Would Universal Healthcare Really Work in the U.S.?


– It’s 3 a.m. and you’re wide awake, your stomach is on fire. It is literally the worst
pain that you’ve ever felt, I’m talking more painful than if Iggy Azalea and Kanye
West made a duet album, because it’s that painful, you
head to the emergency room, the diagnosis, appendicitis. Doctors wheel you into the operating room, do their thing, and eventually,
you leave the hospital, alive, minus your appendix. Modern medicine folks. Very impressive. But that’s not the end of your journey. The average cost of the
surgery you just had is around $15,000. Now if you happen to have
good health insurance that’ll probably pay for most of it. But if you have bad
insurance or no insurance, you’re on the hook for paying most of it, or all of it yourself, not
a fun position to be in. Here in the US, we do healthcare differently than just about every other greatest country on the planet, those countries have
universal health care, where the government
guarantees that everyone has access to doctors,
hospitals, and medicine without having to worry about
paying thousands of dollars and potentially going broke. And that leads me to the question I’m digging into for this episode. Should the US offer universal health care? In the good old US of A, how you want to pay for health
care is entirely up to you as long as you have the money for it. Do you smell that? That’s freedom folks. Most people choose to buy health insurance and if you’re low income or over 65, you can get it from the government. But pretty much everyone else
has to buy it from companies. It kind of works like car insurance. You pay a set amount of money every month, and in return the insurance
company pays for most of your medical bills if
you get sick or hurt. You’re insuring yourself
against the big time costs. That’s basically what
insurance is in a nut shell. You can also choose not
to buy health insurance and just pay doctors
and hospitals directly. If you’re young and healthy and never have to go to the doctor or a hospital, you’re going to save
money, but you’re at risk for paying a lot of money if
you do have a medical emergency like a car wreck, or
you fall off your bike and break your arm. So it is a gamble. In the US around 91% of people have some form of health insurance, while the remaining 9% has no insurance. That’s over 27 million people. For those that have insurance, the most common way to get
it is through their job. The individual pays for
part of the insurance and the employer pays the other part. It works great for a lot of people but it does have a big drawback. If you lose your job,
you lose your insurance. In countries with universal health care they don’t have this problem. Insurance isn’t tied to your
job so you can’t lose it. In fact, many people
keep the same insurance for their entire life. Now you’ve probably heard
of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. In 2010, President Obama
signed it into law. It required everyone
to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, and
it helped lower income Americans pay for it. The main goal was to increase the number of people with insurance, but it was not universal health care. Obamacare was really controversial. It was the biggest change to
healthcare in over 50 years. Some people saved money
with it and loved it other people had to pay more and hated it. It was a whole thing. And when Trump became president he removed the penalty
for not having insurance, that means today we remain
in the healthcare system where you can choose to buy
insurance or go without. Now, there are a bunch of different ways to get universal health care, and every country does it
a little bit differently. In the United Kingdom,
they have what people call socialized medicine, the
government owns the hospitals, and the doctors and nurses
are government employees. For most medical services you
don’t pay anything directly, you go to the hospital,
get treated and leave. There’s no bill you have to pay, and you’re not paying for
health insurance every month. Imagine. In Canada, they have
a single payer system, doctors and hospitals
are private businesses, but private insurance is rare. Instead, the government
provides health insurance for everyone, and they
are the single payer that then pays the
hospitals and the doctors every time you have an appointment. In Switzerland, people buy
private insurance companies but it’s heavily regulated
by the government, which requires everyone
to have health insurance and even pays for part of it
if you don’t have enough money. It’s kind of like a more
intense version of Obamacare. Now, this may all sound great, but before you grab your protest sign and start picketing the streets for the US to get universal health
care, remember this, it has to be paid for somehow, and the way most other countries
do it is through taxes. Check out this chart. People in countries with
universal health care are paying more taxes
than we do here in the US. That means the government is taking even more money out of your paycheck and changing the entire healthcare system goes beyond how we pay for things, it’ll affect how we access
doctors and medications, and it might affect the
quality of care we get. Okay, so how does the US compare to all these other countries? To answer that, we talked to T.R. Reid, he’s a journalist and author who wrote The Healing of America, which looks at how healthcare
works around the world. – We pay more for health
care than any other country by a huge amount, we pay about twice as much as people in France,
