By the Numbers: 'Medicare for All' Could Fund Prosperous Future

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    Apr 04, 2012 12:03 AM GMT


    Gerald Friedman, professor of economics at the University of Massachussetts-Amherst, offers a graphic look at the costs and revenue possibilities of a national single-payer health care plan. "Providing universal coverage with a 'single-payer' system would change many aspects of American health care," he writes in the March/April issue of Dollars & Sense. "While it would raise some costs by providing access to care for those currently uninsured or under-insured, it would save much larger sums by eliminating insurance middlemen and radically simplifying payment to doctors and hospitals. While providing superior health care, a single-payer system would save as much as $570 billion now wasted on administrative overhead and monopoly profits. A single-payer system would also make health-care financing dramatically more progressive by replacing fixed, income-invariant health-care expenditures with progressive taxes."

    The following is a series of charts and graphs that shows why we need a single-payer system and how it could be funded:

    Health-care costs have risen much faster than income in the United States over the last 50 years, rising from 5% of Gross Domestic Product in 1960 to nearly 18% today. Some of the increase in costs in the United States, as with other countries, is associated with improvements in care and longevity. Costs have risen much faster in the United States, however, because of the growing administrative burden of our private health-insurance system.

    * * *

    With $570 billion in savings on administration and monopoly profits, a single-payer system would reduce dramatically the burden of health care costs on the United States economy. Over time, furthermore, a single-payer system would allow us to slow the growth in health-care spending.

    * * *

    A single-payer system would produce huge administrative savings by simplifying billing operations within providers’ offices and hospitals, and by redistributing the monopoly profits currently enjoyed by pharmaceutical makers and other companies.

    * * *

    The savings produced by a single-payer system would allow us to correct some of the problems within the current health-care system. In addition to extending coverage to all of those currently uninsured, we could also improve the coverage for those with inadequate insurance. Finally, we could correct the inequity in the current financing system by reimbursing providers equally for caring for the poor under Medicaid.

    * * *

    The single-payer system would be paid for by a variety of taxes. The Tobin tax is a tax on financial transactions that would raise revenue while discouraging the types of speculative finance that led to the current economic crisis. The remaining revenue would come from taxes targeted at those best able to pay, including those with high incomes and with incomes from property (including capital gains, dividends, interest, profits, and rents).

    * * *

    With private health insurance, health-care expenditures are largely fixed with respect to income and, therefore, are a heavier burden on the poor and middle classes than on the wealthy. By linking health-care expenditures to income, a tax-funded single- payer system would provide savings for all Americans below the wealthiest top 5%.

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    www.commondreams.org
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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 04, 2012 12:14 AM GMT
    Given the likelihood that we're going to see the non-credible SCOTUS render another partisan 5-4 conservative majority decision - it makes sense to start thinking about what the options will be for cleaning up the mess that will be made by the SCOTUS this June.
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    Apr 04, 2012 2:38 AM GMT
    RickRick91 saidGiven the likelihood that we're going to see the non-credible SCOTUS render another partisan 5-4 conservative majority decision - it makes sense to start thinking about what the options will be for cleaning up the mess that will be made by the SCOTUS this June.




    Maybe the Supremes won't go against the mandate because after all there is precident for it in Social Security and with its attached Medicare program, both are mandated tax deductions for all US employees.
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    Apr 04, 2012 5:10 AM GMT
    realifedad said
    RickRick91 saidGiven the likelihood that we're going to see the non-credible SCOTUS render another partisan 5-4 conservative majority decision - it makes sense to start thinking about what the options will be for cleaning up the mess that will be made by the SCOTUS this June.




    Maybe the Supremes won't go against the mandate because after all there is precident for it in Social Security and with its attached Medicare program, both are mandated tax deductions for all US employees.




    It would be a pleasant surprise if we didn't see another partisan 5-4 decision.
    But I think we'll more likely see the five right-wingers on the court do as the corporate shill Repub establishment dictates.

    That's what the signs point to.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19133

    Apr 04, 2012 5:57 AM GMT
    RickRick91 saidGiven the likelihood that we're going to see the non-credible SCOTUS render another partisan 5-4 conservative majority decision - it makes sense to start thinking about what the options will be for cleaning up the mess that will be made by the SCOTUS this June.



    True, because the SCOTUS is only "credible" if it rules in favor of liberals icon_rolleyes.gif
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Apr 04, 2012 6:17 AM GMT
    Single-payer / "Medicare for All" is what Obama should have pursued when he had the chance. It's no accident that every other successful western nation has already embraced this solution -- and pays far less than we do on medical care as a result.
    The silver lining of the conservative Supreme Court potentially striking down health care reform is it will force our country to do something to address the problem -- and the Republicans have already said they have virtually no alternative. 50 million Americans without access to health care is not sustainable.
    I would love for our conservative friends to try an experiment of mine -- ask everyone you know on Medicare or getting VA healthcare if they would rather ditch it in favor of purchasing their own insurance. I've never talked to anyone who has said yes.
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    Apr 04, 2012 6:52 AM GMT
    KissTheSky said...I would love for our conservative friends to try an experiment of mine -- ask everyone you know on Medicare or getting VA healthcare if they would rather ditch it in favor of purchasing their own insurance. I've never talked to anyone who has said yes.

