Medicare For All

tracy & Rg in Belize

Tracy turns 65 in October, which of course means she’ll be eligible for Medicare.  We’ve been talking about the best way to go with that, Part A, Part B, Supplemental, and Medicare Advantage.

And we’ve been getting a lot of help.

Every week there are two or three flyers in the mail from insurance companies wanting to help us out, explain things.  Three times that we’ve been home we’ve had agents cold-calling at our door.  And she gets calls every single day, from all over the country, sometimes two or three.

What that tells me as a businessman is that there is a lot of money in selling health insurance. Companies aren’t going to send out flyers and agents if they weren’t planning to make money off of us, a lot of money.

My bias shows here, and I don’t mind a bit; health care is NOT an area where we are best served by the profit motive.  I’ve long been an advocate of a single payer, national health care system.

Insurance policies are not written to include health care; they are written to exclude liability if a person gets sick.  That’s just business with the blinders off.  Until Obamacare, they were not written for people who were already sick, those with pre-existing conditions.  Perish the thought we would cover sick people.  That does not make money.  So we have a system that generates an enormous profit that well serves the investors and the upper management.  It ill serves the poor and the ill.

Then comes this from The Nation, 31 July, 2018:

“The Koch brothers have invested billions of dollars in a decades-long campaign to turn public opinion against necessary reforms, such as the establishment of a single-payer health-care system in the United States.

But now a Koch brothers–supported project is making the case for the “Medicare for All” reform that has been championed by progressives such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

A working paper produced by the Koch-fundedMercatus Center at George Mason University, which examined the potential costs of the Medicare for All Act (M4A) that has been sponsored by Sanders, was released with much fanfare this week. It was immediately embraced by right-wing politicians who are close to the Kochs, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan, who tweeted an article on the study with the message: “$32.6 trillion dollars. That’s how much Washington Democrats’ single-payer healthcare proposal would cost over 10 years. Even doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes wouldn’t cover this cost. It is just absurd.”

Ryan is supposed to be the GOP’s “numbers guy.” But he missed the most important numbers in the study. While the speaker fixated on a prediction by the author of the working paper that the Sanders plan would raise federal health-care spending by roughly $32.6 trillion between 2022 and 2031, economists who actually read the report focused on a far more salient detail. On page 18 of the paper, in a section titled “Effects on National Health Expenditures and the Federal Budget,” came mention that under the Sanders plan “national personal health care costs decrease by less than 2 percent, while total health expenditures decrease by only 4 percent, even after assuming substantial administrative cost savings.”

Of course the spin doctors have been on overtime ever since this unfortunate development developed.

Right-wing head spinners, and even the author of the study point out the cost savings is predicated on the assumption of a 40% savings in costs, driven by government dictates.  They assume, and probably rightly so, that hospital administrators, insurance companies and well-paid minions in the field wouldn’t stand for such drastic cuts.  Well and good.

But what that means, is that those same people are assuming that the $32.6 trillion figure used is low by 40%.  That the $32.6 trillion cost would be born by the federal government instead of the population as a whole, I understand.  But what is real is that those arguing in favor of private, profitable health care, are arguing that it’s better for the population as a whole to have fewer people insured by 30-some million, and still pay 40% more trillion into private coffers.  

I would say that would indicate that investing in health care would be a great opportunity for those who want to make money without counting the human cost.

The surprising detail about Medicare for me was that I still have to pay.  For those thinking Medicare is about something for nothing, I would rebut that.  I receive some $964 per month in Social Security.  Before I ever receive it, $134 is deducted for Medicare. So it’s still a pay-as-you go system.  

You can go online and find backing for about anything you want, some of it true, some of it smoke and mirrors.

But for me, the truth is, I’m really not interested in being part of a system where people who are ill, through no fault of there own, or even because they’ve made some wrong decisions, are denied health care for economic reasons.  I think that we should care for our own.  Never mind the hair splitting of illegals, or indigents or single-family moms.   We really can afford it; and morally, if you believe in anything relative to helping those who might be less fortunate than you, we have that responsibility.  

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