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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/14/20

CBO Report Shows Medicare-for-All Costs Less Than Previously Thought

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If there is anything the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic fiasco has exposed, it's our societal inequities.

When it comes to public health, the most obvious inequity lies in the reality that we spend the most money on healthcare--20% of our national income--of any Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country on the planet, yet we are not the healthiest country.

Most countries offer healthcare as a human right to all its citizens.

But of the 25 wealthiest nations, the United States is the only one that fails to do this.

The response opponents to a Medicare-for-All-type single-payer national healthcare system similar to what Canada practices is, "We can't afford it," or "How do we pay for it?"

Interestingly, though, that question is seldom if ever proposed whenever we feel the need to increase the military budget, print money to provide $2 trillion in economic relief to keep corporations afloat, dole out perpetual subsidies to the world's most profitable corporations, or permanently cut taxes on those same corporations and their overlords to the tune of $1.5 trillion.

Those who complain "We can't afford it" are often the same who also boast about us being the richest nation in the world.

But they can't have it both ways.

The "We can't afford it" argument is, of course, a lie.

We have always been able to afford to provide every man, woman, and child born in this country healthcare as a human right.

Now a new report out of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week illustrates that, not only could we always afford it, but Medicare-for-All could cost even less than what the most ardent Medicare-for-All advocates propose.

According to the progressive think tank People's Policy Project founder and president, Matt Bruenig, who characterized the report "more exhaustive than any other recent study on the subject":

Modeling the cost of a single-payer program is relatively straightforward. You begin with the status quo healthcare system and then make educated guesses about the following questions:

    1. How many more units of healthcare services will be demanded and supplied when price barriers are removed?
    2. How much more efficient will health insurance administration be after the enrollment and payment systems are radically simplified?
    3. How much money will be saved by reducing the payment rates for healthcare providers and drug companies?

Upon the several single-payer models researchers examined, four fully implemented by 2030 would save the country from $42 billion to $743 billion in just that year.

The model closest to the Medicare-for-All framework most advocates support is based on low payment rates and low cost sharing, producing $650 billion in savings in 2030.

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)

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