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•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes. .
•Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.
•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and poor.
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..
Medicare is a wonderful — a liberal — program that never would have been passed by a conservative President and Congress.
Medicare has helped to prevent millions of seniors from falling into the wretched poverty medical bills can cause.
But Medicare has its weaknesses:
1. It covers only the aged.
2. It pays only a percentage of bills. The uncovered percentage can be financially debilitating, thus requiring private Medicare Supplement expenses.
3. It doesn’t cover pharmaceuticals (i.e. Part D) which also can be financially debilitating, dental, some eye and other examinations and treatments.
4. It doesn’t cover long-term care, psychiatric, substance abuse and many other medical and related treatments and equipment.
5. In the name of Medicare (and Social Security), the poor and middle classes pay a high and unnecessary FICA tax, which is taken from salaries.
So why not a Medicare that:
A. Covers every man, woman and child in America?
B. Covers all hospital, all doctor and all pharmaceutical bills?
C. Covers every form of medical diagnosis and treatment?
D. Covers long-term care>
E. Pays 100% of the bill?
In the June, 2013 post, How one of the best bills in history — H.R. 676, Medicare for All — is spoiled, we discussed a bill before Congress that would accomplish all of the above:
It is H.R. 676, Medicare for All:
“To provide for comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents, improved health care delivery, and for other purposes.”
Some features of the bill:
All individuals residing in the United States (including any territory of the United States) are covered under the Medicare For All Program entitling them to a universal, best quality standard of care
The health care benefits under this Act cover all medically necessary services, including at least the following:
(1) Primary care and prevention.
(2) Approved dietary and nutritional therapies.
(3) Inpatient care.
(4) Outpatient care.
(5) Emergency care.
(6) Prescription drugs.
(7) Durable medical equipment.
(8) Long-term care.
(9) Palliative care.
(10) Mental health services.
(11) The full scope of dental services, services, including periodontics, oral surgery, and endodontics, but not including cosmetic dentistry.
(12) Substance abuse treatment services.
(13) Chiropractic services, not including electrical stimulation.
(14) Basic vision care and vision correction (other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes).
(15) Hearing services, including coverage of hearing aids.
(16) Podiatric care.
No deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing shall be imposed with respect to covered benefits.
The Program shall pay physicians, dentists, doctors of osteopathy, pharmacists, psychologists, chiropractors, doctors of optometry, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physicians’ assistants, and other advanced practice clinicians.
What would you say is the main reason the federal government doesn’t offer such a program?
Yes, there are a couple minor reasons — excuses really:
—Government bureaucrats, not doctors, would make life-or-death decisions about coverages. (The same way Medicare and private insurances are handled now and always have been handled.)
—Private health insurance companies would be put out of business and their employees would lose their jobs. (Right. They would go the way of blacksmiths, small farmers, typewriter, folding map, photo film, public pay phone and buggy whip manufacturers. It’s called “progress and obsolescence.”)
The major (not the real) reason given is that such coverage would cost too much. Under the current system, the private sector (you and me) is forced to spend money we may not have, to pay for our medical care.
Instead, with Medicare for All, our Monetarily Sovereign federal government, which never can run short of dollars would pay for it.
Hmmm . . . . Let’s see. Is it preferable for people to be impoverished by medical bills, rather than having the federal government, which never can be impoverished, pay those bills?
You might believe Congress and the President think so, because they cobbled together the Affordable Care Act, otherwise knowns as “Obamacare,” a Rube Goldbergian, complex, convoluted mess, that to a small degree pretends at what Free Medicare for All could accomplish easily, simply and efficiently.
Obamacare unnecessarily makes the populace pay for medical care.
The real reason we don’t have Free Medicare for All: The rich don’t want it.
Free Medicare for all not only would cut into the lucrative insurance businesses, but more importantly, it would narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest.
As you’ve read many times on this blog, the Gap is the only thing that makes the rich and powerful rich and powerful. If there were no Gap, no one would be rich, and the wider the Gap, the richer the rich are.
So narrowing the Gap is the last thing the rich want.
So where do we go from here? Liberal Monetary Sovereignty.
Liberalism, by its very nature, narrows the Gap by giving money to the lower income/wealth/power groups. The problem with liberals, as represented by the Democrats, is that they have bought into the “tax-and-spend” philosophy (while the conservatives believe in the “don’t-tax-and-don’t-spend” idea).
