Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for all proposal is right in principle. It’s flawed politically and economically. It is neither realistic nor fair. It’s also irresponsible in a larger sense: it ensures that Warren’s candidacy will not succeed at a time when a door knob should have the capabilities of defeating Donald Trump.
Warren is unnecessarily inviting criticism for herself and likely defeat for Democrats, assuming she makes it through the primaries, by proposing what, at best, a popular first-term president with a record of getting things done could submit ahead of her second term. It’s not the sort of radical proposal an untested, polarizing candidate makes in divisive times that beg for compromise to attain more urgent goals.
Health care is certainly an issue. But so is immigration. So is climate change. So is a budget deficit out of control. So is mass incarceration, mass inequality and a tax code channeling Calvin Coolidge’s love affair with Andrew Mellon. So is the collapse of America’s alliances, its deranged international relations and the disappearance of governance. This isn’t the time to remake the country’s economy, however justified the goal, let alone seize on one issue at the expense of all others. It’s a time for repairs.
Medicare for all of itself is not that radical. The pilot project has been in effect for 55 years.
It works, it works fairly, and it works far less expensively than the private insurance system, which is a form of indentured servitude for most of those who depend on it and deal with costly illnesses. So Warren’s goal is ultimately the right one. Opposing it on principle is not defensible. There are 60 million people on Medicare. Among them you’ll find the largely conservative bloc that opposes the extension of the program that benefits them. Their hypocrisy and selfishness is making a lot of people ill, or bankrupting them.
They love to claim that they’re not getting anything for free, that they’ve been paying for their medicare all their life. But of course they’re getting it much of it for free. As the Urban Institute calculated, the average male who retired at age 65 in 2010–the year the tea party’s anti-universal health care brigades came into their own–was getting $100,000 more in benefit than he paid in taxes. Younger people and yes, undocumented immigrants, are subsidizing you, old men (and women). But that’s how the system works: the working generation always subsidizes the retired. Nothing wrong with that. Just don’t pretend to be paying your own way while keeping younger people from getting the same health security you have. So it is immoral for anyone on Medicare to oppose its extension.
It’s also pointless to howl at the projected costs of the Warren plan of $20 trillion or likely much more over the next 10 years as somehow prohibitive. Those figures are irrelevant, because the existing Medicare system, Social Security and the private insurance system can all be made to seem monstrous and prohibitive over the next 10 years–and they are: the government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects annual health care spending of $6 trillion by 2027, a fifth of the national economy. (Military spending is just as monstrous and “unfunded,” but no one goes around claiming the Pentagon will be bankrupt in 10 years.)
For most of us private insurance is the most burdensome and regressive tax we pay, though it’s called premiums, deductibles, copays and out of pocket expenses. We’re the only western nation with such contradictions of insurance coverage as out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles, which make a mockery of insurance and essentially do little more than pad insurers’ stock dividends. In most of those other nations copays are nominal fees. By any measure, Medicare for all would cost less, I don’t mean us individually, though that’s certainly true, but it would less as a share of the economy, even if it would enlarge the size of government. Better a larger government than a gouging private sector.
But Warren is dishonest and wrong to claim the middle class will not pay a cent in her Medicare for all scheme. Dishonest, because sooner or later, directly or indirectly, no universal insurance system spares anyone. Wrong, because just as with existing Medicare, we must all pay if the system is to be fair and soundly paid for. Warren’s assault on the rich is not entirely misplaced. But it’s discriminatory. Of course the rich must pay more. But the rich must not be the only ones who pay. Barack Obama’s tax increases in 2009 were wrong for the same reason: they spared anyone making less than $200,000 a year. The rich have made out obscenely since the Reagan years, even more so in the Bush and Trump years. But we’re not a Robin Hood economy. Make the rich pay. But don’t punish them, and don’t sanctify the middle class as somehow exempt from its own social responsibilities. Progressive taxation works. Soaking the rich doesn’t.
