Class Warfare Blog

October 25, 2019

How to Pay for Medicare for All

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 1:30 pm
Tags: ,

Right wing commentators are whining galore (while wringing their hands greedily) because according to estimates, Medicare for All will cost roughly $28-32 trillion over a decade. Oh my god, oh my god . . . my hair is on fire . . . how will we ever pay for it? OMG!

None of these ordinary potatoes (common taters, get it?) will stop, take a breath and then ask, “Well, what are we paying now?”

“Well, what are we paying now?”

As of 2017 in the U.S. we are paying $3.5 trillion per year for healthcare ($10,739 per person as compared to in Canada where $4974 per person is paid (as of 2018)). According to my very powerful calculator, that means, absent any inflation (Yeah, right, cough, cough . . .) we will spend $35 trillion over the next decade assuming nothing changes. And, of course, no inflation in drug prices, no inflation in hospital costs . . . right, we are going to pay more that $40 trillion over the next decade if the previous decade was any measure.

So, there are the comparisons:

Cost of Medicare for All . . . $28-32 trillion (10 years)
Cost of Status Quo . . . $35-40 trillion (10 years)

And the winner is?
Any idiot can see that universal health care is a winner, which is why so many other countries have it.

But people are whining and crying about how to shuffle around the money we already have committed to pay for something cheaper. (OMG!)

How about these ideas:
1. The money that employers have been paying for employees healthcare goes to the employees. The federal government taxes 80% of this. The employees have more money and guaranteed health care.
2. Now that the corporations are out from under the specter of ever increasing health insurance fringe benefit costs, a flat tax of 5-7% is charged to help pay for the uninsured, etc. (Please no whining about how they can afford it in that corporate profits have been at record levels for decades now.)
3. Health insurance corporations are now free to offer add-on coverage to anyone who wants it.
4. We order our drugs from Canadian pharmacies (by making it “more legal” and easier) until American providers comply and lower their prices. For my right-wing friends, this is called “competition” and “the free market.” (I get my drugs from Canada and they are made by the same corporations that make them here, they just charge less for them in Canada . . . “Ich bin ein Canadienne.”

Any questions?

PS Just in case you weren’t paying attention.
• Will ordinary citizens see their taxes go up? Yes.
• Will ordinary citizens have more disposable income and guaranteed health care? Yes.
• If you are concerned about the quality of care, ask anyone on Medicare if they would rather go back to what they had before Medicare kicked in or ask any real Canadians how they like their system. (Hint: they like it way better than the fictional Canadians in the stories told by the common taters.)

PPS If you want to know why none of the news types on TV aren’t discussing these obvious facts . . . follow the money.

38 Comments »

  1. How in the hell did your health bills get so high?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by john zande — October 25, 2019 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

    • There are many factors, but the biggest is the insulation of the payers from the process. Most people got there health insurance from their employers, so basically didn’t feel the hit when the bills came through. (When I had employer paid healthcare I never saw a bill.) The “industry” took advantage of that by just raising prices whenever they wished. Consequently healthcare/insurance costs rose at a rate many time that of inflation.

      Essentially “because they could.” In managed care systems, the managers monitor the costs continuously (the Swiss are famous for that and their system has only private insurance carriers) but it is a managed system. Our system basically had no management.

      Interestingly, since i went on medicare, I have not had any doctor or hospital ask for more than Medicare pays, even though I have supplemental insurance and Medicare never pays anything but a fraction of what is asked (often a quite small fraction). So, what Medicare pays is “sufficient” for those purveyors, but their “official” costs are much, much higher (A colonoscopy that Medicare paid less than $2000 for was booked at $4500 in my case.) which led me to wonder who paid the high prices and then it became obvious … insurance companies who simply passed on their costs in the form of higher and higher premiums.

      On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 6:53 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 3 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 26, 2019 @ 11:02 am | Reply

      • Overhauling that beast is going to be difficult. Sweeping changes will scare people, regardless of the stated benefits. Have to do it piecemeal, small group by small group. Start with nurses, perhaps. Then teachers. Build up real world case study after case study.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by john zande — October 26, 2019 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

        • Just implement Medicare-for-all as a public option first, without abolishing private insurance. Give people the option of switching to it if they choose. Assuming it really is better, more and more people will switch and private insurance companies will decline naturally.

