FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

CEO Richard Master Masterminds Full Medicare for All

Just when the prospects for single-payer or full Medicare for everyone, with free choice of doctors and hospitals, appear to be going nowhere, from  Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley comes a stirring that could go national and make single-payer a reality.

Throwing down the gauntlet on the grounds of efficiency and humanness, businessman Richard Master, CEO of MCS Industries Inc., the nation’s leading supplier of wall and poster frames, is bent on arousing the nation’s business leaders to back single-payer – the efficient full Medicare for all – solution.

The woefully wasteful and profiteering health care industries have blocked majority opinion, and a majority of physicians and nurses, to keep the present sky-high costly system in place, that receives huge taxpayer subsidies without any reasonable, and meaningful, price restraints. Health care companies exploit the complexities of Obamacare, which is powerless to restrain price spirals (note the staggering rise in recent prices of certain drugs). But the health care industry cannot defeat an organized business community fed up with uncontrollable cost burdens and the further competitive disadvantages they experience with western European countries, Japan or Canada – countries that have single-payer systems at half the per capita costs or less.

Mr. Master’s first step is now complete. He has produced a short movie called “Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point” which makes a powerful business case for replacing the current wasteful multi-payer system with a single payer one. He traveled with his award-winning filmmakers to Canada, where he interviewed doctors, nurses and conservative business people. The latter were aghast over why their fellow conservatives in the U.S. are not seeing the light.

One industrialist, Dann Konkin, told the filmmakers that he embraces the Canadian healthcare system because it reduces his company’s costs. The film quotes Michael Grimaldi, former president of General Motors of Canada, as declaring that the Canadian healthcare system “significantly reduces total labor costs for automobile manufacturing firms.” His predecessor, Jack Smith, who went on to head the entire General Motors, said much the same.

Master and his crew then traveled to Taiwan, which has free choice of physician and hospital, and spends just 1.6 percent of its total operating health care budget on administration. Compare that figure with what Master estimates to be over 30 percent in the United States, with every doctor on average paying $80,000 a year on such administration costs.

It is always fascinating to learn what the “aha” moment is for leaders of reform movements. With Master it was a trip to Santiago, Chile to meet the family of his son’s fiancé. They went to a pharmacy to buy their usual brand of inhaler, which they purchased for $15. Back home in Easton, PA, the same brand cost between $120 and $140. Then Master had to buy his blood pressure medicine which he did for $4. Back in the U.S. it was $40. That’s when Master turned to his family and said, “we have to do something about this.”

Master has his numbers down. This year, health care will exceed the $3 trillion level in the U.S. People are anxious and worried about whether they are covered, what their co-pays, deductibles and exclusions will be or what they qualify for under the health industry fine-print contract, or the Obamacare criteria. Master believes that lifting the burgeoning burden and paperwork by enacting a system with public insurance and private delivery of health care will make our economy more efficient and our business more expansive.

His own company just got a 35 percent initial premium increase this year. That amounts, he says, to be $1.50 to $2.00 an hour for a production or warehouse worker in his firm.

The fifty members of the House of Representatives who have signed on to H.R. 676 legislation for single-payer, full Medicare for all will probably be delighted hear about Richard Master’s film and his plans to spark a movement through our nation’s small and big businesses. He is coming to Capitol Hill soon, and he will be on the mass media– starting with the business cable news that is always looking for new energy from the private sector won’t be able to resist his compelling arguments.

It is interesting to see how Master meticulously argues his case. Spending on health care is at 18 percent of GDP, he says, while the average in other industrialized countries is below ten percent. “We can’t compete,” he adds, “and if we go to 20 percent or 25 percent, we are going to have to give up on education and on any work we are doing on our infrastructure.” He thinks “of this painting by Goya – Saturn Devouring His Son. The healthcare system is essentially devouring the rest of the economy whole.”

I asked Master why the business community, surely knowing what he knows about the costs, did not unfurled the single-payer flag long ago. He replied that they are misinformed by legions of insurance agents and others in the industry who populate chambers of commerce everywhere. He knows that single-payer actually strengthens the free, competitive market of delivering health care, far more than the insurance companies and restrictive networks do (Listen to my interview with Mr. Master atwww.ralphnaderradiohour.com).

There is another reason businesses haven’t championed this issue. Businesses do not like to take on other sectors of business or changes that present an existential peril to the latter. Single-payer, as Medicare for the elderly did in the mid-Sixties, replaces the health insurance companies. That is too much conflict for corporations.

The next step for this historic advance is for Mr. Master to take his film to business audiences around the nation. I suggested that Mr. Master also organize a major conference of representatives of all business sectors in Washington, D.C. to make the definitive statement that rational health care by full Medicare for all is about to be put on the national policy agenda. What issue could more enliven more a presidential election year?

Master’s film can be found at www.fixithealthcare.com.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail