you answer the question of if if you think that it takes you a long time being healthcare. Um I'm just gonna throw out that as was mentioned during the podcast interview, I'm not sure what people the United States are worried about in comparison to Canada because it takes us at all long. I just scheduled an appointment with my primary care position for my annual physical and you know she was scheduled I did a couple of weeks ago.
It's four the end of July well let's not forget that if you don't have insurance and and also you don't have any money. The wait time is like forever because you're not going to get in during the quite a minute one of the one in one of the low cost clinics but potentially yes and um no of course my my annual physical is not necessarily, you know an urgent matter and I just need to get in the mindset that if I want it to happen annually each year at the same time, I need just plan three months in advance to make that happen.
But then I also have a lot of more urgent medical needs, what different appointments with specialists that I need to have and those do not, yeah, you can wait a long kind of those. Um Now I've always been of the impression that this, I hope here is slow in Canada is a huge myth and then dan dan here, he directed me to an article um that was published by something called the fraser Institute, the Canadian organization um Yeah, obviously fraser set headquartered in Vancouver but with they they they they have offices all across Canada and they're saying that yes, that's true and they're saying that that's the worst thing about from Canadian healthcare is that people do wait far too long for non emergency type things.
So alan, what what would you have to say about that? Well, I mean I do think that americans are pretty good at inventing um myths about the Canadian and other systems because they just have a very difficult time seeing seeing across the borders, but it doesn't mean that some of it isn't true, I mean our wait times often. Too long. Yeah. Um they certainly can be but I think what what people lose track of is that you know it can very much depend on how urgent things are.
We can um sure if it's an elective surgery um you know a wait time might be. I guess what I would phrase is too long but if it's urgent yeah I mean if it's urgent things tend to happen right away. I mean I was um I went in with a with a hard issue with blocked arteries and and they kept me in a community hospital until until they were ready to do um uh to do a quintuple bypass operation that happened the same week. Uh you know things are urged and you're gonna you're gonna wait longer.
Um There could be a significant wait time for something like an M. R. I. Um But if you really need it, if you really need it you're going to get it the next day. What do you define though when you said like too long, what do you define is too long. Can you give an example? Too long? It's too long is a phrase that Canadians like to use like um I don't think I could quote um a specific wait time for a specific procedure and if I did it could be out of date and I guess it can depend on the circumstances and exactly where where one is.
Certainly I've had long waits for. Yeah. Well will there ever be any instance in your experience where somebody would have to wait as long as the year to get. Um No years a year a year sounds like a year sounds like a real stretch unless there's no I read that another circumstance that leads to it. Um Another criticism of the Canadian system is that rural areas are not as well. Um I'm not sure what they're comparing that to as well. Take well obviously they're they're saying the rural areas do not get the same medical um services that you would get if you're living in the city.
And I think that's just out of curiosity would you say that they do in the US? No no no they absolutely don't. Um But I suppose looking at um I mean if we're looking at looking to Canada as a model to try to emulate oh as far as mental health or not. Well speaking of mental health since I accidentally said it now I I do know that that the universal health care in Canada does not include dental doesn't include it doesn't include dental. The clearly it's a it's a big priority of the left in Canada right now is to try to get universal dental insurance.
In fact since the since the ndP are currently it's a minority government. And the ndP are propping up the liberals. Many believe that they're really gonna force some form of universal dental insurance plan on the country in the very near future. Let me hear, Hold on a minute, dan. Um you and I talked about that if we were going to emulate a healthcare system, Sweden would be one to consider. Now, as far as I'm aware, they include dental vision, everything under that system. Is that correct? Come on to my knowledge.
Um that that is correct. Um, I also, I think, you know, shared with you or Mackenzie, uh, an article about how universal healthcare is delivered or quasi universal health care is delivered in Germany, that appears to be a blend of allowing americans to have more choices yet at the same time more, you know, universal. And I read the article and I would have to read the article about six times and perhaps seek consultation on really understanding the business model. It was, it was submitted to me through a friend of mine who's a PhD scientist uh and thinking that Germany has a good healthcare system and after that article, I did nothing further to identify the, how it's working or how it's not working.