Finally, Warren’s proposal of eliminating all private insurance, however appealing, is bonkers. It’s not necessary. Medicare for all should start with a public option that offers a better plan than any private insurance can, which wouldn’t be difficult, but without eliminating private insurance. Maybe over time that sort of Medicare for all will make private insurance obsolete. But forcing the issue is not the way. And the insurance cartel would never let it happen.
Warren’s plan is certainly more commendable than Republicans’ continuing catatonia on health care. But Warren’s starting point might as well be her epitaph on a Democratic gravestone. The country needs a politically realistic lifeline. Warren’s is not it.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.
These politicians should have the same health care coverage we all have, then we’ll see how fast everything changes.
@Before trump there was Barabbas – different day, same old…
Mr. Tristam, I agree. Our only hope is that the young will save their future – and forgive the rest of us. A small hope indeed.
The law of nature will have the final word. And it WILL be the last word.
Can ya be a little more biased? Smh..
Well the writer sure hit it on the head,when he or she made the reference to a door knob. (Your)Our president is going to run against the Democratic party. They have tried everything to tarnish him. And yet they keep failing. And when he wins the election again, it will definitely show that the Democratic party is as smart as a Door knob. So I’m glad to hear that liberal (border line fascist ) who writes nothing but his own views of politics. May have said a little bit of the truth. finally***TRUMP 2020***
NOPE He has done everything to tarnish himself. Only TRUMP to blame for his own problems.
I just bought a ” TRUMP / PENCE 2020 Make a Liberal Cry Again ” tee-shirt. And TWO MAGA Hats.
Bring on the elections !!!!!!
T. Loring says
Hooray for the USA! Elect idiots and bomb the world. Fascists?? Agitprop won’t do in 2020. Get rid of propaganda fomenters to return to decency. Fascist gov in Italy best thing that country had since Caesar was a pup. Bolshies there didn’t think so. Bolshies destroy competitors. Fascists in Italy merely tried to clean out their constipated stomachs! Castor oil a great remedy for clogged brains! And other areas as well. USA elections undemocratic. USA knows nothing about democracy. ‘College of cardinals’ aren’t elected and skew (screw?) everything. First past the post is the winner in most civilized countries. In USA? Tell it to the marines before they launch other killing campaigns.
The Realist says
Hey Pierre if a door knob has a better chance of beating President Trump then Pocahontas and seeing that Stalin and Mao are fortunately dead…… Who would be your next choice?
Pierre Tristam says
My first choice would be a bit more intelligence from commenters.
That arrogant remark reminds me of Hillary’s “deplorables” comments. Remember Flagler County went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016 (58% to 38%) and will so again in 2020. In your biased mind, probably too many of us “immoral” and unintelligent seniors on Medicare voting in Flagler.
Pierre Tristam says
I think I specified: selfish and immoral, yes. The lack of intelligence, and apparent poor literacy–or deplorable literacy, if you prefer–is reserved for the comment section.
The Realist says
Touché Count Chocula. If that went over your head……just listen to a recording of your voice and it will all make sense!
Given your door knob assertion, Pierre you should run.
Alphonse Abonte says
Lets hear from the Dems how THEIR candidate will make the economy, your 401k, immigration and any other way of life which in last 40 months have ignored. Wait, on November 4, Americans, again will elect the only person that had Americans in mind for the last four years. The Trumps will be in office for the next 16 years, Don Jr. till 2032, Ivanka,( first woman President!)till 2040. Then maybe, just maybe, the Dems might have a viable candidate. KAG!!!!
Dems are running out false narratives. The American public are tired of Dems wasting money and time , vote the Dems out.
