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This Attack on Sanders' Medicare-for-All Plan is Ridiculous


This Attack on Sanders' Medicare-for-All Plan is Ridiculous

Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein

The Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center today released analyses of the costs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ domestic policy proposals, including single-payer national health insurance. They claim that Sanders’ proposals would raise the federal deficit by $18 trillion over the next decade.




The real elephant in the room is that in a fee for service system.. overuse is common [ more procedures and drugs administered the more money comes in ] use of expensive unproven procedures and medicines is discouraged in a well run public system. Also the current system encourages use of the emergency room because of high co pays and deductibles. One would be surprised at how much saving could be wrung out of the current system with equal or better quality. Also the number of billionaire CEO in the health care industry would be greatly reduced. Politics involved? http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/larry-klayman-files-lawsuit-against-former-fda-commissioner-hamburg-johnson--johnson-and-others-sued-for-alleged-racketeering-and-other-claims-over-dangerous-drug-levaquin-300206300.html........ I believe Clinton was responsible for bringing Hamburg into government


This is ridiculous. With estimates like these, every advanced industrialist country with socialized healthcare (which includes them all, except the US) should have gone into default long ago, not to mention all the less than "advanced" countries (Cuba, Venezuela and, until their recent "liberation," Libya) with the decency to take care of their citizens. We need Bernie, and we need him bad.


An additional factor never mentioned by the medical financial cartel (and the politicians it owns) is the cost of Wall Street bank bailouts, confirmed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to be more than $16 trillion on page 131 of June 2011 GAO report GAO-11-696.

Sanders highest priority is breaking up the too-big-to-fail banks, an action that will eliminate that $16 trillion that US taxpayers are on the hook for, and eliminate the risk for additional multi-trillion dollar bank bail outs. Seeing how they are more in hock to Wall Street than they have ever been, the Clintons will continue to enable the those banks to continue to grow, increasing the bail out cost to taxpayers when the next crash hits.

It is true that if Clinton added Medicare for All to the ever expanding corporate welfare costs that she is obligated to provide for her paymasters, the Medicare for All costs would be more of a challenge..


One thing that I don't get is why Sander's calls his plan Medicare for all when his plan has no deductibles, no copays, and seems to cover everything. That is much than Medicare provides. Medicare has copays and deductibles and only pays 80% of physician fees. Medicare also doesn't cover as much as a good private plan. Because of the deficiencies of Medicare many people have secondary plans from private health insurers The way Sander's plan has been describe I think it sounds much better than Medicare for all. Of course the projected costs are based on assumptions which people will certainly disagree on.


Add corporate funded university research to your list, EnemyofWar.


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Bernie's plan is similar to Rep. John Conyers's H.R. 676, Improved and Expanded Medicare for All; gets rid of the costly privatization add-ons. The authors explain clearly where the saving are.


Excellent graphic.

Of interest is "veterans benefits" which should come under Military spending. The USSR had a huge number of persons who served in the second world war very many of them injured. When the CIA was measuring the military spending of the USSR they would include Military pensions and other such benefits. As the population of veterans in the USSR aged those costs went up and in the USA there cries that the "Evil communists are increasing military spending".


The job of the CIA is to mislead and obfuscate. They should be restricted to misleading other nations but they have fully embraced their role of misleading the citizens of the United States.


It is perfectly obvious that Holahan is a paid liar. His job is to protect the interests of the Health Care Profiteers. So he lies.


ALL of the Democratic Party attacks against Senator Sanders have been ridiculous.