Germany, Britain, Sweden, Italy, Spain, pay, even though they cover everybody and have better
overall health statistics. – Check out these numbers. Healthcare spending per person in the US is around $10,000 per year. All the other countries
with universal health care are spending around $5,000 per year. We’re paying for the cost
of two universal health care systems without getting
universal health care. A big reason for this is that
our system isn’t one system. It’s a bunch of difference systems. There are hundreds of
health insurance companies and they all do billing differently. It’s just a bunch of paperwork. These companies also spend
millions on advertising and salaries for high paid executives, the result is that almost
everything costs more in the US. Remember that appendix you
got removed for $15,000? In the UK, it’s under $10,000. An MRI is almost $1200 in the US, but under 600 in Switzerland,
and the list goes on. – If we covered everybody
with a sensible single system with the same rules, and
the same fees for everybody, we would cut our costs
by billions of dollars, it’s just much cheaper to
run a coordinated system that covers everybody. – Basically, the simpler
the healthcare system, more money you as a patient save, and that’s what universal
healthcare gives you. The US also has another unique problem, almost 9% of our population
has no insurance at all. That’s 27 million people. For most of them, it’s
not that they’re choosing not to buy it, it’s that
they can’t afford it, and their job doesn’t offer it as benefit. – In the United States,
according to the US government, 22,000 Americans, 22,000 die every year of treatable diseases,
because they couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. That is we could have treated that person and saved their life, but she died because she didn’t have health insurance. – And when people do
pay, they often struggle to come up with the money. In the US, two out of
every three bankruptcies are tied to medical issues,
that just doesn’t happen in countries universal health care, but the cost of healthcare
isn’t everything. We want it to be high
quality, and that costs money. In the US, we spend billions of dollars every year on cutting edge
research and drug development, those companies are
competing with each other to make a profit, that spurs innovation. Switching to universal
healthcare could change that. You might be able to cover more people, but they may not have access
to the best treatments. To discuss these trade offs,
we talked to Chris Pope who researches healthcare policy
at the Manhattan Institute, which is a conservative think tank. – I think universal
health care is basically the idea that everyone has some sort of health insurance coverage. Now, what does your
insurance cover is an issue that can vary enormously. Coverage can provide great
access to care everywhere, or it can provide access to
very limited package benefits with very high out of pocket costs. – Remember, 90% of Americans
already have health insurance. Completely changing the
entire healthcare system will be disruptive. People who have private
insurance and like it might be forced to give it up. On top of that, universal
health care means the government has a much
bigger role in deciding who and what gets covered. Some care might be rationed
which means the government decides who gets what and when. – And a typical thing that gets rationed would be knee surgery or hip surgery, if you need this kind of joint
surgery in these countries you might be waiting for months or the best part of the
year to get access to care. Also the most expensive drugs. There are a lot of new cancer drugs that available in the United States. In Britain and Canada these aren’t going to be available necessarily
to much of the population. – Instead of bringing the
government in to healthcare, why not take employers out of it? Remember, most Americans get
insurance through their jobs, but it doesn’t have to be that way. – I think it’s a big
opportunity for change and improvement in American healthcare is really to let individuals
buy health insurance on the same terms that
their employers can. If it was an individual that
controlled the insurance, it would be your insurance,
you would own it, and you will have a right to renew it as you move from job to job. – Oh, hey there. Thanks for making it to
the end of the video. We know that that was a lot of information that we threw at you. So just to make sure that
we’re all on the same page, I thought it’d be cool if
we did a quick little recap, just to make sure that we all understand universal health care. So, the pros for it, are that everyone would have access to
it, it wouldn’t be tied directly to your job
and going to the doctor or to the hospital will
cost a lot less money. Now the arguments against it are that your taxes may
have to go up to pay for it, the quality of care may not be the same, and with more government control, the individual has less choice. So, do you think that America should keep doing health care the same way? Should we switch to a
universal health care system, or should we do something
different entirely? Now this is a big issue on the
elections because you know, eventually everybody’s gonna
have to go to the doctor. And as always, leave us a comment below. Oh, I forgot. If you liked this video,
check out our other video with universal in the title, all about universal basic income. When you watch it it’ll
all make sense, I promise, they connect, I swear they do. I’m your host, Myles Best. Till next time, peace out.