Both ideas suffer from the same myth, that the federal government needs to collect tax dollars in order to spend. Monetary Sovereignty demonstrates the falsity of that myth.
Even if federal tax collections fell to $0, the federal government could continue spending, forever. (There are other reasons for federal tax collections, but paying bills isn’t one of them. All these years, you have been conned about this, by the rich-owned politicians, media and economists.)
So again, where do we go from here?
We need a liberal government that acknowledges Monetary Sovereignty (MS).
Forget the Republicans. They are the party of hatreds, despising blacks, browns, gays, women, foreigners and foreign nations, the poor and the middle classes, while loving only guns, fetuses and above all, the rich.
Forget Hillary Clinton. She has no fundamental beliefs other than being elected, perhaps so she can get rid of Bill and make the same millions he’s made, on her own.
Which brings us to Bernie Sanders, who claims to be a socialist, but isn’t. He’s a liberal, who doesn’t understand Monetary Sovereignty — or at least, that’s the way it seems.
But I was amazed and heartened that he hired Stephanie Kelton to be his economics advisor.
Stephanie Kelton understands Monetary Sovereignty. She heads the economics department at UMKC (the University of Missouri, Kansas City). It’s the one school in America (the world?) that teaches MMT (Modern Monetary Theory), the sister to MS.
While individual professors around the world also teach MMT, here is an entire economics department devoted to the subject. Take that, University of Chicago, Harvard, Stanford et al. You teach myths while UMKC teaches truths.
So the very fact that Bernie Sanders would hire the chair of UMKC’s economics department says this: He soon will, or already does, understand Monetary Sovereignty.
Will Sanders have the courage to tell us Americans we should benefit from Free Medicare for All? And if so, will we Americans have the intelligence to believe him?
If the first answer is “Yes,” Bernie has my vote. He should have yours, too.
Hey, which would you prefer: To conservatively deport 11 million people and carry a semi-automatic weapon, or liberally for you and your loved ones to have free medical care for life?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually Click here
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)
The Ten Steps will add dollars to the economy, stimulate the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.
THE RECESSION CLOCK
Recessions come after the blue line drops below zero.
Vertical gray bars mark recessions.
As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.
15 thoughts on “–Medicare for All: Where do we go from here?”
The trick won’t be understanding MS; it’ll be knowing how to explain it without getting laughed off the stage. The critics will spout the usual retorts about free lunches, money out of thin air, inflation, how you gonna pay for it, Zimbabwe, socialism, promoting lazy takers, hahahahah you gotta be kidding, you’re on another planet, where did you go to school!!!!!
It’ll be brutal unless Sanders can figure out how to smoothly break the Good News of MS. It’ll be akin to Galileo trying to tell the Church the sun doesn’t revolve around us. The forces of the status quo will be threatened and a panic will ensue should Sanders begin making sense.
He shouldn’t go it alone. Any of his advisors/staff who truly know about MS should be ready to speak up for him and face the pundits and cameras when necessary to take on the barrage of jabs he’ll no doubt be getting. It’s going to have to be a team effort so everyone can see he’s not a lone kook talking to a wall; that others with credentials are there with him capable of deflecting the barbs.
Hillary too says she has an economic plan and wants everyone to check it out on the internet. Bernie should do the same soon as possible to allow for the point-counterpoint discussion to mature favorably, not wait until just before November 2016 or the debates.
“It’s the one school in America (the world?) that teaches MMT (Modern Monetary Theory), the sister to MS.”
What’s the difference between MMT and MS? I thought that for MMT to work, the currency-issuer (the federal government) has to be MS (monetarily sovereign).
You are correct.
There are no differences between MS and MMT in the descriptions of the economy, but there are some differences in the conclusions about what should be done.
For instance, MS holds that raising interest rates fights inflation. MMT says fighting inflation requires tax increases and/or spending decreases, and that raising interest rates causes inflation.
MMT suggests the Jobs Guarantee as a primary economic solution. MS suggests the Ten Steps to Prosperity, and that the Jobs Guarantee would be a disaster.
