A conversation between Opponents and Supporters of Medicare for All: Facts and Myths.
From time to time I engage with people who oppose Medicare for All, most of those conversations really go nowhere because those opposing Medicare for All simply call me: Communist, Socialist, Libtard, Fool, or all of the above. Exposing those conversations is useless, as they do not provide any insight as to the thought process that opponents to Medicare for All have.
Then there are however, occasions where those opposed to Medicare for All, make their case, which becomes useful to address, as it shows the level of misinformation, and misconception that has led them to BELIEVE Medicare for All would not work.
Below is the final exchange of one of such debates, it highlights the level of misinformation that opponents have of Medicare for All, related to its costs, coverage, and intent.
Opponent to Medicare for All: “First of all, you make no reference to the fact that in the vast majority of “young people,” their EMPLOYER is picking up most of the cost of their premiums. If everyone has Medicare, the MAIN burden does NOT shift to these young workers but to the EMPLOYERS.”
Proponent of Medicare for All: You are right in that the Employer burden of the current system is high, in fact in 2016 employers paid an average of $12K in private health insurance premiums, for a family of four who makes 50K a year.
Under the Senate version of Medicare for All, Employers would pay a 7.5% payroll tax, which translates to $3.7K, or about $9K savings A YEAR for that employee. In fact there are additional provisions in which any business will pay either 75% of what they currently pay for healthcare costs OR the 7.5% payroll tax, whatever is the highest. Which translates to a de facto 25% discount over their current expenditures.
In addition, an employer’s first 2 million in payroll are except from this premium which protects and encourages small businesses.
Opponent to Medicare for All: “Simply put, you are INCREASING the cost of running a business due to more expensive health insurance. Sure, those “healthy people” contribute something. It will NEVER be as much as their employer is contributing.
And how do you think they will adjust for that? Lay off workers, eliminate positions, pay them less.”
Proponent of Medicare for All: As the Senate version of Medicare for All indicates, the healthcare costs of running a business decrease by 25% AND small businesses (less than 2 million in payroll) do not have to pay the premium. This policy in fact encourages entrepreneurs to create more jobs, unlike tax cuts which do not translate to increased economic output.
Opponent to Medicare for All: “Do you know how much a person has to pay for COBRA Health insurance? This is what they pay if they want to continue to participate in their employer health plan after they are laid off and while they are receiving unemployment benefits.
Often the cost is too much to afford. Nearly all of their unemployment compensation will be used to pay for it.”
Proponent of Medicare for All: Yes, COBRA is an extremely expensive insurance, that mainly serves the purpose to allow employees with pre-existing conditions to continue any kind of coverage. But as Medicare for All becomes in effect, this program completely disappears as it becomes redundant.
Opponent to Medicare for All: “This is to say nothing of the fact that “all” implies that even those long-term unemployed (most of them homeless if they live in high-cost-of-living states like Hawaii) will be covered under this plan. They are often the “sickest” in society REGARDLESS of age.
Have we done the math yet?”
Proponent of Medicare for All: And you realize that Medicare and Medicaid are programs that currently exist and in fact they target exactly that population that you described? That’s exactly the problem with the current system. The government takes the sickest people, the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, and the private insurance takes the young/healthy population. They make a profit of the lower-cost-to-serve population, and then the government pays for the more-expensive-to-cover population. The thing is, we ALL at some point are going to belong to the latter category, nobody can remain young and healthy all their life.
That’s how you do the math, you remove the profits from private insurance, the marketing budgets, and the administrative costs of multiple plans, and with a single payer system you provide healthcare at a lower overall cost to ALL your citizens. It is not wishful thinking, it is a matter of statistics, probabilities, risk pools, and return on investment.
Opponent to Medicare for All: “Finally, this absurd assumption you make that ONLY working age people and their dependents are covered under private insurance is simply not true. HMSA is just one of many providers that ALREADY offer NUMEROUS Medicare plans to retirees.”
Proponent of Medicare for All: Yes, just like the ACA which is a monster of a program that allows healthcare insurance companies to exist, there are Medicare Advantage plans, in addition to the original Medicare.
Those plans offer different kinds of benefits, and let private insurance companies add additional costs to the medicare system. But that’s the goal of Medicare for All, to cover a large number of basic services, so that the need of supplemental insurance is reduced to “fancier hospital rooms, and cosmetic procedures”, and not actual healthcare procedures.
Opponent to Medicare for All: “Perhaps when you have TRULY done the research (as you suspiciously claim) you will have more compelling statistics to share.
For now, I would advise a little less boastfulness and more study to prove your points (if you can). “
Proponent of Medicare for All: Yes I have shown your superficial and erroneous understanding of what the Senate version of Medicare for All provides and costs. Do you want to double check everything I said? you are welcome to review the source data by yourself.
The intention of this article is to address the concerns that those opposed to Medicare for All have. As polls indicate, the idea is gaining momentum, and I believe it is because people are realizing its benefits. It the the job of all of us who support Medicare for All, to engage the public, address their concerns and explain how the Senate version of Medicare for All, can lower costs, provide better outcomes, and serve as a policy that encourages more small businesses. That’s the goal of good government, to enable its population to contribute to the success of this great nation.
Current Medicare for All choices
Senate version of how to pay for Medicare for All.
Healthcare costs per capita.
US pays more for healthcare with worse patient outcomes.