Keep that DREAM alive. Now no meaningful Healthcare legislated, Trade War stopping Corps. around the World from investing and expanding, no Immigration Policy except an outdated inept Wall,( 10 Billion in today dollars),No MSMCA passed because of it and a Govt. shutdown looming for the SECOND time. The Mkts being propped by massive QE by Central Banks started near a decade before Donalds election, , interest rate manipulation by Central Banks around the World, and Stock buybacks. Yes Unemployment at or near all times lows with 1970s wages as adjusted for a mere 2% Inflation. Careful what you wish for cuz what goes up shall fall , EVEN Beethoven rolled over.
Douglas R Rose says
I thought your article was well written and very articulate. I was hoping for a more intelligent response from those that disagree.
youre all focused on 2 lines of the whole article. Youre missing the point.
L. Hen says
I agree with the plan of offering Medicare as an option rather than forcing everyone into the system as Warren and Sanders has proposed. I believe that if people really understood that if they got seriously ill while working, they would not be able to stay on payroll and they would ultimately lose their health insurance whether it was gotten via union bargaining or not, that Medicare is the only appropriate option for our nation. But to force people before they are ready to use some common sense is to provoke opposition. Eventually everyone will see that Medicare is in their best interests so it is just a matter of how do we fund it appropriately so that Medical Professionals and Providers get appropriate Reimbursement and not outrageous payments (prescription drugs) nor underpayments.
Wake up Pierre, Trump 2020
Health insurance IMO should be owned by the individual or family NOT dependent on a job or government .
Etta Watts says
Unless and until ALL government workers are on Medicare, this plan is just another way for the govt to push a single payer system up our butts, much like they did with obamacare’s 4000+ pages that they said they’d read and figure out once it was passed into law. No doubt the USA healthcare system is a mess, but Medicare for all or any other forced system is not the answer. The Dems don’t have a single candidate who can push such a far left agenda and get elected, so it’ll be another 4 yrs of Trump. How about working on common sense policies? There seems to be zero common sense in the Democratic Party, which is why I re-registered as an Independent. Besides the democrats’ insane agenda, not one of them can be trusted. Warren is a liar. Biden is a liar. The rest are polling so low nationally that they’re inconsequential. Republicans have no viable candidates, nor any bench strength, either. None of this bodes well for We, The People. But the media will easily keep all y’all distracted with trashy news. We, The People have no one to blame but ourselves for the disgraceful, utterly divided country we find ourselves in today. As sad as this might sound, we were better off (as humans), civilly speaking, on 9/12, the day nothing else mattered except helping each other.
Perhaps we’re at a point where it’s cheaper and arguably wiser to bank what would normally be a premium for healthcare.
With averages in the $1200/month range, discipline yourself enough to save and invest that money instead. Should the absolute worst happen, having cash in the bank goes a long long way with negotiations, and then there’s always the American bankruptcy system.
Given the economics, if you don’t have an employer covering a significant portion, then I’d say ditch the marketplace. Enough people do it and watch the rediculous untethered healthcare and drug costs fall accordingly.
As for anyone that supports DJ Trump, Boot Edge Edge once eloquently said… hopefully someday you’ll be reunited with your conscience.
Had a good friend do the said above and it worked out for him AND his wife. They were quite a bit older and gone now but they actually saved money.
How do the other countries do it. Starting with the neighbours to the north and going East to England, France, Sweden and you may name some many more.
Are they better funded? Maybe better organised?
Pierre Tristam says
In most critical regards, the United States spends by far the most on health dare, and has among the worst health outcomes of all western countries, including some of the worst access to care rates, according to the OECD. The notion that the United States provides the best health care in the world is a myth. It doesn’t lack for quality care of course, but it does not provide it–two very different things–unless you are in that rarefied privileged class to whom premiums and deductibles and the rest of it are chump change. Fore the rest of us, it’s a grimmer story. Of course, these are facts, so they’re completely irrelevant, idiotic, etc., since all we have to do is yell MAGA in goose-step formation and all will be fine. Praise be.
The uninformed cheer leading for a, at best, morally bankrupt corrupt human being is astounding .
