There is a lot of nonsense and confusion on the subject of healthcare in the United States. During the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders was criticized by fellow Democrats for wanting to raise middle-class taxes and abolish the private insurance industry. Many Democrats have defended the system of private, for-profit health insurance, suggesting that a “Medicare For All” plan would be a radical proposal that would upend healthcare. The last Democratic president, Barack Obama, explicitly rejected a “single-payer” healthcare system and said it is not right for America.

I think it is very important for every single adult in this country to understand the left critique of the current system and why the defenses of this system make no sense. Everyone has health, everyone needs healthcare. It is in all of our interest to have as good of healthcare as possible, delivered as inexpensively as feasible. We should all want it to be easy to get the care we need, and for nobody to fret about money when they go to the doctor.

I want to explain as clearly and simply as possible, then, why having for-profit private health insurance companies is fundamentally irrational and harmful.

Let’s start with: what is it that a health insurance company actually does? Its job is to move money. You pay them, so that when you need to visit the doctor, they will pay the doctor. If you need something exorbitantly expensive, and all of us risk having some medical problem that needs very expensive treatment, the insurance company will pay, and you won’t go broke. From your perspective, it’s necessary to have someone who will cover the cost if this happens, so there’s reason for you to pay your insurance premiums. The insurance company also gets better rates from healthcare providers than you would if you were approaching them alone, and even though there are deductibles and co-pays in addition to your premiums (and your premiums and deductibles both might be very high) on the whole, from your perspective, health insurance is supposed to be worth it.