Medicare for All – How Can We Pay for It?

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Prof. Robert Pollin and Michael Lighty discuss the findings of a new study by the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst. The study finds Medicare for All could reduce total healthcare spending by 10 percent, while creating stable access to good care and improving the health of all U.S. residents

The Study:

The dialogue at the Sanders Institute Gathering: In Dialogue at the Sanders Institute Gathering:

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Medicare for All – How Can We Pay for It?


58 thoughts on “Medicare for All – How Can We Pay for It?

    • As a retired person, my only source of income is the measly gain from the stocks I own in my IRA. At the rate things are going – the bear market and rising costs of living & healthcare – I probably will have enough to live on for another 5 to 8 years. Why would you want to punish people like me? A better solution would be a progressive tax where the top 1% shoulder a bigger burden for a more equitable society.

    • +Ara Gregorian You can trade stocks on your own. YOu may be holding out to get full social security payments but remember that is a choice. Taxing work higher than investments creates the reality that people should be investing instead of working.

  1. Or we can have México pay for i along with the wall. This is a joke please don’t get trigger I’m for Sanders proposal.

  2. Our healthcare system is a bigger threat to national security than terrorists ever were. We can maintain a comparatively strong military and shift excessive expenditures provided to the imperialist project and use it to save lives on the home front where the most lives are being lost. Theres already a war going on within our borders and its about time we dealt with it.

  3. Economics professor *Stephanie Kelton* answers the question of *”How we pay for it”* and dispels the disinformation and myths surrounding “National Deficit” and the “National Debt” that has been erroneously parroted from the economically and monetary illiterate by both Republican and Democrat politicians over the last 40 years. Stephanie Kelton served as chief economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee (Democratic staff) in 2015 and as a senior economic adviser to *Bernie Sanders’s* 2016 presidential campaign:

  4. When *Republican* and *Neoliberal* politicians say: *”But how are you going to pay for it?”* It’s simple, we “pay for it” the same way the CONGRESS paid for the $800-billion defense authorization program — congress VOTED that economic *policy/funds* into existence — and WITHOUT raising a single cent in new federal taxes. You’ve never heard that we need to increase federal taxes in order fund our military budget. It passes every year no matter what — whether our federal government has enough taxes coming in to “pay for it” or not. We “pay for it” the same way the majority in CONGRESS voted to pass Trump’s for $2-trillion tax cut program for the top 1% whether our federal government has enough taxes coming in to “pay for it” or not. Our Federal taxes do not fund our federal spending.

    *Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that congress mint (create funds) and tax to provide for the general welfare of society.*

    This is the real practical application of what a New Deal spending program for American working class would look like in 2020 and beyond, if Article One, Section Eight of our constitution were implemented for good of its whole society, and not just for the few 1% kleptocrats, oligarchs and war profiteers at the top.

    There are plenty of federal funds available for policy programs like Medicare-for-all, if our elected representatives in congress only had the bold political will and courage–like F.D.R. did–to step up to the plate and make it happen.
    #MedicareForAll #Bernie2020

    • The problem now is the definition of words; common Defence and general Welfare of the United States, You have to look into the founders writings for what is Defence and general Welfare meaning, defence is not for invading other nations, and welfare does not mean feed the poor as it is written in the Constitution. The founding fathers are split on the meanings, and the supreme court has made the Welfare clause very thin over the years. The National debt is close to 21 trillion dollars and personal debt is not far behind, so you pay for any new programs basically by creating more debt, our money system is a debt money system and someday it will bite everybody.

    • 4390100 — Deficit Hawks like Paul Ryan and PAYGO Pelosi have been spreading that stupid “Kicking the Can Down the Road” boogyman propaganda years and you keep buying their spooking campfire story while the 1% keep convincing you to live in austerity. You’re their favorite kind of fool and mark.

    • +Cyril O’ReillyNope, Ryan and Pelose both vote for spending, you must be thinking of different people, they both help to kick the can down the road. Pelosi is too stupid to have any propaganda worth listening to, and as for Ryan, well he’s out for Ryan. What I want is for the Federal government to go into austerity, perhaps keeping it shut down would be the best case, and let congress go on vacation for say a year or two, along with the IRS and most of the alphabet agencies. Deficit Hawks, that’s really funny simpleton.

