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Democrats Shouldn’t Abandon Medicare for All Over a Misleading Survey

Democrats Shouldn’t Abandon Medicare for All Over a Misleading Survey

Richard Eskow

David Leonhardt of the New York Times has highlighted a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation that, if true, would suggest that Medicare for All is not nearly as popular as initial polling would suggest. Based on this survey’s results, Leonhardt concludes that Democrats who support the idea are committing an “unforced error.”

What this survey does show us is that (duh) the typical US citizen is uneducated on the topic and can be easily manipulated. This is why it is important to get more true advocates for full M4A with no-co pay and all reasonable services included into office, get the ones that are in office more publicity, and get them to really explain it in a simple fashion as often as they can how a new system would work and what the tax increases will be as a function of income - the less uncertainty in people’s minds about what is being discussed the better. I sure hope the unification bill is going to not be overly complicated, not give up too much from HR676, and can get enough people behind it to get over this hump we are stuck behind for way too long on this country.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first, but how about a healthcare reform summit. Bring in one plan that still uses insurance company’s, but is better than the present ACA.
And a presentation of a dozen plans from the Canadian plan to the Cuban plan and more.Score them and propose pilot programs.

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I have the exact opposite reading actually. The people in this country have been fed massive amounts of propaganda by the media and politicians. It hasn’t made a difference. They still show strong support when the questions are worded in an extremely biased way. Republicans get completely one sided propaganda, and yet at least half support single payer. Compare that to the Democratic Party elites, who have access to all the data in the world and who do this for a living. They are, of course, corrupt, but still, listen to their arguments against single payer. Pelosi, Harris, Beto and the rest give very vague support (at most), but then let it be known that they are also supportive of what will almost certainly be a far more inefficient patchwork plan. The elites have been feeding people misleading propaganda, the Pravda like capitalist media too, many propaganda mills (called “think tanks”) mislead people, and still, the American people support single payer. To me, the average American is more enlightened than most politicians in either party, and far more enlightened than those that lead the parties, on the issue.


When questions don’t seek answers, but seek to shape them

Isn’t that best defined as propaganda?


I certainly agree the average American is less corrupt than the average politician. The politicians against us - I can never tell if they are unenlightened/ignorant or they are just corrupt/lying though I tend to assume the latter. I hope you are right and in ways most polls are encouraging but I think there is a lot of unnecessary confusion too and I think to win we have minimize that (among other things). But I am more optimistic today about what we can do in 2021 if we prepare well than I was in the 90s under Clinton.

How much does health care cost European nations who have healthcare for all?
Actually, if the military had to give up the $21trillion that they lost, that would cover everything. So why don’t we start there? : )

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Comparisons of health care costs per person across countries abound - if you don’t mind Wikipedia (I love it), see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_per_capita. If you put the table into 2016 cost decreasing order (ignore the % GDP plot, go down to the table actually comparing per capita cost), you will see we are more than anyone though Switzerland is spending quite a lot too (though getting much better metrics I’m sure).

As @KC2669 likes to say, I’m begging you to not get dragged into memes on numbers without understanding what is going on. There is no missing $21 trillion and anybody who wrote that or told you that doesn’t know what they are talking about (unfortunately in this case that includes AOC who I like, but has a lot to learn - not that I want her to shut up while she is learning - I hope she keeps shouting). Here is how Vox explains it (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/12/3/18122947/pentagon-accounting-error-medicare-for-all):

Critically, however, the passage of the article that Ocasio-Cortez cited does not mean that there is $21 trillion in fraudulent or missing DOD spending between 1998 and 2015. Indeed, there simply hasn’t been $21 trillion in (nominal) Defense Department spending across the entirety of American history.

The $21 trillion figure represents a summation of poorly documented internal financial transfers, so that the same dollar can be transferred back and forth many times over. That’s how you end up with a total amount of mis-documented financial flows that far exceeds the amount of money that’s being actually spent.

In other words $21 trillion in accounting mistakes doesn’t equal $21 trillion in stolen money. I’m all for reducing the military budget (70% is a nice number to start with), but it does NOT alone pay for all health care.


With Dr. Frist and his ilk on Kaiser’s Board we will continue to see Kaiser push back against meaningful health care reform.


Polls need to ask the real impacts of #MedicareforAll i.e. no premiums or out-of-pocket costs, increases in coverage and choice of any doctor or hospital rather than asking a push poll using the arguments of the insurance industry. These false polls are designed to deceive and get the results the insurance industry and Wall Street profiteers want. The billionaires are wrong on Medicare for All, the people are right to demand and should not compromise with false Medicare bills . . . http://healthoverprofit.org/2019/01/30/the-billionaires-are-wrong-we-cant-afford-anything-but-single-payer-health-care/


HI dara and thank you for all of the leads to read. But I really think that the 21 trillion $ is stolen, because if they can’t account for it, and go out of their way to even befuddle Ernst and Young------- no one works this hard for NOTHING! I would assume that most fo the “stolen,” money gas to Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics… the usual suspects---- you know anyone with high paying directorships that retiring generals would want. it’s a cynical , but probably a true. reality. The military is acting a lot like the Praetorian Guard did as Rome was crumbling----they pretty much picked and killed the emperors that they wanted and then didn’t want. : ( So I am off to read what you sent now, and be back later. : )

Ok - sounds good.

