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Everybody Wants ‘Medicare for All’—Except Our Leaders


#23

The author is right; neo-liberal Democrats will try to engineer another ‘health care reform’ effort to death, while protecting their benefactors by stealth. Pelosi’s staff has said as much. Don’t trust them: too much money is involved.

I recently heard an anguished cry from a fellow progressive: “Why not just expand Medicare eligibility to everyone, and leave the current system alone for now?” He has a good point, no, a game saving point. Writing up a whole new system at the start will put everyone to sleep from the start, and in the dark. ‘They’ are counting on it - just ask the Pelosi staffer. A simple expansion of eligibility can be accomplished quickly, in the open, and get quick results, the better to shut the detractors up.


#24

But that is only the 0.01%. The 99.99% don’t even count except for what they can borrow and pay huge interest on, or the number of penny-ante jobs they can hold to feed their families and maybe house them.
*Time to wake up, time for a change!
;-})


#25

Time to put it back!
;-})


#26

It is interesting to look at the Wikipedia page on wealth of countries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_distribution_of_wealth). The US is actually behind Luxembourg in GDP/capita by quite a bit actually - I have no idea what they do in Luxembourg to achieve this. But we are a very big country and above everyone else on that metric so I suppose that makes us the richest country on Earth - though really it is the per capita number that matters when we are talking about delivering health care and not say developing a space program.

The other column besides GDP/capita that is relevant here is the Gini coefficient. This metric isn’t perfect - no metric that collapses an entire wealth distribution into a single value is going to be (e.g. you could have 99% of the people evenly distributed and 1% absolutely in dire poverty and the coefficient would be close to 0 I think, with 0 = perfect equality). Japan has the lowest Gini (most equitable) at 0.547 and ours is one of the highest (least equitable) but I was surprised to find out Norway and Switzerland are higher.


#27

Hey, Olhippy!

Well, my choice is the Socialist Party USA, which is all that’s left of the Socialist Party that Eugene V. Debs represented. That party split into factions in the early 70s as the Social Democrats took over the party and decided to turn it into a lobbying organization within the Democratic Party instead of an actual political party that was Democratic Socialist instead of Social Democrat (although they immediately appropriate the term and watered it down until yesterday I had to read a meme on Facebook saying Democratic Socialists aren’t against Capitalism.)

The Socialist Party USA was the only faction left that still was loyal to the Debs heritage and still a real political party that runs candidates.

I figure as long as voting third party is about party building, I might as well vote for the party that is Debs’ party instead of compromising from the get go.


#28

NO!!!

Medicare does not cover everything. It requires a supplement insurance and you are in deep trouble if you don’t have it. Most of those supplements are for-profit.

You can still go bankrupt from medical expenses if all you have is Medicare.

I’m okay with calling it Medicare for All, but let’s not pretend that really making Medicare be for all is a solution. The original HR 676 is the solution.


#29

You are right, the items in the current Medicare package that needs tweaking probably runs into the hundreds. My concern is that at this very moment, the neo-liberal Democrats seem ready to ‘engineer’ the package to death. Pages and pages of dry language, written with providers in the shadows out of the public eye, the goal is to put us to sleep.

My proposal is we first get young people onto the program double quick, generate excitement and political momentum, the better to spill the wind from the sail of the likes of the Pelosi staffer who admitted to ‘have the back’ of insurers.

And then come back to tweak the hundreds of items that need to be tweaked.


#30

No.

There are three different things.

  1. Medicare
  2. HR 676
  3. Newer versions of Medicare for All that are a mess

There are three choices- not two.

We all must push for the original HR 676 (need to say original since the 676 part was usurped for something else.)


#31

According to your link, Norway’s Gini coefficient is much lower than ours.

And in terms of national wealth, Norway owns a sovereign wealth fund (largely used to invest their nationalized oil profits) that gives each and every Norwegian citizen an additional net worth of roughly $200,000. By comparison, the US citizenry ‘owns’ a national debt of just under $22 trillion, which works out to each of us owing $66,000.

Just some food for thought…


#32

You argument sounds good but it has been my experience that tweaking never seems to work. Too many state that the tweaking should have been corrected in the beginning and it should. Get the program right from the start.


#33

My apologies to Norway which does have one of the lowest Gini coefficients. I’m not sure if I just confused Norway for Denmark or what I did wrong (Denmark is one of only 4 countries with a higher (worse) coefficient than us).

Thanks for the correction and info.


#34

Ok, now I’m even more confused with I’m going with Gini coefficients. After not understanding why Denmark would be worse than the US either, I poked around and saw:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality has completely different numbers than https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_distribution_of_wealth,

On the first one, it has US at 41.5/47 (World Bank/CIA) and Denmark at 28.5/24.8 (better).

The Talk page says this is due to the difference at looking at income vs looking at wealth but that still seems surprising to me that Denmark has greater wealth inequality.


#35

Yes, I somehow doubt that either Denmark or Norway are anywhere near the US in terms of wealth inequity. Here’s a big reason:


#36

I think the best data for international comparisons of income and wealth inequality are done by the World Inequality Lab who also make all of their raw data open source allowing one to calculate their own inequality measures. This group also publishes the World Inequality Report, the most recent version of which can be found at


#37

Excellent article!!! Thanks for the link.


#41

Allianz only tracks financial assets (bank deposits + securities+ private insurance/pensions) not total wealth and not income at all. In a country like Sweden, a large proportion of the population (about a third) don’t happen to have any financial assets at all - but nevertheless have secure housing, food, medical care, and retirement. (also, I’m not sure why you chose Allianz’s 2015 report since they put their report out annually and the 2018 report is available). Allianz will still have the U.S. last by their measure - but they are not tracking a measure of inequality that is as relevant as the data I cited.


#42

In reality, Sweden has pretty much eliminated poverty. In the US, by contrast, 14% of the population lives under the poverty line. It’s that simple.


#43

That’s the key - looking only at inequality in privately held financial assets makes a society with a very strong safety net look bad - because people don’t need to hoard private wealth for basic survival.


#45

Sorry - but the statistical measure employed its not what I was referring to. The Gini Coefficient is a standard measure of the diversity of a distribution - used for more than a hundred years in all kinds of applications.
I was a talking about the data that they employ the Gini Coefficient on. Allianz only looks at financial assets - rather than all wealth (and they don’t look at income at all). That is not appropriate for international comparisons.