Um the article that I sent to Mackenzie seem to point towards, mm hmm. The United States maybe not trying to emulate nearly as much the the current um, Canadian model ah of which by the way I know even less about than the United States, better than the United States has. Well, one thing that must be understood and I've said this, I think to you, Mackenzie, what has to be understood is that the United States continues to be for better or worse, the most powerful nation in the world.
And in terms of money and also brain power, uh, huge amount of brain power. Obviously we welcome anybody from anywhere with brain power. I mean, my goodness, we are, you know, okay, so we got to the moon now, there was competition with another nation and a huge amount of money was spent to get to the moon. But how did we do that? Because we were motivated, we wanted to be the best. And I've been saying since 1985 that if we put our mind to it, we literally could be have the best universal health care system in the world without the huge taxes that the Scandinavian countries do pay, they have other benefits.
How do you feel about the taxes in Canada, do you think that you pay it of absorbent amount because healthcare is concluded included? So you're asking, you're asking me, man, I'm asking you, is it even broken down when you pay taxes? Do you even know when or how much goes to what? And 2? And to an extent you do only, but only to an extent because a lot of it comes out of general tax revenue um in Ontario, like healthcare is a provincial provincial jurisdiction. Um there's a federal Health Act that basically says that provinces have to provide universal health care in order to get the federal contribution and that there are certain there are certain rules.
For instance, you can't have copays and things like that. So provinces are not allowed to impose any copays um in terms of specific taxes, um There's a 2% employer tax, so every employer pays 2% of their payroll for for healthcare. Um There's a personal um there's personal health tax in Ontario that ranges from 0 to believe it's either $900 or $1200 um depending on one's income level. There's also a healthcare. Sorry, what's that? There's also that that's tax, is that correct? Yeah, that's through your tax return. Yeah. So you don't you're not gonna pay, you're not gonna if your income taxes, if your taxes, if your tax rate is very low, you won't you won't pay that.
Um And there's also a healthcare surtax on the higher on the higher brackets. Um. Mhm. And that's, you know, that's specifically designated. Clearly there's a There's a provincial sales tax of 8% on everything and and a big chunk of that goes towards healthcare, so you're paying a lot of, you're clearly paying a lot of taxes you're paying more taxes than americans toward health care, not just the numbers, but it doesn't seem like you're paying crippling taxes, like you're paying a third of each paycheck towards taxes. No, well, I'm sorry, run that by me again, you know what I I was just saying, I don't understand, I'm not sure how the numbers work but it doesn't sound as though like that you're bringing home very little of your paycheck because so much of it goes to that it depends on it, you know it's a it's quite a graduated rate so it very much depends on your income.
Um Certainly and certainly at at upper levels you're clearly pending, you have more money. So you're noticing you're still not really hurt by the amount of tax that's coming out because you have more money for yourself at the same time that you're giving out more for taxes. I would say that Canadians complain less about taxes than americans. Canadians complain less about just about everything than americans. But um the one thing Dan was saying about you know a certain level of painless nous um in the U. S. As you shifted to a universal healthcare model.
Um I mean the one thing that the US experiences right now is is a huge is a huge employer payment. At least most employers for that goes to insurance companies. Mhm. Um So so that a tax on employers. Um I mean that could actually, they could actually end up with a lower payment than they've got now. Um Various ways of various ways of handling it, but there's already that base built in where an employer expects to be um to be paying a load of money to insurance companies.
Um So it's, I mean, to me it's completely inconceivable that the US is, you know, the only developed country that relies so heavily on insurance companies. I don't I don't get it and I don't get the argument that, oh, gee you know, you're you're in a terrible place in Canada because you're letting the government come between you and your health. And I just, it's like, first of all, it's a myth. Um it's physician's control um positions, control what is medically necessary and it's covered if it's considered medically necessary by positions, that's how the system works.