The Urban Institute and Tax Policy Center studies, and even Woolhandler's and Himmelstein's excellent rebuttal here don't mention other savings from the current system which have to be netted out of any Medicare for All added costs in assessing the overall added costs/savings of a Sanders' reform of US healthcare. For example, most if not all of the Veterans Hospital system which currently costs well over $1 trillion over 10 years, would be eliminated, since all returned servicepeople would be fully covered by Medicare for All just like ever other citizen. Also eliminated would be the entire cost of Medicaid as paid for by the states and federal government -- a savings of $4.25 trillion -- since there would be no more poor people without medical coverage under Medicare for All. Finally, there would be no more hidden costs of "uncompensated" care for the uninsured, currently covered by federal, state and local government payments to hospitals, as well as included in higher insurance premiums paid by the insured. According to the Kaiser Foundation, the cost of such "uncompensated care" for the uninsured in 2013 was $85 billion, and extrapolating that with some inflation added in would mean another at least $1 trillion saved over 10 years. So here I've found another uncounted $6.25 trillion in savings by introducing Sanders' Medicare-for-All plan in the US. Adding that amount to the $8.8 trillion in savings that Woolhandler and Himmelstein identify in the article comes to over $15 billion in savings missed or ignored by the Urban Institute and Tax Policy Center hit "study" on Sanders' plan.
Of course, nobody has really counted in the astonishing savings to everyone who currently pays insurance premiums and co-pays and deductibles, including the employers who still subsidize the insurance premiums for most full-time workers. That figure was about $1 trillion PER YEAR in 2014, and has surely risen significantly since then. Conservatively then, without factoring in any inflation, there's a savings of $10 trillion in ten years, so we're at $25 trillion saved over a decade with Medicare for All.
No wonder all countries that have a government health care program spend far less than we do in the US!!!

Dave Lindorff
founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening! and author of "Marketplace Medicine" (Bantam Books, 1992)


No one should doubt that single payer works. It is not perfect, but it is better than alternatives.


Excellent points to consider.


Leaving aside the estimates, the fall of the USSR could be described as a bankruptcy. At the time I saw an article stating that the typical doctor in the USSR was about as competent as a U.S. RN. At the time, if Leonid Brezhnev had taken a bullet like Ron Reagan had, Brezhnev would have died.
More recently I have seen an article describing Britain's doctors in about the same way. Anyone with such talent in Britain emigrates. The shortfall in doctors is made up with less well trained doctors from the subcontinent.


I have seen such pie-charts in the past. That needs to be reconciled with other charts that include mandated spending, such as the one on p101 of your 1040 instruction book. That pie chart shows "Social Security, Medicare and other retirement = 42%, National Defense = 22%, Social Programs = 22%, Physical, human and community development = 5%, Net interest on the debt = 6%, Law enforcement and general government = 2%."

Because of the 'third rail', you will have a hard time finding any politician talking honestly about what ought to be cut in the budget. (Serious budget restraint will have to include something on that 42%. It is the 'elephant', and getting bigger.)


Because others have better data at their fingertips, I leave a challenge to the article and its advocacy to them. But I will pose two questions:
* The article and many others speak of big savings on administrative costs. But a few problems: what has already been done has destroyed the true pricing of medical services. And Medicare suffers from a substantial amount of fraud and false claims already. Since individual patients lack the tools or incentives to question their own bills, and insurance company claims processors will be eliminated, will Medicare for All see an explosion of fraud and abuse? If not, what sort of administration will they implement to fight it, and how effective will it be?
* Many people point to the costs of US health care compared to other nations. I know of one obvious way to cut costs, stop spending for drug company R&D. But after that ...? Tell me some examples of 'single payer' countries that had high costs /person before they implemented their single payer, and their cost/person went down markedly afterwards. ? In the meantime, I can think of one example of the reverse. The politician who got Britain's NHS enacted said afterwards "I stuffed their mouths with gold."
Last, separately, authors Woolhandler and Himmelstein wrote "...did it happen when Taiwan implemented single payer more recently." Hmm? I heard the NPR book review author interview of T.R. Reid, "The Healing of America" back in 2009. He said that there are four types of financing health care, and the USA has all four types. He specifically mentioned that Taiwan had recently gone from type 4, pay out of pocket, to type 3, highly regulated private insurance much like US employer provided insurance of 2009, and like what France, Germany and Switzerland provide. Sounds like Taiwan doesn't have single payer.


Your position is utter tripe. Every other big rich nation has universal or single-payer health care. They all have more robust social support systems than the pathetic USA. It gives them an advantage against our companies, in case you somehow missed that.