Monday, July 30, 2018

Study: ‘Medicare for all’ projected to cost $32.6 trillion over ten years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center.

That’s trillion with a “T.”

The latest plan from the Vermont independent would require historic tax increases as government replaces what employers and consumers now pay for health care, according to the analysis being released Monday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. It would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, the analysis found.

Sanders’ plan builds on Medicare, the popular insurance program for seniors. All U.S. residents would be covered with no copays and deductibles for medical services. The insurance industry would be relegated to a minor role.

“Enacting something like ‘Medicare for all’ would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government,” said Charles Blahous, the study’s author. Blahous was a senior economic adviser to former President George W. Bush and a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare during the Obama administration.

Responding to the study, Sanders took aim at the Mercatus Center, which receives funding from the conservative Koch brothers. Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch is on the center’s board.

“If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same,” Sanders said in a statement. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a ‘Medicare for all’ program.”

Sanders’ office has not done a cost analysis, a spokesman said. However, the Mercatus estimates are within the range of other cost projections for Sanders’ 2016 plan.

Read the rest here.


Michael Martin said...

As far as I am concerned, there is no use debating how U.S. medical care is funded, until the elephant in the room is addressed. That "elephant" is COST.

Here is a revealing (and utterly damning) graph to illustrate what I am talking about (total health care spending per capita vs. average life expectancy).

NOTE: This is a logarithmic scale graph so the discrepancy is even more dramatic than you see.

The U.S. spends 3 to 4 times per capita on medical care than other developed countries, yet the public health outcomes are no better. Why is this? I can answer in one word.


The medical, pharmaceutical and insurance rackets routinely engage in collusion, price fixing, discriminatory pricing and other practices which have been illegal in the U.S. for well over a hundred years. Until and unless we have Federal prosecutors with the titanium stones enough to go after these racketeers with the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts, the Patman-Robinson price fixing and collusion acts, and the RICO statute, there can be no satisfactory solution to the "health care crisis" in the U.S.

All that Obamacare did, was to preserve the rackets in place, and demand that everyone purchase insurance policies, at whatever price the racketeers chose to charge, under penalty of law.

I remember the S&L fiasco of the 1980's, in which hundreds of banking executives were sentenced to lengthy terms in Federal penitentiaries. The same thing needs to happen in this case. We need to see lots and lots of high-profile "perp walks." Should that happen, I predict that medical costs will plummet by 80 percent or more.

Once that happens, then Americans of all political persuasions can have a national debate about how medical care should be funded - not before.

unreconstructed rebel said...

To the point. I have no idea why the Democrats, always the Single Payer crowd, bought into the ACA. All it does is support prices & make work for a ton of third parties that have nothing to do with the health of the patient.

lannes said...

Want to know what government health care looks like? Visit your nearest VA hospital.

123 said...

And Medicare-for-All would lower administrative and drug costs by $2 trillion, so it would coat the country less while providing healthcare for 30 million more Americans.

123 said...

According to the throw away lines in the same Koch-funded report.

Michael Martin said...

"Want to know what government health care looks like? Visit your nearest VA hospital."

Sigh(!) I realize I am probably talking to a brick wall here, but I'll give this a go anyway.

One more time! Please look at the graph I posted above. Life expectancy is a good proxy for overall public health. All other things being equal, the healthier you are, the longer you live.

Salient data from this chart, in terms of life expectancy:

U.S.A. 78.7 years
Australia 82.0 years
New Zealand 80.9 years
Canada 81.3 years
Japan 82.8 years
United Kingdom 80.3 years
Netherlands 80.7 years
Italy 81.7 years

I could go on and on and on, but my point is made. If public hospital systems and taxpayer funded/subsidized medicine are so God-awful, then why do these countries have equal or greater life expectancies than the U.S.?

Yes, socialized (or semi-socialized) medicine CAN work quite well, and does in the countries I have cited. Can it work in the U.S.? That is a different question. In that regard, I have to share the pessimism of James Howard Kunstler in his article Racket of Rackets, in which he says:

"There are only two plausible arcs to this story. One is that the nation might face the facts and resort to the Single Payer system found in virtually every other nation that affects to be civilized. There is no other way to eliminate the deliberate racketeering. The other outcome would be the inevitable collapse of the system and its eventual re-set to a much less complex, cash-on-the-barrelhead, local clinic-based model with far less heroic high-tech interventions available for the broad public, but much more affordable basic care. Both outcomes would require jettisoning the immense overburden of administrative dross that clutters up the current model, with its absurd tug-of-war between the price-gouging hospital “Chargemaster” clerks and the sadistic insurance company monitors bent on denying treatment to their sick and hapless “customers” (hostages).

"Be warned: these represent tens of thousands of supposedly “good” jobs. Of course, they are “good” because they pay middle class wages, of which there are fewer and fewer elsewhere in the economy. But, they are well-paid because of the grotesquely profitable racket they serve. They’ve turned an entire generation of office workers into servants of criminal enterprise. Imagine the damage this does to the soul of our culture."

With that, "I rest my case, Your Honor." I will respond to reasoned rebuttals, based upon actual evidence. I will not respond to propaganda sound bytes, or cherry-picked horror stories which do not actually address the data I have cited. If you wish to refute my evidence, then address the evidence.

Good afternoon!

123 said...

unreconstructed rebel said...

123, the one factor that has driven up medical costs the most in this country is insurance, IMHO. When the medical industry knows that it will be paid, it can charge whatever it wants to.

Here is an experiment you can try. Declare that you have no insurance the next time you get medical service & you will be amazed at how much lower the bill will be.

lannes said...

If you think insurance company monitors are sadistic, wait until the death panels come knocking.