You may have seen my opponent attacking my Medicare-for-all proposal. He hasn’t been telling the full story, so let’s go through the numbers here.
The Mercatus Center, a think tank funded and advised by corporate billionaires Charles and David Koch, recently released a study showing that the Medicare-for-all plan proposed in the U.S Senate would cost roughly $2 trillion less than expected cost of our current healthcare system over the next 10 years.
Our current healthcare system, the study shows, is projected to cost Americans a grand total of $59.653 trillion between 2022 and 2031 (see pg. 6, table 2, sum of ‘Currently projected national health expenditures’). Medicare-for-All, which covers tens of millions more Americans, virtually eliminates out-of-pocket expenses, and includes dental, hearing and vision, is projected cost Americans a grand total of $57.599 trillion – $2 trillion less than our current system (see pg. 6, table 2, sum of ‘NHE under M4A’).
Now, 57 trillion is less than 59 trillion. But Rep. Smucker only wants to talk about the number 32 – the public spending that replaces the current private spending. And I don’t understand why he doesn’t talk about the rest of the study, because it seems we have an incredible opportunity to pass a policy that not only saves $2 trillion, but also simplifies things for small businesses and self-employed workers, eliminates discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions, protects senior citizens, and saves American lives by providing all of us with guaranteed medical insurance.
Under our current system, 27 million Americans still do not have health insurance. And millions more who do have insurance struggle every month to afford rising premiums.
Medicare-for-All would guarantee healthcare to every American and, according to a think tank backed by right-wing billionaires, would also save the United States of America $2 trillion.
We shouldn’t be surprised to find that Medicare-for-All saves us money. The U.S spends far more on health care than any other industrialized democracy. In 2017, the U.S. spent more per capita than any other country on healthcare: $10,209. Other industrialized democracies with national healthcare systems spent half as much per capita: Germany spent $5,728, France spent $4,902, and Canada spent $4,826.
Studies have repeatedly found the United States’ mostly-privatized healthcare system has higher administrative costs than systems in industrialized democracies. A 2018 study found that administrative costs of care accounted for 8% of healthcare spending in U.S, compared to 1% to 3% in the other countries. The existing Medicare program, on the other hand, has had administrative costs consistently stay below 2% – far less expensive than our mostly privatized system, and in line with the costs of other countries’ national health systems. If we replace an inefficient system run by big private insurance companies with Medicare-for-All, we would reduce costs across the board.
It is important to note as well that a Medicare-for-All system simply shifts the way we pay for healthcare in this country. Doctors, hospitals, and medical providers would remain independent. They also see the benefits of simplified billing and administrative overhead, rather than the byzantine private insurance company system we currently have.
It’s just common sense. And in addition to the savings in national health expenditures, families and small businesses would have more money in their pockets once we eliminate rising premiums and copays.
In 2016, the average family healthcare plan cost a total of $18,142, with the average American family paying $5,277 a year in premiums for private insurance. With Medicare-for-All, a family in Pennsylvania making the median family income in 2016 of $72,313 and taking the standard deduction would pay $1,733 a year in an income-based premium, amounting to a savings of over $3,500 per year.
I’d be proud to work with lawmakers in both parties to discuss how we transition to Medicare-for-All so every American, no matter how rich or poor, has access to the medical care we need.