And I've heard so many horror stories from friends about, about insurance companies that insurance companies telling their physician that what the physician said was medically necessary was really not medically necessary. So um that's a that's in the United States, right? Yeah. Do you, do you have a private insurance companies in Canada at all? Yes. Um The because certainly for drugs um Until you're 65, the government does not cover drugs. So you do have to rely on, you do have to rely on private insurance companies also for also for dental and certain extended ah certain extended services like say chiropractors or what have you that the government insurance does not cover.
Um That's through private insurance. What does the Canadian government cover mental health, a mental health is fully covered. Yes. Yeah. Well, you need a, you need a psychiatrist that's coming, but on the medications that they prescribed. No, not medications um medications are covered when you they're covered when you hit 65. So I mean, I take I take a ton of medications. I don't know what they say. Yeah. What what if you You say you have schizophrenia at age 25. If you have a severe mental illness, then do you go on some form of a Canadian disability where your medication would be covered?
Or do you even know what? I don't think there's a simple answer to that question. Um You're talking about, you're talking about a government disability. Yeah. I mean, I mean, you could end up being on, you could end up being on some type of, you could end up being on some type of a social assistance slash welfare program, which certainly would cover medications. Yes, sir. But there's no federal, like, like we have a federal disability program, there's no big large scale um a system like that. To your knowledge.
I um I can't think of, I can't think of anything that would be totally comparable in that area. Well, now, because in the United States, there's at the federal level, there will be Social Security disability. Um But, you know, Mackenzie makes a good point though. Um And that's that's kind of maybe dan knows about this because in the United States to a lot of the social welfare benefits derived at the state level, correct? I mean, it goes through the state. So a lot of that depends on, you know, how the state budget, um, and so forth.
But that would be Medicaid, correct at the state level. Yeah. Medicaid or in California medical. But Medicaid is actually a federal program. And what what the federal program does is it gives a lump sums of money to the states to administer the Medicaid program. So I recently learned just as an aside that there's about approximately 14 states that are identified as red states that have turned down expanding Medicaid in their states. They didn't want to participate in expanding Medicaid while we're at it. Keep in mind that Medicaid is of course another huge federal program.
Medicare for all would not have that layer of administrative costs. And many employees for Medicaid would end up working for Medicare anyhow. But again, there would be a substantial reduction and administrative costs in terms of Social Security disability. Uh as you had talked about once a person is approved for Social Security disability in the United States, they've actually already put in enough quarters to receive that through the Social Security Administration. It then takes two years to then receive Medicare regardless of your age. So say you're 45 years old, you get involved in an unfortunate motor vehicle accident, You're now unemployable, you're in a wheelchair, you know, whatever terrible things could happen.
So you get Social Security disability, but it's another two years until you then get full Medicare coverage, that doesn't make any sense at all in the United States. And by the way, just as an aside, one of my physician friends, he pointed out to me, he asked me the question, he knew I was gonna be here sharing time with everybody. Why is it that you know, americans can get their medications from Canada Approximately 40% less than here. And of course we know. Yeah, because we know why it's because they can't I don't want to sound too feisty here, but the cartel is different.
But yeah, there's there's got to be laws in Canada though specifically targeting limiting the prescription drugs. Because I mean if you've got the same insurance, if you've got an insurance system that you have to pay into that for for pharmaceuticals in Canada, um I would think you would have the same price problems that you have here. So are there specific law? Obviously it seems like the Kenyan government has more regulations in place to control pricing of drugs, Would that be fair to say? I mean, I think that's fair to say.
I wouldn't, I mean I wouldn't I don't think I'm qualified to indicate exactly how the um how prescription, how prescriptions are a lot cheaper in Canada than they are in the US. I think that. Well, let me take a guess. I mean, I'm not an economics person either. But it sounds like if you know that the economy is going to demand what it can take. And if all Canadians are, You must pay for their medications until they're 65 years old. That's a lot of people who have to go and buy medications and a lot of young people, you know a lot of people that are going to need the prices to be lower in order to be able to afford them.
Whereas, so I would think the prices would stay lower just so the the consumer base that is available to the Canadian pharmacy companies is able to come and be consumers. I don't think it's I don't think it relates to the consumer base. The the vast vast majority of employers have, You know, do have drug plans. Um it's you know, generally it would be something like 25% of the premium is covered by um depending on depending on the union it could be Um where it could be 100% employer, it's going to be 25% employee covered 75% um employer.
