Class Warfare Blog

April 24, 2020

We Can’t Pay for Medicare for All! But . . .

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:26 am
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Michael Hudson is one of my favorite economists and recently he said this: “Just think of when, in the debates with Bernie Sanders during the spring, Biden and Klobuchar kept saying, ‘What we’re paying for Medicare-for-All will be $1 trillion over 10 years.’ Well, here the Fed can create $1.5 trillion in one week just to buy stocks.

“Why is it okay for the Fed to create $1.5 trillion to buy stocks to prevent rich people from losing on their stocks, when it’s not okay to print only $1 trillion to pay for free Medicare for the entire population? This is crazy!”

So, the very same corporate stooges that proclaim that we cannot possibly afford to pay for Medicare for All are more than willing to have their share prices and corporations supported to the tune of trillions of dollars.

And, of course, the costs of Medicare for All are never, ever placed side by side with the benefits, you know, in a cost-benefit analysis?

The benefits are immense, especially when you consider the savings from not having to buy health insurance. For example, according to Modern Health care, the nation’s seven largest publicly traded health insurers saw revenues of $913 billion in 2019. So, pay a trillion dollars a year for Medicare for All and get 0.913 trillion dollars back. And that is just the top seven companies. I suppose that if all of the rest of the companies were added it, the savings would be greater.

With just that benefit alone we are down to an annual cost for Medicate for All of $87 billion and that could be paid for by cancelling one small weapon system from the Pentagon’s budget.

Ca-ching! Done. Medicare for All is paid for.

Of course the opponents of universal health care in this country don’t want you to see a cost-benefit analysis. I mean, all of those numbers . . . bound to be confusing, so they just want to keep it simple (using a risk-risk analysis).

PS What ever happened to the idea of risk when investing in the stock market? The purchases are not insured, like savings in federally instituted banks. Remember all of the people the Stock Market Crash of 1929 bankrupted? Isn’t the danger of losing one’s money supposed to be a major factor in controlling risky behaviors? If the government is to bail out the poor, poor investors every time they get a financial hangnail, the whole system becomes corrupt, or should I say “has become corrupt.”

October 11, 2019

Something is seriously wrong with this system.

Filed under: Economics,Politics,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 10:04 am
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Over at the Naked Capitalism site there is a significant post on the costs of healthcare insurance—Wolf Richter: How Employees & Employers Get Bled by Health Insurance.

It is no secret that the healthcare insurers figured out that union-negotiated healthcare insurance was a spigot to tap the wealth of the nation so as to flow into their coffers.

The unions thought that they were negotiating a “fringe benefit,” a non salary-based benefit and that this would make sense for one and all. Everyone needed access to healthcare services, so making it a fringe benefit made sense. It also allowed a larger “purchase” to be made, thereby holding down the costs.

But insurers recognized that the prices they charge were made invisible to the employees and so they used the specter of employee unrest to jack up prices wholesale. Even employers were caught off guard.

Here’s a taste of the article, check out this graphic. It covers only a 20 year span, in which healthcare “costs” increased at a substantially higher rate than, well, anything else. (Why? Because there was no one in charge?)

As a contrast to this consider the school textbook market. All states buy textbooks for their schools. Some states, like Texas and California, are so large that textbook publishers cannot lose sales to those states, so they cater, fawningly over the states with the most buying power. Imagine if there were one giant healthcare insurance customer. Imagine the buying power. Imagine the ability to oversee this entity (as there will be only one customer, with only one suite of paperwork, one set of reports, etc.). Imagine the pressure on drug manufacturers and all of the rest to make sure they get their piece of the pie.

Can’t possibly work, you say? Well it is working . . . in numerous places around the globe . . . and even right here in River City. In the form of Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration.

 

 

 

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