The Koch Brothers funded a study on Medicare for All that the media jumped on and spun without reading. Huge headlines about the cost over 10 years (But, of course, the headline does not say over 10 years).
The Study, in fact, FAVORS MEDICARE FOR ALL!
Even a Koch brothers-funded attempt to trash Medicare for All can't hide the truth: Medicare for All will lead to a $2 TRILLION REDUCTION in national health expenditures over 10 years.
That’s trillion with a “T.” https://t.co/eOfd29cDoa
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 30, 2018
But as Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project notes—though absent or buried in much of the initial reporting—even the Koch brothers’ numbers, which Sanders says are vastly inflated, demonstrate that the “U.S. could insure 30 million more Americans and virtually eliminate out-of-pocket healthcare expenses” while saving “a whopping $2 trillion” in the process.*
“At first glance, it is strange that the Mercatus center…would publish a report this positive about Medicare for All,” writes Bruenig.
“The claim that ‘even the Koch organizations say it will save money while covering everyone’ provides a useful bit of rhetoric for proponents of the policy,” he adds. “But the real game here for Mercatus is to bury the money-saving finding in the report’s tables while headlining the incomprehensibly large $32.6 trillion number in order to trick dim reporters into splashing that number everywhere and freaking out.”
“Even if you take the report’s headline figures at face value, the picture it paints is that of an enormous bargain,” Bruenig concludes. “We get to insure every single person in the country, virtually eliminate cost-sharing, and save everyone from the hell of constantly changing health insurance all while saving money. You would have to be a fool to pass that offer up.”
Update I: moolah62 in the comments said Slate did a good job on this. Here’s a snippet and link:
But as economist Ernie Tedeschi noted on Twitter this morning, Blahous’ report also shows that total U.S. health care spending would fall by about $2.05 trillion during that time period, even as all Americans would finally have insurance, because the plan would reduce payments to doctors and hospitals to Medicare rates (which are lower than what private insurance pays) while saving on prescription drug costs and administrative expenses.
This is the entire argument Sanders and his supporters make for single payer. They don’t pretend it’s not going to cost a lot of money. Rather, they argue that it only seems expensive if you look at its effect on the federal budget alone. Families are already paying money through their insurance premiums. Wouldn’t it be better if there weren’t premiums, and families paid some portion of that money as taxes instead? Then the federal government could use its power to keep health care costs down, which would, in the end, save the families and businesses money, and ensure coverage for all.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.