  5. “It’s not clear to me the taxes need to go _up_ [to pay for single payer] because we have no idea—nobody has actually looked at this and said, suppose that we downsize the insurance industry so much, as we transition to a single payer, that there are massive job losses and dislocations in the economy. We’re going to lose a lot of people who are currently working in the insurance industry, doing other things for health care administratively and so forth. Those people aren’t going to be doing that work and that means a drag on GDP. Now is there going enough other economic activity to replace it so that the economy continues to grow? Or *might we actually need to cut taxes* because this new program is going to be so cost-saving that it’s going to take demand out of the economy? I think that’s possible. *We might in fact need tax cuts to pay for single payer.* ”

    —Stephanie Kelton on _Citations Needed_ podcast (at 54.20), “Episode 11, Part 1: The Deficits Racket – Single Payer Propaganda War,” 27 September 2017

    • Jeff W I can give you an example of what happens in The Netherlands in the insurance industry. You still have insurance companies, but they compete for business by sectors. There may be a small job loss because there is no more need for a middle man. You don’t see any medical bills, they’re all between the physician and the insurance company.
      The USA could end up being the best because it’d include dental.

    • +Nancy Mesek The Netherlands uses the Bismarck model which relies on heavily-regulated insurance companies. That adds some administrative conplexity but the _real_ problem is that, in the US, there will very likely be the threat of “creeping neoliberalism”—it will be a perpetual battle against the insurance companies resisting and circumventing the regulations. It’s better in the US to rely on private health insurance for as little as possible, even less than Canada does.

      (And that observation by Prof. Kelton is not really about the insurance companies _per se_ — it’s about the use of tax policy to boost or slow down the economy; its not necessary for the US government to get tax revenue to “pay for” single payer or _anything,_ according to MMT.)

    • Jeff W You’ve got a solid point about how American insurance companies would try to find ways to buck the system, then again, why not highly regulate in America? But you and I know that’d never fly and Republicans would scream, ‘big government’, louder than ever.

    • @Jeff W Unemployed corporate death panels are a good thing, they live off the suffering and death of Americans.

      Obviously your IQ test came back negative dimwit.

    • @Nancy Mesek The GOP hypocrites love “big GUBMIT” when it comes to the MIC and giving away taxpayers money in endless corporate welfare to the fossil fuel terrorist industry.

  6. What a stupid question. You pay for it the way everything is paid for at the federal level — Congressional appropriation. Come on TRNN, you’re smarter than this.

  7. I will tell you exactly how you pay for it Congress will authorize spending the United States federal government is the Monopoly issuer of the currency the United States federal government has granted unto itself the legal exclusive right to create an issue the dollar it can never run out of dollars that is an impossibility the United States is the Monopoly issuer of the currency Congress will authorize the spending that’s how you pay for Medicare for all that’s how you pay free college that’s how you pay for an entire Progressive agenda Congress will authorize the spending please learn proper economics professor Stephanie Kelton Bernie’s chief economic advisor learn mmt please

    • ddskreamer look I can’t make you see reason or logic and I’m not going to argue with you you will either see the truth or you won’t sup to you by

    • +Danny Windham I provided historical facts to back my argument. You print Monopoly money and that’s what you get…. worthless monopoly money.

    • +ddskreamer Hyperinflations are always a result of some extraordinary loss of productive capacity or debt denominated in a foreign unit of account. Not from “printing too much money”.

    • +vote for no. 6 Devaluation of currency through overprinting is why the US dollar is only worth .05 today. LOL Keynesian economics depends on inflation for stability. Hyperinflation is caused by thinking you can print your way out of debt.

    • vote for no. 6 you have much more patience then I do with these people why is reality so hard to accept good for you Each one teach one

  8. The studies by the conservative Mercatus Center and by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Amherst are the most comprehensive. And though these two analyses came from economists from opposite ends of the political spectrum, they share a similar finding: single-payer would reduce our nation’s healthcare spending bill by trillions of dollars over a decade (around $2tn and $5tn, respectively).

    How long will the economic elite and their bought politicos be able to ignore the good numbers & arithmetic before they capitulate to reason & reality?

    We don’t even have to reinvent the wheel, there are dozens of working models in other countries to emulate.

    • The savings come from……………… reducing services, increasing wait times by running physicians out of the system, and non-physicians deciding the treatments YOU DESERVE. What could possibly go wrong.?

  9. Please….taxes do NOT fund government expenditure. The U S Congress is the only legal source of US dollars. Learn #mmt and stop this ridiculous “how do we pay for it” nonsense..this ignorance keeps the 1% in power.

    • +BMC It’s not relevant where our tax dollars go? Huh, a person pays tens of thousands of dollars a year, and more, in taxes, but don’t worry where it goes. Interesting.