Why The Rich Pay Lower Taxes


Good morning John, and welcome to this
special edition of Vlogbrothers where we discuss the basics of the United
States Tax Policy and why Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. According to the United States government, there are basically three ways to make money. One: You can inherit it when someone
dies. Two: You can make it by working. This is called ordinary
income. Making money off YouTube ads, getting paid
to do a job, making raw materials like yarn and then converting something worth more
than those raw materials like a cool TFiOS hat. That’s all ordinary income.
And number three capital gains. Now before we talk about
capital gains, let’s first talk about the ordinary income tax. Some people have a
misconception here that when you reach the new tax bracket, all of your income
lumps over into this new place, so you have to stay below a certain tax bracket.
That’s not how it works. It’s actually a significantly better system than that. Here we have the four lowest tax brackets
for a married couple. Now if you make ten thousand dollars a year, you pay a 10
percent tax. You probably pay less than that because
of deductions but that’s your tax rate because the first tax bracket is zero to
seventeen thousand dollars. Now if a married couple makes fifty thousand
dollars they’ve moved into the second tax bracket, but still their first seventeen thousand dollars
is taxed in the first tax bracket and then the rest is taxed in the second.
This works on a scale for a hundred thousand dollars and when I made this
graph, I had to make it extra long to fit on five hundred thousand dollars which
includes all of the tax brackets, but even that person the makes five hundred
thousand dollars still pays into all of the lower tax brackets before
they get to their big high up ones. Just wanted to clear that up. Now, back to capital gains. Capital gains,
is money that you get when you buy something and then you wait
and then you sell it later for more. That’s income, you’ve made money there.
Most capital gains are made in the stock market though you can also do it lots other ways, real
estate being a big one. If you make more than like thirty thousand dollars a year, your
capital gains tax is 15 percent. It’s a flat fifteen
percent for everybody. And basically, capital gains is how really rich people make most of their money. They invest in stuff and then it gets more valuable and then
they sell it. Now, that’s basically explaining how it works. Now I am going to get into how I feel about it. This is
just my opinion, but this has always seemed really weird to me. Money in the stock market isn’t actually doing
anything. Companies don’t have access to, like, do stuff with that. It’s not being used to build cars go to Mars or
make video games or whatever. I know that investment is important for our
economy, but so is income. Income is, to me, it seems like it’s worth more. So why
is it then that we tax people almost invariably more on the money that they earn by
providing actual value like proportionate to the amount of
money they make? The idea is that investment should be really good for the
economy and that you need to encourage people to invest and so you should tax it
less. The problem with that is that there isn’t a lot a good data that actually supports
that claim. What kind of concerns me is that the people who are advising the
government on these tax policy decisions are people who make their money this way.
And maybe they, just like a lot of us do, overvalue their particular impact on
the American endeavor. Or maybe they’re super greedy or maybe on the other hand
they’re right. Maybe they’re right. Maybe lower taxes for them is better for all
of us but I can’t help but feeling deep down that it’s tremendously unfair that a
waitress at Applebee’s pays a higher tax rate than a billionaire. Whether or not that’s good policy, I’m
not sure, but it does seem like bad ethics. But as I say, I am not an expert and
I’m completely willing to be convinced that I’m wrong. Nerfighteria, you are not
wrong, because you kicked John’s goal in the butt right out of the
park. You kicked it in the butt outta the park. That’s a mixed sports metaphor.
A million dollars raised for Kiva before I even got to make my first video
promoting it, but please still keep going because one thing that
is proven economically is that micro finance is a really great way to help the developing world and you can
be a part of that through kiva.org. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.