Um So just not to intrude. I just said you were talking, I just, I went to google and anybody can go to google and you'll find, you know some pretty accurate information such as cheaper drugs from Canada, a reality for us consumers. Why is medication so much cheaper from Canada and basically it has to do with price control. They have set up guardrails to uh that are different than the United States where pharmaceutical companies can charge what the market will bear. And in in Canada there are caps where you can't cross the line now.
That makes sense. I just hadn't googled it yet. Well I had spare time. No Mac you mentioned this earlier and I want to see what Alan and if dan has any comment on this um let's say that Mackenzie goes to Canada and as an american citizen and she is injured, she breaks her arm or something and so she has to go to the hospital. Um Would she face the same? I mean I can't imagine she would face the same financial bill in Canada than she would in the United States even having to pay out of pocket for it. Right.
I mean well my personal experience with this is that when you walk into the door into the Canadian er um there's $1000 Canadian, little over $1000 Canadian fee and I'm sure that I don't know if that varies or if that's countrywide or province wide, but there's there's you have to pay as a, as a citizen of another country $1,000 just to be seen. Is that a deposit or something or is that just I'm not entirely sure because I didn't pay it and I didn't go any further. But it just seems like yeah it's like it's like I think I'm gonna wait till I get home, right.
Yeah I think it's I think that it was more like $1,000 toward the total amount that you're going to be billed. But it's not like they give it back if you don't need that much. I think. Okay I mean there are there are in terms of how it would compare to what somebody would be paying out of pocket in the US. I just don't know. I mean certainly I mean I was in charge of billing to billing to nonresidents. Um And you know there are there's a certain schedule of fees that one charged for something basic and my recollection was at the time I was working there there was like a standard nonresident nonresident fee for emergency services and it was something like 100 and $50 Canadian.
Um I do recall I do recall max experience um I heard it from my brother this uh um this large fee but that's kind of a new one that's kind of a new one to me. Um And there and clearly for an inpatient stay there was a there's a standard a standard daily amount um I was a little bit higher if you were in a specialized unit. Um And that could be um And that could be covered if you bought travelers insurance. Yeah. Uh you know before your trip um And then the then the hospital would just build the insurance company.
Well that brings up another question though. I mean if we're going to talk about Medicare for all system, why should we learn that? I mean to citizens, I mean because this friend of the whole point about quote unquote illegals and so forth. And the same thing in Canada. I don't understand if, I mean is there a fear that it's going to be abuse or something? I mean it could very easily be abused living near the borders. Now. I hear I've heard that in the U. K. I have not tested it.
I should I've heard that in the UK, if you're a visitor and something happens then their, you know, their health care system. Um basically the um you know, United Kingdom taxpayers are going to pay for your medical care or where that or is that the european union that might maybe, yeah, it might have been the european union and they're part of it. And and that was what I was gonna say is there's probably not a fear of yes to the UK of other people flooding their borders and coming in and getting care.
Um because the neighboring countries all had their own care. Why would they? You know, I mean, I I should interject just so there's no confusion. Um um Yes, there are nonresident fees, but like for instance in Ontario, if anyone shows up and emerge hospitals required to treat them, they'll they'll build them. Um but they're not going to turn anybody away and say and say we can, you know pay or pay or die or however, whatever expression one wants to, you know, like in the country like say Uganda, where they'll let you in the hospital, but they want out of the hospital until you paid your bill well.
And I want to just interject on the point there too. Yeah. Yeah. That's yeah, that's called, that's called they put you in debtor's prison. Well, there's a there's a there's sort of a myth to that in the United States, we have a similar system where you're talking about where if you arrive at the hospital, they can't turn you away. And I just want to qualify that. That's not that's not entirely true. If there is a life threatening emergency, they can't turn you away. But other than that they absolutely can.