John dolan esq. says
Pierre stop looking at life thru your rear view mirror. OK for the Health Insurance monopolies raking in billions in profits and don’t forget 69 billion with a B for the Pharmaceutical rat pack. We pay more than anyone and get less and less.
Lol. What a liberal load of crap. Get use to trump he will be in the White House till 2024. The dems. Have NO ONE who could beat trump. MAGA TRUMP 2020🇺🇸 KEEP AMERICA GREAT
Hard to believe that a democratic leaning media would dare say something poor about a democratic candidate. More of that stuff might lead to the democratic machine to stop supporting your bias reporting. Just reporting the news is the way it used to be. It seems the media has lost its way, same as both political parties.
Democrats are historic liars as are some republicans. So hearing what Pocahontas has in-store for her Medicare-For-All Plan and how she plans to pay for it is of course all LIES. After all Obama outright lied to the American people when he clearly stated you can keep your doctor with HIS affordable health care plan which for a majority of American people was another lie as it was NOT affordable. Plus it has become even LESS affordable.
Greg Jolley says
Thank you for the fine article and for sparking an important conversation.
Elizabeth Warren gonna be President? LMAO, not a chance…. and the rest of the Democrat field…? Again, LMAO. Good Luck though! TRUMP 2020
Jim O says
Funny stuff Pierre. I am a door nob supporter. I do find it amazing that the Dems can not find a suitable candidate to run against Trump. Actually, I find it hilarious. I can not wait until there is a nominee for the left. This will be the start of when Trump will crush them with a war chest waiting to produce some of the best ads to highlight just how dangerously wrong the Dems have acted since he was elected.
Indian Country says
The general populous makes too many bad choices affecting overall health. Consequently medicare for all would bankrupt the country. Also, it isn’t fair for those who take care of themselves to carry smokers, heavy drinkers and the obese. Take a look at this map showing global obesity levels. The U.S. is the most obese in the world. It may explain why universal healthcare works in other western countries. https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=bkgJSUD9&id=C70B1A07107A11AB9FD969298B271D4B5B3EE0D3&thid=OIP.bkgJSUD9aB1ynty09tmnZwAAAA&mediaurl=http%3a%2f%2fnewsimg.bbc.co.uk%2fmedia%2fimages%2f44342000%2fgif%2f_44342178_global_obesity_map416.gif&exph=325&expw=416&q=global+obesity+map&simid=608019428207231641&selectedIndex=0&qpvt=global+obesity+map&ajaxhist=0
I could support medicare for all with consequences:
1) Blood test screening for nicotine. Smoke and you’re on your own!
2) If you drink and drive then have an accident where you need care. You’re on your own.
3) If you are obese you must pay more for your medicare premium. Actuaries could easily figure out the increased premium based on healthcare statistics.
Show me a sane democratic candidate otherwise I’ll take Trump, warts and all.
Why is it that the only retort to a legitimate criticism is to make it anti Trump instead of discussing alternatives? Is it because a: they didn’t understand it and it sounded like a promotion of a democrat – the enemy, b: anything that sounds like a good thing must be socialist, c: this computer thing is great to complain about thangs. Has anyone noticed that the negative posts are never about the subject? Maybe someday one of these folks will actually read about the issues!
Gary R says
I am holding out for when the Democrats come up with FREE car and FREE house.
Edith Campins says
So, all of the commenters supporting trump and his children for future presidents…
Where is the healthcare plan he promised?
Where is the infrastructure plan he promised?
Has coal come back like he promised?
Where is the 10% raise he promised the military?
Has N. Korea given up a single nuke?
Have his tariffs accomplished anything? Why are farm bankruptcies increasing?
What happened to the middle class tax cut he promised on Nov. 1, 2018?
Are you ok with over $110 million taxpayer dollars used to pay for his golf?
Has he paid down the national debt as he promised?
Has he balanced the budget?
Where is the trade deal with China?
Why hasn’t NAFTA Light been brought up for Congressional approval and what enforcement mechanism does it provide?
Where are the new factories being built in the US?
