A Primer on the Economic Benefits of Medicare-For-All

The features of a single-payer or a Medicare-for-all (M4A) health care system would provide economic benefits for individuals, families, doctors, hospitals and the nation. For most households, M4A saves money and provides more disposable income. Gerald Friedman, PhD and Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst, has studied M4A for many years. He estimates that a M4A system financed by progressive taxes would cover more and cost less for 95 percent of U.S. households than our current health care system. Further, he estimates that a family of four with an income of $50,000 would save more than $5,800.

Opponents have made the claim that M4A is too expensive. They say that over 10 years we would need to pay $32 trillion in extra taxes, our current expenditure on health care multiplied by 10. This assessment implies that we need to increase taxes and still spend just as much on insurance premiums and deductibles. That claim is disingenuous.

First, insurance is not used in a M4A system, so there are no premiums. Friedman’s data showed that the family of four that had an income of $50,000 would save $6,273 in insurance premiums and deductibles that are no longer collected. The family would pay an extra $466 in taxes for a net gain in disposable income of $5,807. Again, 95 percent of households would save money.

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GOP Moral Turpitude

While any legitimate moral outrage by GOP elected officials is appreciated after Charlottsville and the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it is surprising that Republicans said anything given their moral turpitude on critical policy issues and race. For years Republicans have decided to disseminate lies that cause death and economic harm for political expediency.

After Charlottesville, Donald Trump demonstrated his immorality when, after multiple statements, he still seemed to blame both sides for the violence in Charlottesville. His first statement seem to hold sway, “We condemn in the strongest most possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”

While a few Republican Senators, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), condemned Trump by name, other prominent politicians such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) condemned Trump without mentioning his name.

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Feeling Safe

My wife and I want to wish the shooting victims Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Matt Mika speedy recoveries. They are currently in critical condition. In addition, I want to salute the two members of the Capitol police who were shot, Crystal Griner and David Bailey. Without their quick reaction and bravery, the shooting could have turned into a massacre.

As all of the interviewed members of Congress said, this is a horrible event.

The real issue came out when reporter Hallie Jackson asked a congressman, “Do you feel safe on a day-to-day basis?”

“We all want to feel safe,” my wife said. And that gets to the crux of the problem. People don’t feel safe.

First, it is hard to feel safe when people can walk around with assault rifles. Second, no civilian needs a high-capacity magazine. The shooter at the baseball practice, James T. Hodgkinson, had both.

Hodgkinson once shot several dozen rounds into the woods near his home and had a history of domestic abuse. Either one should have revoked his gun ownership privileges.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States (emphasis added).

Please, I am asking all members of Congress to provide for the “general Welfare.” A great way to start would be by making us all feel safe.

Stop Doing Nothing

When my children were young and playing together, I would hear a strange sound or I would not hear anything for quite some time; and I would say, “What are you doing?”

“Nothing.”

“Stop doing nothing.” It worked. Either I did not hear any strange sounds for a while, or I heard enough noise to make me comfortable. In any event, I never had to take my children to the pediatrician or hospital after using that phrase.

To Senate Republicans working on health care who are either completely silent or making the occasional strange noise, I want to ask, “What are you doing?”

I envision them saying, “Nothing.” That would be a lie because what Republicans are doing is much worse than nothing.

If they were doing nothing, they would keep our current health care system, colloquially known as Obamacare, with all its imperfections. In spite of Obamacare’s imperfections, it has made our health care system better. It has enabled people without health insurance to get coverage, and as a consequence, some of these people were able to get life-saving care.

If the Senate proposes anything similar to House’s bill, it would make the situation worse than before Obamacare. As of March 2017 about 28 million people lacked health insurance. The most recent version of the House’s American Health Care Act or Trumpcare would cause another 23 million people to become uninsured. This would bring the total number of uninsured to 51 million. About 46 million people were uninsured in 2009.

It is time for the Senate Republicans to stop doing nothing. Otherwise they are going to cause grave damage to the citizens of this country.