By Kevin Zeese
We need to hold dishonest billionaires accountable and tell the truth — we can afford National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA). The people are right. The billionaires are wrong.
The three billionaires who are running for president put out false information on improved Medicare for all. This includes Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, and Howard Schultz. Bloomberg and Schultz need immediate attention because in the last few days they have been putting out the false claim that the US cannot afford Medicare for all when the facts are it will save trillions of dollars over the next decade compared to the current expensive and wasteful system. What we cannot afford is the current system.
Bloomberg made a tour through New Hampshire yesterday where he slammed a Medicare for All proposal floated by 2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), saying the country could “never afford” replacing the employer-offered health care system in its entirety.
Howard Schultz claimed Medicare for all “would bankrupt us for a very long time.” He does not want to see the private insurance industry replaced by national public insurance, saying, “That’s not correct, that’s not American. What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?”
They were responding to Kamala Harris correctly saying that under improved Medicare for all, people would be on nationwide public insurance and private insurance would not be allowed to duplicate the coverage of Medicare. She pointed out that this would mean that doctors would no longer have to get approval from private insurance for their medical decisions.
The billionaires have their facts wrong. This article by Drs. Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein and Adam Gaffney in The Nation concludes that trillions of dollars and thousands of lives would be saved by NIMA. They rely in part on a study funded by other billionaires, the Koch brothers, that attempted to show Medicare for all was too expensive, but in fact found it would save two trillion dollars over a decade.
The article by Woolhandler, Himmelstein and Gaffney thoroughly reviews the Blahous study and documents where it underestimates the tremendous savings of Medicare for all system. They point out that Medicare for all “would relieve households of the $7.7 trillion they’d pay for premiums and $6.3 trillion in out-of-pocket costs under the current system.” New taxes on families would be less than these what people are paying now for health care and under NIMA. all people would be covered for all necessary care.
While billionaires worry about their wealth, many people in the United States are suffering for lack of necessary health care, even those who have health insurance. I received the story below from a friend this morning.
“The hormone suppressant drug that I needed to control my cancer was not covered under my SILVER ACA plan, which I got as soon as it was available in 2014. That medication cost $3,000/dose, administered quarterly. I was responsible for all of it, and some doses were by economic necessity skipped. As a consequence, my disease was not treated as aggressively as it should have been. I was unable to treat it as it should have been treated for three years, until I could get onto Medicare. The result is that I have incurable cancer, the equivalent of Stage IV, and I’m enduring chemotherapy just to buy a few more years. The misery I have endured since my last chemo treatment about 10 days ago reminds me each day of what a heartless deception the ACA has been.”
The ACA did not solve our healthcare crisis. We need National Improved Medicare for All.