What exactly has he accomplished to control illegal immigration?
Why does his proposed budget cut Social Security and Medicare when he promised he would never do that?
What measure has he put in place to prevent mass shootings?
Where is the 4% GDP he said would be easy to achieve?
Why does he believe Putin over all 11 of our national security agencies that have proven Russia interfered with our elections?
Why did he exit Reagan’s signature arms treaty without negotiating anything to replace it?
Why did he abandon our Kurdish allies to be massacred by Turkey and then welcome Turkish dictator Erdogan to the White House?
Why did he lie about his “wall” and say it couldn’t be escalated when even children can climb it?
What has he done to improve the country’s educational system?
Why does his travel ban not include any of the countries that have actually sent us terrorists?
Why has he fired so many of the “best people” he picked in the first place?
Where is the proof he said he had about being wiretapped?
Why does he want Hunter biden investigated for making $500,000 when Jared and Ivanka made $82 million last year, while working at the White House?
Why did he use the funds donated to his charity for personal purchases?
If he is such a great businessman why have everyone of the 16 lines of business he started failed?
Is the country better off having a former nude model with no education as a First Lady?
Did you really get any benefit from his tax cut that raised the debt to the trillions?
What damage have his twiiter rants and insults done to the dignity of the highest office in the land?
Is the country not more deeply divided under his administration than ever before?
Why did he void the Obama era ban on the mentally ill owning guns?
Why did he engage in eleven instances of obstruction as listed on the Mueller report?
Why has he refused to show his taxes, after promising to do so?
Has he negotiated lower prescription drug prices with big Pharma?
What legislation has he passed to improve unemployment? Are the good unemployment numbers a result of his governance of a legacy from the previous administration?
Why was last December the worst month in the history of the stock market?
What has his administration actually accomplished in spite of having Republican control of both houses of Congress for two years?
The bottom line…how is our country better off now than three years ago?
Edith God Bless Happy Thanksgiving
Gary R says
Trump’s list: 289 accomplishments in just 20 months, ‘relentless’ promise-keeping
I can only say that I read these comments and rhetoric here, on a National level, and I am in damn near disbelief. This is the USA right? ssmmhh WTF
A great article with the facts that make sense about cost. Its like taxes never going to be less. This isn’t Political its peoples lives thru healthcare. Warren is not my type of candidate and would not vote for her due to other reasons than this far out idea. To all the GRANDSTANDERS wheres the POTUSs Plan. Oh that’s right he talks about it so it must be great and hes out trying to save his ass , too busy. lolol
To those who constantly use this excellent venue to bash each and every word the hard working producer and editor publishes. . . why not just start your very own media outlet? In that way, you could continue to be “legends in your own mind”.
You could create a place where conspiracy theories reign, and you could continue to spew all the hatred in the world against anyone with a point of view different than your own.
Or, if that is way too much work , just climb back into the comfort of the cult in the Fox sewer. . . a place where FACT based information and thought goes to die and putrefy.
In either case, it would be a relief to have more actual intelligent discourse here.
Gary R says
Sherry you know the meaning of comment(s)?
Definition of comment
A note explaining, illustrating, or criticizing the meaning of writing.
An observation or remark expressing an opinion or attitude.
A judgment expressed indirectly.
Everybody has a right their own opinions including your cult comment.
A Truly EXCELLENT post Edith! Great questions! But then again, unfortunately, many who comment here don’t really want to discuss the issues.
LOL! LOL! LOL!
“The Washington Examiner is a right-wing political journal that is heavy on psychological projection and denialism. It could be thought of as Townhall.com’s more “respectable” cousin but even then, the site looks like a tabloid desperately trying to pass itself off as real news. It’s not uncommon to see it used as a source among more extreme right-wingers who seem to like how proper the site pretends to be, despite Media Bias Fact Check rating them Mixed for factual reporting due to failing numerous fact checks.”
It’s good for wrapping up garbage though.