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Medicare for all: too expensive?

In a word, not even close.

Let’s check this out, using some of the same figures that have been bouncing around lately.  Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All (MFA) proposal, reported CNN in 2017, would cost $1.3 trillion per year.

Wow, that’s a lot! Isn’t it? Let’s break it down.  There are approximately 157,288,000 Americans in the work force in 2019. $1.3 trillion, then, comes to roughly $8,900 per taxpayer, assuming that the entire cost of MFA will be borne by working people paying taxes.

About 55.4% of employed Americans are covered by health insurance provided by their employers, which accounts for 8.5% of wages for these people. The national average annual income, excluding benefits,is $46,800.  That’s a cost to the employer of $4,212 per year per employee.

If you’re a working American that’s a part of your compensation that you don’t normally see, but you can bet your employer does.

So, let’s get back to the cost of MFA, $8,900. If the money your employer pays for your health insurance were simply shifted to financing MFA, it would cover almost half of the cost.

So, what about the rest of it?  Well, the rest of it can be covered by the 44.6% of working people whose employers do not pay for their health insurance, and who therefore must pay for their own insurance, and you can bet that they pay a hell of a lot more for the same coverage than do employers.  The average cost of all private health insurance in 2019 is about $7,000.  Even accounting for the free spirits who would rather risk going broke than buy insurance, it’s more than enough to offset the remaining cost of MFA in increased taxes.

Of course, the entire cost could be offset by simply rescinding the recent Republican tax cuts, which benefit primarily the ultra rich, amounting to $2.3 trillion. But that’s off the table.

Or is it?


4 thoughts on “Medicare for all: too expensive?

    • Exactly. We prioritize profits. Somehow, we (the unwashed masses) have convinced ourselves that we’re not poor, just temporarily short of funds, and the last thing we want is to dry up the font of wealth before we get a chance to drink from it. The strange thing is that a national health plan would actually benefit corporations, which would no longer be required to foot the bill for health care. Excepting, of course, the health insurance industry itself.

  1. On the healthcare issue, I am not an expert on this, and should read more. I do think that after fighting so hard to get Obama’s diluted ACA through, and managing to stave off Republican efforts to remove it, running on platforms which call for a completely different plan, which may or may not be achievable or workable, is not a path to winning back the country.

    • Ah, yes, that’s the rub. I find it hard to read the electorate these days. No one thought Trump would even come close in 2016. I don’t think things are any clearer for 2020. What I wanted to make clear is that the cost of MFA is not a barrier.

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