BAILEY T. STEEN | THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2018
The Koch brothers power can only extend so far. Often labeled as the billionaire right-wing’s alternative to George Soros, frequently accused of having involvement in every sinister political plot under the sun, a new study from the libertarian minded Mercatus Center at George Mason University has been making MSM headlines for screaming projects that “Medicare-For-All” would cost the American people $32.6 trillion over the next decade.
This headline, intended to shock the public, is a concerning figure when presented without all the evidence. Nobody, aside from your classic marxists to larping alt-right nazis, oppose the idea of reasonable spending regarding healthcare. If you’re drinking partisan media from Fox News to Breitbart, even neutrality biased media like The Associated Press, perhaps this reality isn’t so evident. But remember, just because you do not take an interest in the facts, that doesn’t mean the facts won’t take an interest in you.
According to a new report from The Intercept, this projection is quite literally “old news”. While it does have the backing of the Republican donor Gods themselves, this number is consistent with several centrist projections which spawned during the 2016 presidential election cycle and onwards. I would argue this number isn’t even the real news story. What these headlines fail to mention is this crucial update: the study, from former Bush administration economist Charles Blahous, made the argument the Medicare-For-All system would actually reduce current U.S. healthcare spending by $2 trillion.
This is the same institution known for radically libertarian beliefs that cuts to Social Security retirement are required for some economic utopia. They once hailed themselves as the “Center for the Study of Free Market” while the Kochs, known for gerrymandering teachers at the institution, aren’t influencing forces on academia. The framing of Blahous’ study is pretty down the line conservative, suggesting this $32 trillion for universal healthcare can only be achieved through massive increase in federal spending and tax hikes. This also assumes that Democrat governments, even under the progressive social democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), won’t cut or decide to reallocate the funds of certain programs under their reign.
The study, examined by economists and healthcare policy experts such as Ernie Tedeschi, David U. Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, actually shows Medicare-For-All is also the more fiscally responsible case given it reduces U.S. spending by lowering payments to doctors and hospitals to Medicare rates compared to the private sector. In their own written analysis for The Intercept, Himmelstein and Woolhandler also estimate the government would save $8.3 trillion over 10 years in administrative costs alone. Their estimate takes Blahous’ $32.6 trillion to $24.3 trillion.
“The Mercatus Center’s estimate of the cost of implementing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act (M4A) projects outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignores vast savings under single-payer reform, and fails to even mention the extensive and well-documented evidence on single-payer systems in other nations — which all spend far less per person on health care than we do,” Himmelstein and Woolhandler told The Intercept.
Even under the worst case scenario, illustrated by the right-wing mortal enemies of Sen. Sanders, the plan is more cost effective than giving for-profit insurance the monopoly. Universal healthcare allowing government to act as competition to the private sector, giving Americans the alternative of using their tax dollars to replace the premiums they take out of their paycheques. Sen. Sanders, in sarcastic fashion, immediately thanked the despised conservative mega-donors, “of all people”, for “accidentally making the case for the Medicare-For-All” system in their anti-Medicare analysis.
His full statement:
The argument behind Medicare does require large amounts of spending. Sanders and his supporters don’t pretend it’s so cheap it’ll be a blip on the economic radar. But it’s more than just a moral argument that citizens, regardless of their background, shouldn’t be afraid to go to the doctor or call an ambulance because of their poverty status — which isn’t the case in public servants who share their same phone number like police and firefighters.
Humanists see the Harvard statistics that 45,000 Americans die every year because of their lack of basic coverage and see a moral failing. Even if you’re the most heartless conservative in the deep red South, this should also be viewed as a gigantic economic failing. Just imagine the impact saving over 450,000 people over 10 years does to help stabilise budgets, reduce debts and deficits accumulated across time, help fund things like the military, let alone being fit enough to serve in the military for the nation’s sovereignty, at a lower cost than the U.S. already pays.
How can you afford not to pay for that?
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet™ on occasion.
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Cheers, darlings!! 💋