Endorsing Medicare for All

I’ve decided to endorse Medicare for All. Previously, I had said Medicare for All was the eventual goal but unrealistic, and that we should go for expanding Obamacare and Medicaid at the moment. I’ve decided this is misguided, because half measures really don’t inspire people or produce the sort of systemic reform we need.

I will write more about specifics later, but there are several versions of Medicare for All and the version I am endorsing is Bernie Sanders’s, which involves the government as a single payer, elimination of private health insurance, and coverage for long-term care. It is an improvement over existing Medicare even for existing Medicare recipients due to the elimination of costs to individual Americans. (Elective procedures like cosmetic surgery and orthodontics will still not be covered.)

Medicare for All will make Americans more prosperous and entrepreneurial. They won’t be tied to jobs they hate for insurance. It’s an investment in our people.

What we have now is basically American carnage, with many Americans being forgotten when it comes to medical care. Our president talks about putting America first. We need to put Americans first, when it comes to their health and wellness. Too many Americans are dying of preventable causes due to lack of funds for healthcare.

People will ask—how will you pay for it? Well, how are Americans paying for medical care now? In nearly half of personal bankruptcies, medical bills are a factor, if not THE main factor that caused the bankruptcy. Hospitals have “chargemaster” pricing for the uninsured, at ridiculously inflated prices meant to make up for the huge proportion of patients who never pay their bills. Patients often end up having to pay huge sums even with insurance, due to high co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles; being denied a claim; or inadvertently serviced by an out-of-network provider.

The whole system of health insurance and multiple overlapping bureaucracies in both the government and private sectors is ridiculous. Do you hear the sucking sound? That’s our healthcare systems’ parasitic effect on the economy. I’m not saying individual workers within this system are bad, but just that their overall industry’s contribution to Americans’ prosperity is in the red.

The idea that government should not be involved is a ship that has long sailed. Many government programs such as Social Security have much lower overhead than most private-sector bureaucracies. The U.S. government and state governments are already highly experienced and have the systems in place to administer healthcare at a large scale via the existing Medicare, VA, and Medicaid programs. The infrastructure is already there. We just need to build upon it.

The average American spends somewhere around $10,000 a year on health expenses and a great deal of paperwork and stress is also involved. We will raise taxes and improve enforcement of existing tax laws on the top 1%, but we can also raise taxes on the middle class (and must do so). In fact, this will reduce the vast majority of Americans’ expenses.

Retirement will be transformed. Now, people have to worry about saving large sums of money and buying expensive annuity or long-term care insurance plans for retirement. Americans’ burdens will be greatly reduced when surprise health issues and sky-high costs are no longer an issue that must be financially planned for.

Pension plans already rely on collective pooling of risk to better all participants. Insurance does too. You have car insurance, which provides a negative return to you (on average) but compensates for the financial risk of a catastrophic loss you cannot afford. With Medicare for All, like with Social Security, we can pool this risk across society with better-than-normal returns as compared to each individual having to navigate a complicated and adversarial insurance system.

Some people blame others for their healthcare expenses. The fact is that many people have healthcare problems through no fault of their own that are quite expensive and unpleasant. The idea that we cannot provide healthcare for all in the most successful, profitable, and industrious nation this world has ever seen, is ludicrous. I hope you will join me in supporting Medicare for All Americans.