       From what I have seen about Modern Monetary THEORY, and to be honest I haven’t looked into it a whole lot, essentially, we print our own money so we can print whatever we need to fund whatever we need it for. What that is, is a continuation of our current sham of an economy. Our whole economy is a giant scam, a huge house of cards. Our money is supposedly backed by the Petro Dollar, pretty much why Saudi Arabia is such a necessary ally of ours, that, and the fact that the U.S. dollar was established as the world currency.. If the U.S. dollar as a world currency is dropped, our economy and country is going to be in for a world of hurt. Same thing if oil and fossil fuels eventually become depleted and/or replaced.

      Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadhafi were both attacked and removed from power, for threatening to start selling their oil for any currency someone wanted to buy it with other than the U.S. dollar. With more and more countries getting fed up with having to use the U.S. dollar, it’s pretty much only a matter of time that it stays as the world currency.

      A person can print money on their computer that doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. If you’re saying the U.S. dollar isn’t really worth anything, I agree with you.

    • +Stevo! The idea of peoples taxes paying for government function is based on responsibility. That doesn’t mean debt can’t be taken on to accomplish things like build and strengthen the country, Things that will pay the country back. The problem is, that’s the last thing our taxes are used for. A whole lot of the money we pay in taxes is going to people and industries that are the last to need money.

      And the idea of people thinking their taxes are paying for everything is wrong, can be used for pretty much everything other than taxes. The money people pay for insurance doesn’t just pay for them. When a person buys gas for their car, the tax they pay is supposed to be used for road maintenance and improvements, how much of it actually is?

      The truth of the matter is our money is pretty much based on nothing, Fiat Currency. So hey, lets just print away as much as we need.

    • +Ric Pel unless you take the time.e to educate yourself on how money is created into an economy, it is just not worthwhile continuing this discussion. No offence but your last reply couldn’t be crammed with more BS if you tried. I have sent you the link. In 1 hour or so, your head will clear and you will start making sense.

    • These guys maybe won’t argue with you too much about money being fictional, and that we should make this fiction a lot smarter, to serve the many and not the few… while of course protecting the fundemantal systems of providence – ecosystems for instance – from devastation… building a sustainable future economy… (which could help us to turn back from the precipice) … … etc … you may be knocking on open doors here…
      but I think you could easily find some closed doors to knock on…

    • +BMC First off, I sense we’re kind of on the same side, and I don’t have a problem necessarily with MMT, I just think there should be more responsibility, and no, I’m not some Republican lackey screaming the deficit, the deficit! Then again, there are more than a few so called Democratic politicians doing the same.

      I will certainly agree with you, I am no economist, but a person doesn’t have to be to realize our economy is broken and most people are getting screwed. True, it isn’t really very productive to squabble on YouTube or any other forum either. That said, referring to what I said as BS is amazing. If you don’t understand and realize what I said is what happened, and not according to me saying it, but by many other well informed people, I’m wondering how much you know about our monetary policy. And that isn’t meant as offensive either.

       Someone who DOES know a lot about economics, Professor Richard Wolff, pretty much agrees with you and the Modern Monetary Theory being useful, but also adds that while it can help, it’s not the actual answer to fixing our problems. Which is where I’m coming from. And while it’s called Modern Monetary Theory, it’s based on Chartalism, which was thought up at least 114 years ago.

  10. Nobody asks how we are going to pay for wars or building bombs!! That gets a blank check!! As soon as real tax payers get something then all of a sudden nobody can pay for that!! SMH

  11. No one ever asked how will it paid for when the Military Budget comes up, Military Interventions, and the CIA overthrowing foreign Governments. ANYTHING that improves the quality of life then you will hear THERE IS NO MONEY TO FUND IT.☠☠☠☠

  12. It’s paid for the same way the current system is, except instead of paying private for profit insurance companies we pay one provider nationwide. And the individual will probably pay less. Australia has medicare for all. It works.

    Private for profit insurance should go the way of the horse and buggy. Sure you can still have one if you like but it’s somewhat of a luxury unless you are Amish.

  13. We need to stop abiding by the intellectual immaturity of libertarian “unfettered capitalism” ideology! It’s been 40+years of rampant fraud and corruption! Enough already. Austerity kills.

  14. This is interview was fantastic. The existing failed system of neoliberal big pharma and healthcare insurance oligopolies is unsustainable.

    The numbers for Medicare For All provably work.

    It would, however, probably be best if Medicare For All was implemented as an amendment to the Constitution. Let’s make it the of the land, and move forward

    I know many Republicans and Libertarians will be against Medicare For All, but the alternative is to continue along in the existing system with ever increasing levels of exploitation and cost, decreased quality of care, and poorer healthcare outcomes.

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