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?


Government loyalty

We live in fascinating times.  We are outraged by government incursions into our corner of the Grand Database, while at the same time we cheerfully surrender any and all information about ourselves for a 10% discount at Best Buy.  In fact, we seem to be outraged by almost anything the government does these days, up to and including holding public trials to determine someone’s guilt or innocence, which we now seem to be convinced are contrived and predetermined whenever they fail to conform to our own conclusions.  These conclusions, of course, are based on what information we could glean from the news media, which we firmly believe are utterly untrustworthy, with notable exceptions, which I’ll discuss momentarily..

How has it come about that we offer up the most bizarrely intimate details of our lives daily on Facebook, yet man the barricades when it transpires that some government agency might have been reading them?  Or cough up our phone numbers and email addresses on demand when checking out at Home Depot for no apparent reason?

Well of course, you say, no point in getting a loyalty card, and then clamming up about it, is there?  There’s a sacred bond involved, similar to the bond that ties us to certain news outlets, those we are sworn to believe regardless of the absurdity of their dispatches.  Therein lies a glimmer of hope for resolving this crisis of confidence.

Government loyalty cards.  Get a loyalty card, and get a discount when you present it at tax time.  Pay more taxes, get a bigger discount.  We’d even get special offers in the mail, both snail and e, for holiday sales tax rebates, or jury duty aboard a luxury cruise ship, half price if you volunteer immediately.  All of this can be easily paid for by adjusting the “normal” tax rates for those who don’t have loyalty cards.

We might believe everything the government tells us, as we do with Fox News or The Guardian, if we thought of them as our tribe.  We might even believe government policies are based on the moral code of humanitarianism.