          Trying to implement mandatory Medicare-for-all and abolishing private insurance is an election-loser. People will only accept it if it’s a choice, not something imposed.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Infidel753 — October 26, 2019 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

          • I agree with you — especially your last thought. Several I’ve talked with seem to think MFA is the game-changer and everyone will lap it up. I disagree. Even though the advantages are pretty hard to deny, people tend to be slow to change so I think it will have to prove itself.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by Nan — October 26, 2019 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

          • It would be an election looser.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by john zande — October 26, 2019 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  2. One of the basic problems with the people who are so vehemently against universal health care is their fixation on taxation and their attitude towards it. The government “stealing” their money, which is how many of them view taxation, is all they’re concerned with. They aren’t concerned with the overall good of society, or the fact that in the long run it would be much, much cheaper, etc. What they see is the government stealing their money through taxation and giving it to some lazy bas**rd living on the dole. Unless we can change that attitude and make them see the advantages, I don’t think any attempt at any kind of universal health care system is going to get passed.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — October 25, 2019 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

    • What they see is … some lazy bas**rd living on the dole

      Wham! Bam! You nailed it! So long as a person is living “comfortably,” it’s all a sham to get their $$$. But if some catastrophe comes along that pretty much wipes them out, then it’s “JC! The gov’ment has tons of money. Why don’t they spread it around a little and help us poor folk!”

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Nan — October 26, 2019 @ 10:40 am | Reply

      • Interestingly, the people in the states who complain the loudest are receiving more back from their federal taxes than they pay, that it they are being subsidized by other states.

        On Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 10:40 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

        >

        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by Steve Ruis — October 26, 2019 @ 11:06 am | Reply

    • This will be hard to overcome as that attitude has a entire TV channel dedicate to its promulgation (Fox News).

      On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 10:39 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 26, 2019 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  3. I have Medicare/Medicaid (I live in NY). & I LOVE IT. I wish we had dental but thankfully in 59 years, I have never had a cavity & it’s not really an issue … I can get cleanings at the local university. When I tell people how great Medicare is, they go on about how they “had to pay” for all the extras … like dental. This is definitely something that needs to be fixed but it still ROCKS.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by silverapplequeen — October 26, 2019 @ 5:48 am | Reply

    • I feel exactly the same and surveys indicate that VA and Medicare recipients judge their medical services more positively than any others.

      The core opposition to universal coverage are the “small government” troglodytes who do not want government to be involved in anything but the military, the police, and the protection of contracts.

      On Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 5:48 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 26, 2019 @ 11:05 am | Reply

      • who do not want government to be involved in anything but the military, the police, and the protection of contracts

        And this is why our infrastructure is falling down around our ears …

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Nan — October 26, 2019 @ 11:59 am | Reply

        • Ah yep. I find it amusing as the standard practice of my youth was patronage, the giving of offices and contracts to people who are favored by the pols. Now, they have the opportunity to give contractors lush contracts and are refusing. They still do it for defense contractors but construction contractors … nope. Amazing.

          On Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 11:59 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 2 people

          Comment by Steve Ruis — October 26, 2019 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  4. …and since there’s no purpose or meaning in the universe, none of this matters.
    You live. You die. That’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by John Branyan — October 27, 2019 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

    • John, you are raising tiresome to a high art! Have you nothing to contribute? Can you only repeat what I have said?

      Let’s take “meanings” for example. If I say “My house is small and white.” the “meaning” of that comes through fairly clearly, no? But aren’t the “meanings of “small” and “white” quite variable? Some people think a 750 square foot house is large and others thing a 4000 square foot house is small. And, go to a paint store and ask for “white paint.” You will find out that the meaning of that term is anything but obvious. But we go through life thinking we know what someone else “means” when they state things, even though our “meanings” are something we made up and do not necessarily match what the speakers intended.

      So, do you want to contribute on an exploration of the meaning of the word meaning (word play intended), or do you just want to continue being a pain in the ass?

      On Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 9:07 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 28, 2019 @ 9:17 am | Reply

      • So, it’s tiresome being held accountable for what you say. If you prefer, I can just hit “like” without reading your articles. Would that be meaningful to you?