I think it’s interesting that the federal government always seems to have plenty of dollars to spend on national defense, rather than on social programs more beneficial to society. Defense spending seems to always get an automatic rubber-stamp OK, whereas many politicians (Republicans in particular) often balk at increasing funding of various social programs. Isn’t it interesting that the US federal government sure had plenty of dollars to spend on tanks, battleships and guns during world war 2 without any problem?
Right. And you never heard complaints that the deficit spending was “unsustainable.” In fact, it grew our economy.
Pretty good article by Krugman, except he confuses the effects of tax increases with the real effects of spending increases:
True, sort of. The real fantasy is deficit reduction (aka “austerity”), which has failed completely — always has; always will.
Again, sort of true, except Bill Clinton’s deficit reduction caused the recession that began immediately when he left office. The weak recovery was a continuation of reduced deficits, and surely Krugman knows the financial collapse was not instituted by tax reduction.
Even worse, she said she actually saw that non-existent video, and when repeatedly asked to provide a copy of what she saw, she reverted to Trumpesque dissimulation.
Bottom line: There is not one Republican candidate who even comes close to having the chops to be President. To paraphrase Trump (heaven help me), “They all are a bunch of loo-oosers.”
Well that makes me feel better about Bernie. I am not a highly educated person but I can understand the basics of MS. I think if politicians made a concerted effort to actually inform people they would slowly but surely understand it too, instead they purposefully lead people to believe a false reality because it is easier politically. Sadly our fellow citizens really don’t care, if their broke they want to hear they are going to get help, if they are making money they want to hear they will pay less in taxes. So just give them both what they want, and if anyone actually asks how you can do that? Then have a way to teach them about monetary sovereignty. Most people wont take the time to care about anything more than oh your going to make my life better? Great you got my vote!
I mean look at things now the most entertaining candidate is leading, Americans care more about who entertains them the most than who has good plans for the countries future.
“Private health insurance companies would be put out of business and their employees would lose their jobs. (Right. They would go the way of blacksmiths, small farmers, typewriter, folding map, photo film, public pay phone and buggy whip manufacturers. It’s called “progress and obsolescence.”)”
Yeah but all those occupations and products are still around they we’re not eliminated by government or progress overnight. This is a real problem.
“The American Health Security Act of 2013 (S. 1782) provides every American with affordable and comprehensive health care services through the establishment of a national American Health Security Program (the Program) that requires each participating state to set up and administer a state single payer health program. The Program provides universal health care coverage for the comprehensive services required under S. 1782 and incorporates Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and TRICARE (the Department of Defense health care program), but maintains health care programs under the Veterans Affairs Administration. Private health insurance sold by for-profit companies could only exist to provide supplemental coverage.
Bernie’s kickin ass!!!
“Because right now, you’ve seen estimates. People are saying the estimate for The Wall Street Journal is $18 trillion to cover.
SANDERS: But what The Wall Street Journal said and we responded to it is that that included 15 billion dollars for national health care program. What they forgot to say is that you would not be paying and businesses would not be paying for private health insurance. So, in other words, right now if you’re paying $12,000 a year for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, you would not be paying that. In fact, every study indicated that we pay more per capita for healthcare than any nation on earth. We would lower that goal.
– See more at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/curtis-houck/2015/09/18/shock-cbss-odonnell-smacks-bernie-sanders-right-health-care-taxes#sthash.UojlhsbB.dpuf
I hope Stephanie Kelton is able to help Bernie explain the differences between state finances and federal finances. He seemed to be tripped up on Vermont vs. the U.S.
Bernie spoke at Liberty University, good job in his part. I think he may have swayed some libertarian – see the transcript.
I am a libertarian and I think libertarians will make or break candidates this time around. I liked what Sanders did there, he spoke truly from his heart and referenced passages from the bible as we as the pope.
What’s even more intriguing is that although libertarians are seen as republicans, libertarians actually care about the poor as much as the democrats. The only difference is the approach. Democrats believe in government, libertarians believe in personal responsibility.
I think it’s obvious that people are not going for personal responsibility. I have given up that more than 2 percent of the population will believe in it at any point in time. I truly think that God helps those with good intentions. Given the candidates on the GOP, trump, there is a good chance that libertarians find themselves voting for Sanders. I don’t like his approach, but this speech speaks very well on his part.
People are still personally responsible for what they are given. Bernie recognizes that everyone should have access to the best healthcare and the best education.