Don't Believe the Hype: Paying for Medicare for All Is Simple

Bruenig, Matt

Publisher:  Jacobin
Date Written:  31/03/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23576

Debunking recent arguments that Medicare for All will require reducing spending in other areas.




Before 2014, there were no compulsory premiums. But in 2014, the Obamacare employer mandate and individual mandate took effect, which made virtually all private premium payments compulsory. When Obamacare was being debated in Congress, the Congressional Budget Office nearly declared that these compulsory private premiums would be counted as taxes and government spending (i.e. counted in the blue section, not the red section), but they ultimately decided not to score them that way for basically arbitrary reasons....

If the government does not take over all of the health spending by implementing Medicare for All, then that means the health sector will continue to depend on the money private individuals pump into it via compulsory premiums, voluntary premiums, and out-of-pocket expenses. In Drum’s piece, he says these private payments are around $1.9 trillion. If the health sector needs those $1.9 trillion to operate, then that money is not available for other uses. If the government is not going to tax those $1.9 trillion to use for Medicare for All, then it cannot tax them for any other purpose. The dollars have to be left in the hands of individuals and businesses so they can pump them into the health sector through the private channels.

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