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October 29, 2018 - 10:22am

Today's Poll: Do you support Medicare-for-all?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Howard B. Owens
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I always want to ask the people who support it: How do you propose we pay for it?

I always want to ask the people who oppose it: What's your better plan to make health coverage affordable and accessible for everybody?

Daniel Norstrand
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Cut the military budget in half. Good start.

Tim Miller
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https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/399715-new-study-ignites-debate-ov...

Basically, per the study, Govt costs would be higher, but overall healthcare costs would be lower. Restructure the tax structure to pay for it. (yes - that is a gross oversimplification of what would need to be done)

I am not proclaiming Medicare for all is the best way to go - Howard just asked a question that I am answering.

Howard B. Owens
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The Hill article doesn't really tell me how expenses are reduced and that's one of my main concerns about any single-payer system.

The reason health care costs are so high are not because of insurance companies (not directly) but because of other market inefficiencies. We don't have enough doctors and enough hospitals (supply and demand -- less competition leads to higher prices). Where insurance comes in is the employer mandate creates a principle-agent problem where it' not the receiver of the service making the purchase decisions and this leads to information asymmetry where the customer isn't making fully informed decisions. This allows rent-seeking by insurers and medical providers (rent -- income above earned profits). This isn't a problem with insurance, per se, but with the process and the system.

So, if we don't address the underlying structural problem of market inefficiencies, costs will keep going up and that will eventually bankrupt the nation.

Artificially capping costs, which might seem logical in a system with rent-seeking, can have unintended consequences, since it's not a market-efficient mechanism, which could lead to a decline in care quality and shortages of services.

Which is why I ask the question -- I'm not convinced "Medicare for all" proponents have fully thought through their idea.

As for cutting military spending, our partisan party system isn't particularly good at making asymmetrical trade-offs.

Eric Dunn
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When you say "Medicare for all" are you referring to our current medicare system where you pay a premium for Part B, A premium for Part D (prescriptions) and also a premium for supplemental to cover what Medicare does not?
Or are you talking about "Universal Health Care" which is totally funded by taxpayers?

Tim Miller
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Howard - one of the frustrating assumptions the Hill article makes is that the current Medicare payment rate would be in effect for all healthcare payments. FactCheck.org notes that this might not be a valid assumption.

I'm all for universal health care (Canadian style)... but I am not sure the Medicare for all model will work. It'd be nice if all parties got together to discuss real solutions (whatever those might be)

Daniel Norstrand
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I agree Howard that our politicians are bad at "trade-off's," and in fact that it's a major understatement to say. They are very bad at cutting unnecessary expenditures anywhere and in any way. The fact that you didn't attack the idea leads me to believe that you think that cutting the military budget is an acceptable idea. And, if so please express that. It's a very unpopular idea to many because they either have skin in the game, or they are "persuaded" to the need for such inane and insanely huge expenditures. The more it's pointed out and discussed, the better chance of stemming the flow. And consequently funding for things that enhance life rather than detract life will be available.

Howard B. Owens
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I don't believe in foreign intervention and unnecessary military spending and that seems a prime place to cut spending (though, I did agree with Trump's campaign promise to modernize the nuclear arsenal -- I'd rather have no nukes but if we're going to have them, the system should be up to date -- but that doesn't seem to be happening.

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