And they often do, it depends on on the hospital and whether or not, you know, you're insured and and and so forth. So, you know, it's not the same as Canada, I mean, and people need to understand that you can be turned if you go to the hospital and it's not a life threatening certain emergency. And that law stems by the way from, from the pregnancy. Um It built, I mean that's where that that you must treat comes from is, you know, to preserve a pregnancy, but that's been extended.
So, you know, unless it's an emergency, United States, you're not, you could be turned away from the emergency room. And unfortunately a lot of people in America are using the emergency room as their primary care physician because that's right. They don't have one. And of course that's a very ineffective system, not to mention a very costly system. Um So is that, so, I mean, in Canada, it is if you turn up there, it doesn't matter if they have to treat you or is it still kind of like, it has to be life threatening?
I'm not sure every province, every province is the same. So I'm speaking in terms of the way it was in Ontario because I kind of got involved in it myself. Like at one point, um our collection rate from non residents was so bad that um I instituted a policy which several hospitals had done um which was that we asked for a payment in the emergency department upfront for non residents. Um and we did a press release and and the ministry was the Ministry of Health was um I was getting a little bit concerned that if somebody decided they were unable to pay upfront, we would turn them away.
And I said no, absolutely not. And and they said good because that would contravene the, that would contravene that the health act because I've got a bunch of evolutions right now, fleeing across the Canada border to the hospital just to get care right now as we speak. So hopefully we're not give me that information. Um isn't there a human rights convention to that that has to mandate healthcare at some level? I mean, the United States would certainly be a violator of it. But again, if we're I mean, I do believe that the United Nations defines health care as a human right?
Um cool. As does the World Health Organization and the United States, is that the worst thing in the United Nations? So it it just it boggles the mind and as it's Canada that, you know, we can just kind of flaunt that because obviously it's not a human right, if you can't have if you don't have access to it. Yeah, it's quite it begs questions. So, how do you define a human Right? Well, I would think that the human rights convention probably clarifies that. Um Well, I mean, in the case of yeah, in case of health, well, we we need to wrap this up because yeah, this has been a great, a great conversation.
Um I've learned a lot. I want to thank our guests. Um Hopefully you guys will come back and talk about because we're gonna healthcare is is a very complicated issue and we're going to be on the show focusing a lot about the different avenues of healthcare and the different problems because I mean, you know, we've we've got a system where a lot of people are suffering and needlessly dying. Um and obviously there's no quick solution. Um you know, it would take time to implement a Medicare for all type system.
Obviously how much time I think you can, you can argue it is not as much as some would have you believe. Um, but the one thing and dan McKay kind of alluded to this too, The advantage that the United States has right now, being the only developed nation that doesn't have the health care system is we can take the best parts of each system and we can go to Canada, we can say, okay, we're gonna take the best parts of this healthcare system, we're gonna go to Sweden, we're gonna go to Germany and we can develop a top notch system based upon the experiences that other countries have had.
I mean, if you look at Canada, if you look at Sweden, they have a track record, they have a history that we can learn from. So we wouldn't have to start from scratch, we would be able to implement a system that would be very effective and, and, and you know, accessible to everybody. I think we can all agree to that. Um, I agree to that. Hey, You two, Fortunately, I have no power. I think in general, America just doesn't like to follow anyone else's lead. One could say profound, another could say, well that's just total simple logic.
Um, but yeah, well I think dan and dan alluded to this too. I mean, it's this idea and the problem with America. It's just this idea of, oh, freedom. Right. It's like, oh, well, no, capitalism provides freedom, you know, I get freedom of which, again, I just find that an absurd argument because in Canada freedom is if you're sick, you get to see a doctor um, where in America, you know, that is determined by the insurance company that you have the financial situation that you have and, and if you're at four, if you are one, unless thursday low and even the, just real quickly to, we have low income clinics in United States, right?
The problem is, is that not only is the turnover so high because the physicians just burn out, but there are long waiting times and you're just not going to get the same quality of care at a local, you're just not. And that's not because providers don't want to provide quality care. They do, but they don't have the resources themselves and they're not adequately funded and they're overworked and there's burnout. I mean, so we're really inflicting a lot of damage on people on the poor. And a lot of burnout on physicians.