        Your comment is a reassertion of your position that there is no meaning in the universe. Truth is relative. All I did was express that sentiment and that makes me a pain in the ass. If you hate hearing your philosophy articulated, maybe change your philosophy…?

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by John Branyan — October 28, 2019 @ 10:44 am | Reply

        • Being held accountable? Ah, delusions of grandeur!

          I generally pay no attention to likes. You did not express the sentiment that I was repeating myself, you simply reiterated/quoted me saying something. So, you are repeating yourself.

          Repetition is the lifeblood of teaching … but repetition without commitment or understanding is futile. Do you think that repeating my words back to me is an effective way to get me to rethink or reconsider my opinions? How’s that working for you?

          You think debates are an effective way to improve the quality of ideas. I do not. We disagree. I think meanings are of minimal helpfulness as they are not what most people seem. You do not. Let’s move on to something we both can contribute on … shall we? Or do you just not do that?

          On Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 10:44 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

          >

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — October 28, 2019 @ 11:02 am | Reply

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

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by John Branyan — October 28, 2019 @ 11:06 am | Reply

            • Ah! well, the ways are myriad as you can see from the paucity of debates running concurrently. In science when conjectures are critiques, that is one form. Another is supplying a competing conjecture. Another is by supplying counter evidence. In “discussing” ideas, critiques are welcome as are competing conjectures. Well, not always, sometimes contrary thinking is frowned upon, but that is a practice unlikely to get anyone down the intellectual road.

              For example in our disagreement over “meanings,” you could have countered with “meanings are indeed fuzzy, but without them, there is no communication” and you would be right. (Know what I mean?) And we could continue from there.

              I will be posting on something along these lines soon.

              On Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 11:06 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

              >

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by Steve Ruis — October 28, 2019 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

              • “In “discussing” ideas, critiques are welcome as are competing conjectures.”

                Yes. Another word for that is “debate”.

                You are conflating the word “meaning” with the word “definition”. When you say there is no meaning in the universe, you aren’t referring to the different ways of understanding “small white house”. You are inferring that the universe has no purpose. There is no significance to life. Meaning is a delusion. It is telling that you’re not open to “debate” your position. Someone who has confidence in their position is not reluctant to engage an opposing view. Someone who values truth over their own convictions welcomes a hearty debate.

                You can’t have it both ways, Steve. If there’s no purpose in the universe, then there’s no point in trying to “get anyone down the intellectual road”.

                Atheism, like every other religion, has a price tag. You throw away purpose and meaning to avoid having to justify their existence. You claim purpose comes from within because atheism insists there is nothing outside of physical reality. The price of atheism is nihilism. To deny that is to talk in circles.

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by John Branyan — October 28, 2019 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

                • OK, John. Based on your comment, if Steve says there is no meaning in the universe, how do you counter? How do you “debate” with him if you disagree? Do you reference your personal religious perspective? Or do you offer validated evidence that supports your viewpoint?

                  Atheism does not “throw away purpose and meaning.” Perhaps it does to those who believe religion provides same, but simply because a person does not believe in god(s) does not mean they have no purpose and meaning in their life.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by Nan — October 28, 2019 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

                  • Steve says there is no meaning in the universe. He doesn’t actually believe there is no meaning in the universe. Neither do you.

                    Atheism claims meaning is created by individuals. So you are correct. Your life has purpose and meaning. No belief in god is necessary. Your personal sense of purpose is enough.

                    The drug addict’s sense of purpose is enough too. As is the child molester’s, the pedophile’s, the prostitutes and Donald Trump’s. Everyone’s purpose and meaning is equally valid. Have I got it right?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    Comment by John Branyan — October 28, 2019 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

                    • Great evasive comment, John.

                      NOTE: I did not ask you to analyze my perspective on life. Also, I didn’t ask for a psychological evaluation from you about Steve, atheists, drug addicts, child molesters, pedophiles, prostitutes, or Donald Trump.

                      If you want to continue this conversation, try answering the questions I asked without adding your perspective on what other people think or believe.

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Nan — October 28, 2019 @ 1:21 pm

                    • Great evasive response, Nan.

                      I’m still too much for you to handle. Remember that next time you’re tempted to engage.

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by John Branyan — October 28, 2019 @ 1:25 pm

                    • Bwaahaaahaaa!! Your comedic talents are on clear and unmistakable display, John! Do keep at it. One of these days you’ll surely be paid what you think you’re worth.

