Uncommon Sense

September 24, 2018

A Failure to Communicate

I read just now the following:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez … was on Jake Tapper’s show on CNN the other day, the host grilled her about how she would come up with the forty trillion dollars needed to fund Medicare for all, housing as a federal right, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college, and canceling all student loan debt.

She apparently could not answer the question … <sigh>.

Let me just address funding “Medicare for All (MFA)” for the nonce. Currently, the average family of four pays in excess of $16,000 per year for their health insurance. Mostly this goes unnoticed because these payments are made by their employers as part of their compensation. How much do you think the actual value of that insurance is? If you compare it with costs in other developed countries and look at how inflated the costs are and consider that the insurance companies providing the “insurance” are quite an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy (Medicare has a 3% overhead. If private insurance companies likewise have a 3% overhead, where do all of the handsome profits those companies make come from?). Basically that $16,000 represents a quite unnecessarily inflated cost. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the actual cost is $9,000 for that family of four. If MFA is invoked, the employers will be required to pay that $16,000 directly to the family and then that family will pay, say $10,000 in taxes (a bit more than their own costs to be able to cover the unemployed, etc.) and pocket the other $6000! (Note: these are not the actual numbers, but even if $100 ends up in your pocket, you would be making money on the deal.)

Once we have Medicare for All, we also have group buying of pharmaceuticals, something Big Pharma has spent billions to avoid (why they are opposed to such a system is it would squeeze its profits down from the astronomical to merely lavish). This will reduce the cost of medicinals, at least to what other countries are paying (for the same drugs from the same companies … yes, they are gouging the Rich Gringos because they can). Similarly there are a multitude of large cost savings that can be wrung out of the system (e.g. there would be only one billing process, not hundreds, for doctors and hospitals to contend with).

Currently the US spends about double what any other rich nation spends on health care per capita. This means we could spend 10%, 20%, or even 30% less and still be spending more than any other country on health care. If you remove the costs of private health insurance companies, we can save even more.

Conservative pundits always focus on the cost/taxes and never mention the cost savings. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez should be better prepared if she is going to go on camera to defend our ideas.

PS The Federal Reserve “printed” several trillion dollars to bail out the banks and Wall Street firms during the Great Recession and these same pundits didn’t blink. Plus that “forty trillion dollars” is not for just one year and they are careful not to mention that.


  1. I agree that this lady should have been better prepared. However, this is ‘Merikkka in 2018. I read some blog, maybe this one (??) that basically told me that to get nominated by either wing of the war party (donkey or elephant wing) one must first be “vetted”. Now I don’t fully understand this vetted stuff. When I shared my homes with cats, I’d take them to a vet, animal doctor, as needed for their health. Why a human political person would need a vet, well, hold on, I am an old veteran (been called a vet, as in combat vet (I am one of those also}), so do these settings mean they meet with animal doctors and military veterans?
    Oh silly old me! Of course they don’t care about either of the vets I mentioned above. They get “vetted” by the party big shots. They are force fed the ‘party line’ until that is just about all they know from then on.
    YES, MFA (like how you put that) would be very much cheaper for the country and the people. We could also provide free education up through 4 years of college/trade school for all as well. We could use less carbon based fuel and try to save climate change from going too far. We, ‘Merikkka, could do all that and more IF (yes that always lurking big butt) we stopped fighting all the goddamn useless, idiotic wars of choice that we have been involved in since 1945. We could also stop overthrowing foreign governments just because they don’t jump to the ‘Merikkkan tune. We have zero need to have over 800 military bases in countries outside of our own. Ah, but then the insurance gangs, the “defense” contractor gangs, the “too big to fail” bankster gangs would not reap the huge profits they have been doing for far too long. Ooops! Almost forgot to include the big pharma gangs in the partial list.


    Comment by Walter Kronkat — September 25, 2018 @ 2:27 am | Reply

    • The term vet originally came from horse racing which was to have a horse checked for fitness to run (makes sense … and “vet” is short for veternarian … maybe). Realize that Donald Trump got elected president and he wasn’t vetted. The problem lies in that since Jimmy Carter ran for president, the political parties have been defanged over and over. So, they really aren’t big players any more. The vetting done today is by the “donor class.” If you cannot raise enough money, you can’t get elected. This si why Bernie S was so reviled by the donor class. It wasn’t “socialism” that motivated them so much but the fear of what he might do since he was not indebted to their donations.

      On Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 2:27 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — September 25, 2018 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  2. A similar point, but on the total cost of Medicare for all: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/30/17631240/medicare-for-all-bernie-sanders-32-trillion-cost-voxcare


    Comment by List of X — September 26, 2018 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  3. What is an effective way to improve the quality of ideas other than debate?


    Comment by Robert Smith — December 22, 2019 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

    • I do not like debates in so much as they are a form of performance art. Kind of like we allow lawyers to fight in court to determine an outcome. I prefer that people share ideas and criticisms of the ideas. You may think that the back and forth exchange is like a debate, but it is not a debate per se. Debates promise “winners and losers.” After each presidential debate, there is a rush to declare “who won” and “who lost” when there is no mechanism for determining these things! So, the promise is a false one. I also don’t want to let the ideas involved fall prey to the debaters skills. Some are vastly better at debating than others. Does that make their ideas better? (I don’t think so.) So, I prefer getting one’s ideas out into the public sphere and allow people to do with them what they may. The ideas should stand on their own.


      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 23, 2019 @ 9:33 am | Reply

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