A key point is that the Vox authors point out that over the entire US history (this 21 trillion figure is over the last 17 years), there hasn’t even been 21 trillion spent (I didn’t do the math but if this means non-inflation adjusted dollars it seems like it could right). It was widely pointed out that the 21 number summed up all sorts of accounting errors and you track money more than once as it goes from bin to bin. I’m not pro-military spending, but this was a clear mistake which given AOC has an econ background, I’m a bit surprised she made, but not a big deal - I hope she issued a correction, but I haven’t bothered to look for it.

Hi dara and thank you again. Some of it makes sense, but then when a person thinks about the bank heist that went on with Obama and the banks,—the banks who caused the problem by getting a ton of money -----plus gaining even more money by denying the homeowners fairness in keeping their homes. How bizarre and awful was that? People losing their houses from lying banks ----for bizarre or liar bank accounting----then I suppose that fraud could be added to the money the military can’t find too
. Maybe that’s what they do because how much money did the military spend on that plane that pilots hate and which keeps killing them—how much has that lost and cost considering all the soldiers and flyers who paid with their lives – and those malfunctions that are apparently still going on. And then—how can anyone n America give the military an even bigger budget if they can’t account for any of it?
Maybe, it’s $21 trillion since 1776? Would that come out right? : ) Or is it adding up all the wasted money , like when the HUD Guy spent $30,000 on a table for his office?
Who or what came up with the original $21 trillion? I though that was front page news in all the papers.
Since banks and government agencies seem to make things up a lot—and so since NO ONE KNOWS-----wouldn’t this be a great time to require ACCOUNTABILITY? But then—how does anyone do that in American government today? This sounds exactly like what the Doge of Venice cost the Christians on one of those crusades when he charged then so much to supply boats etc. for the disaster that we know of as the Crusaders and the debacle of Constantinople! The Doge made out like the bandit he was ----and even fought in the war—and blind too. Supposedly his deals made , created a Venice as a rich place for eons! : ) Apparently, we need a DOGE- like person working for the People : ) Actually, the more I read, the more questions I have----which can be very tiring. : 0
But truly, I do welcome answers, and thank you, dara, for all of that. : )

NO! For a LONG list of reasons that I do not have time to reproduce here (nor to track down the links), maintaining the for-profit health care insurance industry in any form would lead to an early death for any system that tries to compete with it. This has been hashed out by the experts (not just “economists”) over nearly 30 years. Yes, some national health plans do allow parallel systems, but they did not start from anything like the current situation in this country, where corporations are king and the king is a homicidal maniac. The biggest single problem is the effectively unlimited cash to promote bogus surveys like this one. See my comment toward the bottom.

“Given its internal culture, it may not have been possible for KFF to present the arguments for and against Medicare for All in an unbiased manner.”

Oh it was possible, no question about that. KFF chose with full knowledge of what they were doing to lie by omission, and with “half-truths” – what we used to accuse the Russkies of. Why would they do that? Because they are closely tied with one of the largest health care insurance firms in the country, and they want the swag to continue to roll in.

Now THAT’s bulll-l-L-L-LONEY if ever there was.

And how can Medicare For All not be less costly when insurance companies are not making millions off of illness?

Biggest problem is that Kaiser has a very big dog in the hunt. It was Edgar Kaiser more than anyone else whose incessant lobbying of Richard Nixon led to the rise of managed care and all the evils that went with it.

Of course they want medicare for all defeated. They may be a “non profit” in name, but as anyone familiar with the modern scammery of non-profit status knows, that’s not a euphemism for “at-cost” or “charity”. Kaiser is a massive money-making operation. Its executive are richly rewarded and the receipts they take in have built a managed care empire without peer. And they get to do it all without paying taxes (which is the whole point of non-profit status for what is otherwise just another massive corporation).

National systems reduce receipts for all firms, and Kaiser will do what it can to stop that. Their biggest enemy isn’t stock prices, obviously, but it is lower “mission dividends” that are the vehicle with which they distribute their sizable profits.


How can you state how much is missing or stolen if only 10% of Pentagon departments could pass their first ever audit (originally mandated by Congress back in the 1990s)?

I didn’t state how much is missing/stolen. I said a) it can’t be $21 trillion - that is more than the Pentagon even received over 17 years (I don’t know the exact figure, but for the economic arena being discussed here which I don’t think it talking about things like the VA - mostly weapons expenses I imagine - it is proably on the order of $10 trillion) and credulity demands that stealing more than 25% of that number is going to be damn hard to do without getting caught - and 100% isn’t 21 trillion, and b) it was widely stated in the press at the time this number become popularized that it was an accounting total where the SAME money is being mis-accounted for multiple times.

People who want to fight for a lower military cost (including me) have to get their facts straight - if we don’t we are ridiculed and it makes it harder to win in the court of public opinion - I have snide comments about the ‘stupidity of liberals’ thrown at me all the time when I try to debate conservatives at work. I don’t want to give them any ammo. I’d rather hold all the ammo (and I have plenty since their side is quite stupid with the numbers).

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I totally agree. We have some polls on our side of course but as we go forward it might be a good idea to figure out how to get some bigger polls where we have some input (not the final wording perhaps) on the way the poll questions are worded. What are your top choices for polling sources that would a) be unbiased on this issue, and b) be amenable to discussing the question with the leaders (e.g. PNHP) before running the poll? Would Pew qualify?

I know @dpearl has a lot to say about polls, perhaps he has an opinion he’d like to share as well.