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Nan — October 28, 2019 @ 1:42 pm

                    • Another great evasion!

                      If we all create our own meaning, Donald Trump and you are on equal footing.
                      Keep laughing!

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by John Branyan — October 28, 2019 @ 2:21 pm

                • Re “*You are conflating the word “meaning” with the word “definition”*.” Nope, definitions are just attempts to confine meanings that are rather chaotic. They have no standing, being just entries in books written by private companies as an aid to readers and writers. The study of semantics begins with the simplest meanings and those are words attached to things (pocket watch for example). But once we get into the realm of ideas, woo boy do things get weird. Ask anyone what quantum mechanics means or the trinity. (Be sure you are wearing a seat belt and all recommended safety equipment.)

                  On Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 12:30 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

                  >

                  Like

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — October 28, 2019 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  5. Well informative article!! Health insurance corporations are now free to offer add-on coverage to anyone who wants it

    Like

    Comment by Robert Smith — November 2, 2019 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  6. Better question, how do you pay for medical care for all and still provide timely treatment?

    https://invertedlogicblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/universal-healthcare-not-all-that-it-is-cracked-up-to-be/

    Like

    Comment by invertedlogicblog — January 2, 2020 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  7. Health insurance corporations are now free to offer add-on coverage to anyone who wants it.

    Like

    Comment by Robert Smith — January 6, 2020 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

  8. I wish we had dental but thankfully in 59 years, I have never had a cavity & it’s not really an issue … I can get cleanings at the local university. When I tell people how great Medicare is, they go on about how they “had to pay” for all the extras … like dental.

    Like

    Comment by Robert Smith — January 7, 2020 @ 1:30 am | Reply

    • What needs to be compared is not what you have and what they have but what they would have with and without Medicare. You seem to have excellent health and access to university services (I used to get my hair cut in a local cosmetology school). But what they have access to may be based upon quite different circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 7, 2020 @ 9:25 am | Reply

  9. I and the people I know who are on Medicare are satisfied with it. We would be happier if it was expanded to cover dental, vision and hearing.The biggest concern I have is inadequate funding to cover the additional burden. If all congressmen, senators and the president are required to use the same system without some special “provision” for them I’m sure they will make certain the program is funded property because they won’t want to sit in waiting rooms for hours just like the rest of us don’t want to. Medical providers cannot be made to feel they are going to make less money when patients demand the best efforts from the best providers. We must pay them and hold them to the highest standards to attract the best to the medical fields. If we lower their pay we will feel it in the form of less then desirable service.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Robert Smith — January 10, 2020 @ 5:46 am | Reply

    • I am on Medicare, too. Paying for bringing everybody else aboard is really not a problem. We are already paying more for our healthcare than any other country and Medicare’s overhead is far, far less than any other healthcare provider. Basically we would all be switching to a less expensive, more efficient health service. The insurance companies could still provide for the parts Medicare doesn’t cover and could thus continue to operate.

      I had dental insurance at one point. When I needed an expensive procedure, my dentists would take photos, x-rays, etc. and apply for approval of the procedure. Almost everyone of these was denied … at first … and then approved. This was a standard procedure for the insurance companies to weed out people who were not persistent (deny out of hand and then if they reapply, take it seriously). Really? This is a good way to run a business? The people who complain about MFA also complain about government paperwork, ignoring the corporate paperwork. And think of the savings involved when every medical provider uses the same paperwork system.

      Sorry, I am ranting again. This is just so stupid. Other countries (almost all of the advanced Western ones) have worked this out. Switzerland worked it out using only private insurance companies (they set the rules, including caps on profits and organized risk pools, etc.). And yet we have people screaming we just can’t do it! The most powerful country in the world can’t do something all other countries have already done. Sheesh!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 10, 2020 @ 9:06 am | Reply

      • C’mon Steve … we’re only good at electing a doofus for president. Enacting policies and procedures that are good and helpful for the people? Unheard of!

        Like

        Comment by Nan — January 10, 2020 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

        • Unfortunately true. The parties have decided to promote ideologues for seats in Congress (and the state houses) rather than recruit talented legislators.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — January 11, 2020 @ 9:16 am | Reply


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