“Medicare For All” Could Save Trillions

54 minutes – great analysis

Have I ever mentioned that if you watch or listen to mainstream media you miss a lot or are easily misinformed on reality? Yep it happens quite often. That may account for much of America believing that Hillary Clinton was somehow involved in multiple international conspiracies while Donald Trump is a simple man with only the good of Americans in his heart. Heck, after these last few days you might come to think that George HW Bush was a really good president and person.

News and views are often reported or skipped based on the outlook of the owners of the the media outlet. Most owners of media outlets in this country are owned by very conservative people or corporations. Therefore much of what runs on mainstream media supports their conservative world view.

Few policies have been more reviled by conservatives over the decades as some form of universal health care. The US is the only major economy that does not have universal health care. That puts us some 60+ years behind the rest of the world. The various attempts that have been attempted to universalize at least some portion of the medical system have been top targets for special interest driven politicians.

Ten years ago our medical system was at the center of our national election. The attempted fix was watered down by Republicans at the time it passed congress – thanks in large part to Chuck Grassley – and has been hammered at in every way possible by Republicans as the party of the special interests. They were successful enough that 10 years later the medical system is once more at the center of elections.

Promises of reform of the medical system were at the heart of a crushing Democratic victory in the off year elections last month. 

A couple of weeks ago the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts produced an analysis of the real costs of Medicare For All  compared to our current system. A conservative estimate of the savings is about $500 billion per year for the first decade. The video above discusses where the savings are along with how the pitfalls will be addressed.

Common Dreams website has a great story concerning the savings. They are real and achievable. 

“According to the 200-page analysis of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare for All Act of 2017, the researchers found that “based on 2017 U.S. healthcare expenditure figures, the cumulative savings for the first decade operating under Medicare for All would be $5.1 trillion, equal to 2.1 percent of cumulative GDP, without accounting for broader macroeconomic benefits such as increased productivity, greater income equality, and net job creation through lower operating costs for small- and medium-sized businesses.”

The most significant sources of savings from Medicare for All, the researchers found, would come in the areas of pharmaceutical drug costs and administration.

In a statement, Pollin said his research makes abundantly clear that the moral imperative of guaranteeing decent healthcare for all does not at all conflict with the goal of providing cost-effective care.

“The most fundamental goals of Medicare for All are to significantly improve healthcare outcomes for everyone living in the United States while also establishing effective cost controls throughout the healthcare system,” Pollin said. “These two purposes are both achievable.”

As with a change in any system, there will be challenges and hurdles but they can be surmounted. 

If there is one sector that should be on board with a move to some form of universal heal care, especially to a system that already exists, is American industry. One cost they must bear that their competitors across the globe do not is the cost of providing health care to their workers. While American industry would still be paying for health care in a sense it would be a standard price that would remain fairly stable through their taxes.

And yes, taxes would go up, but you would no longer be paying premiums either through your paycheck or on your own. Nor would you be paying things like medical insurance on your auto policies.

It would all be rolled into one package for everybody. No more Medicaid, no more Children’s Health. Everybody covered. No 10% to 20% not covered. Much less paperwork for doctors. Medication prices could be negotiated by the very large health system. 

As noted there may be some bumps rolling such a system out, but much of it is already working across the country. Let’s not get bogged down in the details in finally bringing the US into the 20th – I mean 21st – century.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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