    To make the question more fair, considering people paid into Medicare for years, ask it this way: Would you be willing to ditch medicare benefits if you received a lump sum representing everything you paid into medicare with interest?
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    Apr 04, 2012 9:08 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    KissTheSky said...I would love for our conservative friends to try an experiment of mine -- ask everyone you know on Medicare or getting VA healthcare if they would rather ditch it in favor of purchasing their own insurance. I've never talked to anyone who has said yes.

    To make the question more fair, considering people paid into Medicare for years, ask it this way: Would you be willing to ditch medicare benefits if you received a lump sum representing everything you paid into medicare with interest?





    Very few have paid anywhere near enough into the system to pay for todays costs of even one major surgery and recovery. On our own we cannot afford such costs and relying on for profit insurance only isn't cost effective and is unaffordable for most.

    This is why a non profit program where everyones funds are pooled has been shown worldwide to be the most cost effective and serving the most people when they need healthcare On our own even quite wealthy people cannot afford an extended one to two month illness, surgery and recovery, My mother suffered with a rather typical cancer which forced a surgery and hospitalization that lasted nearly 3 months, followed by skilled care for recovery, the tab was nearly $750,000, I dare say no one I know of has even paid one third of that figure into SS and Medicare

    Its really a rather simple and easily provable fact, so what would you or any other payor into SS do with their average mere pittance they'd paid in, even if they had it. Wake up to reality !!


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    Apr 04, 2012 10:20 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    KissTheSky said...I would love for our conservative friends to try an experiment of mine -- ask everyone you know on Medicare or getting VA healthcare if they would rather ditch it in favor of purchasing their own insurance. I've never talked to anyone who has said yes.

    To make the question more fair, considering people paid into Medicare for years, ask it this way: Would you be willing to ditch medicare benefits if you received a lump sum representing everything you paid into medicare with interest?


    Kissthesky could also look at this way too, if I was his keeper for a number of years, would he want to give that up, and go back to supporting himself again; I'm sure many would say no once they received the handouts.

    He ain't heavy, his my brother, but I am not his bloody keeper.
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    Apr 04, 2012 12:00 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    socalfitness said
    KissTheSky said...I would love for our conservative friends to try an experiment of mine -- ask everyone you know on Medicare or getting VA healthcare if they would rather ditch it in favor of purchasing their own insurance. I've never talked to anyone who has said yes.

    To make the question more fair, considering people paid into Medicare for years, ask it this way: Would you be willing to ditch medicare benefits if you received a lump sum representing everything you paid into medicare with interest?


    Very few have paid anywhere near enough into the system to pay for todays costs of even one major surgery and recovery. On our own we cannot afford such costs and relying on for profit insurance only isn't cost effective and is unaffordable for most.

    This is why a non profit program where everyones funds are pooled has been shown worldwide to be the most cost effective and serving the most people when they need healthcare On our own even quite wealthy people cannot afford an extended one to two month illness, surgery and recovery, My mother suffered with a rather typical cancer which forced a surgery and hospitalization that lasted nearly 3 months, followed by skilled care for recovery, the tab was nearly $750,000, I dare say no one I know of has even paid one third of that figure into SS and Medicare

    Its really a rather simple and easily provable fact, so what would you or any other payor into SS do with their average mere pittance they'd paid in, even if they had it. Wake up to reality !!

    Assumption lump sum would pay for alternate health insurance, with companies able to compete across state lines, versus current Obmacare that protects insurance industry.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 04, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    Unfortunately single payer healthcare ain't gonna happen

    It ain't gonna happen because you have the republican party bought and wholly paid for by the healthcare industry
    I don't exonerate the democrats either .... President Obama with his constant need for compromise gave us a mish-mash of changes while it's a vast improvement over the get rich quick and rob the public blind model we have right now
    It's in no way a panecea
    Until we DO have single payer healthcare in America healthcare will continue to be a drag on the economy and we will continue to be the laughing stock of the civilized world
  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Jul 08, 2012 5:47 PM GMT
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  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jul 08, 2012 10:22 PM GMT
    Simply expanding Medicare to cover everybody, was exactly what I wanted, back at the beginning of the healthcare debate. It would provide the greatest number of people paying into the system, resulting in lower medical costs for everybody. And, the damn insurance companies would no longer be able to charge a fortune for little or no coverage.