Now, I do want to ask one quick question of allen, um, one of the arguments, the United States against the Medicare for all type system is that the physicians are paid such low wages and, and, and, and whereas in America, you know, they pay decent wages. What is your, I mean, well, I mean, I've had this uh I've actually had this discussion, you know back a number of years with the american friends where we were sort of you know comparing um comparing what physicians made um You know in the US and Canada.
And typically typically in Canada you won't see specialists with um some of these supernatural um levels of income that you'll see from some renowned specialists in the U. S. But we were comparing um we were comparing like hospital positions normally um hospitals don't employ physicians only in in a couple of areas like for instance hospitals higher pathologists um and that be it and typically hospital um physicians will head departments and they'll be paid a stipend as a department head and something like that. But essentially it's fee for service um And there are caps.
Um but it's a pretty good level of income. I mean if you're you know and if you're like a radiologist getting getting fee for service typical, you know. And again I'm thinking back, I'm thinking back 20 years and 20 plus years and You know physicians, physicians on staff were generally starting at about 300,000 Canadians. And uh and somebody you know and and somebody had mentioned a radiologist uh on a fee for service basis and they were going to be well above that so that it's um there was I mean there was a whole lot of there were a whole lot of scare stories when Canada first adopted uh, universal health care system and doctors threatened strikes and they were all going to move to the US and it all settled down and there's just there's just no, there's just no opposition start.
What's that? Oh, I just figured that Canada has kind of always had it since. It's not, I mean it's not always. But I mean I'm talking, I'm talking like maybe 50 years ago or so or maybe less than I lose track of time. I get old and lose track. I was around, I mean I was around, let's put it that way. I was around before there was punk before there was universal health care. What about education? Is it when you, you become a doctor in Canada? Are you basically putting yourself into debt for half of your career?
Mm hmm. Um, quick answer. No. Okay, quick answer is good. Just curious. Okay, well, we're gonna wrap it up there. Thank you Allen. Thank you dan. Um, dan. Where can we, where can people learn more about your organization? Is there a website they can go to? Well, let me share this with. No, there is not. Let me share this with you. Uh, when I was living in Orlando. Uh, I, I applied for a E. I. N. Employee identification number with the Internal Revenue Service. And so it is with the Internal Revenue Service.
It is listed as the healthcare Voice Having said that there's no website occasionally I do pro bono work occasionally. I might get involved. You know, just once in a while helping somebody out. Ah I do when I do work for fee. It is on a which we didn't cover in the show a sliding scale fee which is another option for people to purchase or pay for their healthcare insurance. Which that's a whole note. Another show if people have a pencil and paper available or they want to listen to this later.
I'm always glad to talk to anybody in florida. My area code is 561 503 1403. And an email. I'm Dan d. a. n. 46 M. S. W. That's my Master's degree in social work. MSW at yahoo dot com. So even on social media occasionally I've told people privately something I can do to help you. Uh I don't unfortunately, I don't get a lot of requests but I am retired for the most part and this show has motivated me to open up my eyes a little wider and I made up a phrase a long time ago.
It's not over until the skinny lady eats the last cookie and I've got a hunch. It's not over for me. Great. I'm going to continue to let my voice be heard and help other people let their voices be heard as well. Great. We're out And uh so alan we're on our way to get healthcare right now as soon as they're so wrapped. So we're gonna be staying with you and getting our hair okay. Okay. That is rough. I want to thank you. I think it's good. Well, we're going to be a while staying awhile because we've got a lot of healthcare needs to get through.
CEO , The Healthcare Voice
Dan Lehrman ( retired Medical and Mental Health Licensed Clinical Social Worker) returns to his roots ( now in public arenas) of advocacy and activism, for the uninsured, the underinsured and of course, for dedicated healthcare providers and their support staff. Dan, well versed in almost all patient locations of care, has had extensive Federal ( Veterans Healthcare Administration) and private sector experiences. Over the years, Dan has talked with or interviewed over 100,000 patients or family members, and an uncountable number of healthcare providers. He is known as a humorist, but admits “ Not everyone thinks I am funny.”