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If there is one thing the right-wing loves, it’s benefits for the rich: Tax breaks, tax shelters, federal spending on wars, etc.
If there is one thing the right-wing hates, it’s benefits for the middle-class and the poor: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, aids to education, poverty aids, etc.
What follows is the uber right-wing Reason.com’s Steve Chapman, and his January 21, 2016 article:
The Fiction Behind Sanders’ Health Plan: You can’t demand more without paying more.
Immediately, you know that the article will be a gigantic misrepresentation, based on the fiction that federal taxes (and federal taxpayers) pay for federal spending.
While state and local government taxes fund state and local spending, the federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign neither needs nor uses tax dollars for spending.
Even if all federal taxes fell to $0, the federal government could continue spending, forever. Even if FICA were eliminated entirely, the federal government could fund “Medicare for All,” with no difficulty, whatsoever.
Denying the difference between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty is a sure sign either of economic ignorance or of intentional deception.
In short, is Steve Chapman ignorant of economics, or is he a paid liar? You decide.
Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist who thinks the United States needs a “political revolution.” His plan to replace our health insurance system with “Medicare for All” is in some ways a dramatic break with the status quo.
But it rests on an old and thoroughly conventional formula: Promise voters they will get more and better health care without paying for it.
And so, without further ado, Chapman introduced the favorite, right-wing lie that middle- and low-income people, who want the federal government to pay for their health care, are lazy slackers looking to get “free stuff” from the government, rather than working.
Let me tell you about these “lazy slackers”: Out of Reach found that the average hourly wage needed to rent a $1,006 two-bedroom unit in the United States is $19.35 — or $40,240 per year. That’s more than two and a half times the federal minimum wage, the report noted, and $4 over the estimated average wage of $15.16 that renters earn nationwide.
That means, for instance, that a couple working two minimum wage jobs cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment for themselves and their kids.
How awful for them to want the government to pay for the healthcare they themselves can’t buy.
Sanders’ plan would encompass “the entire continuum of care,” including long-term care and dentistry.
There would be “no more copays, no more deductibles, and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges.”
In sum: Every person will have everything he or she wants in the way of care and will pay zero at the point of service.
Right. In sum, the poor and middle-classes — the “99%” — would be able to receive nearly the care the 1% easily afford.
Contrast that with Medicare, which doesn’t cover long-term care or dentistry. It also imposes a deductible for hospital stays and a copay on doctor services.
In 2010, the average Medicare recipient spent $4,734 for out-of-pocket costs.
That means millions of people, in the greatest country in the world, must do without long-term care, dentistry, hospital stays and doctor services, because they can’t spare $4,734.
Apparently that is just fine with Chapman and the Republicans.
Such obligations are an inconvenience and a burden to patients, but they serve two useful purposes: reducing what taxpayers have to pay and discouraging care that is only marginally helpful.
This approach serves to contain costs. Sanders’ change would serve to increase them.
Chapman, through ignorance or intent, ignores the fact that federal taxpayers do not pay for federal spending.
According to Chapman and the rest of the right-wing, we don’t want to “inconvenience and burden” the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay any bills of any size, and so will not be inconvenienced or burdened at all.
Apparently, it is better to “inconvenience and burden” the people who are struggling to get by.
Why? Because by inconveniencing and burdening the 99%, the Gap between them and the 1% widens, and that is exactly what the rich want. (The Gap is what makes them rich. Without the Gap no one would be rich, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are.)
Then comes the right-wing’s statement that “a lot of private insurers’ costs come from scrutinizing claims.”
It is part of the same notion that our Monetarily Sovereign federal government — the government that 230 years ago first created the dollar out of thin air — now somehow can run short of those same sovereign dollars unless it begs for help from taxpayers:
He argues that his system will be “far cheaper than private insurance” because it will cut down on “overhead, administrative costs, and complexity.” But a lot of private insurers’ costs come from scrutinizing claims to prevent fraud, overtreatment and unnecessary treatment.
Agreeing to pay all charges without review, as Sanders proposes, is an invitation to be fleeced.
First, “a lot of private insurers’ costs come from” the need for profits. Eliminate the profit motive and you not only lower “costs,” but you eliminate the desire to fleece anyone.
Second, Sanders does not propose to “pay all charges without review.” This is 100% bullsham, and Chapman knows it.
Sanders merely recommends covering more people with more services, by extending and broadening our existing Medicare, which itself does not “pay all charges without review.”
Third, there is no financial reason to make health care “far cheaper than private insurance.” The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, never will run short of dollars.
In fact, the more dollars the federal government pays for Medicare, the more stimulative dollars are pumped into our economy, helping to grow the economy.
One reason he thinks the single-payer approach will work so well is that countries like Canada and Britain use it and spend far less than we do on health care.
He takes care not to mention one major tool they use to hold down costs: limiting access to procedures that insured Americans take for granted.
“One in four Canadians reported waiting four months or more for elective surgery, similar to the proportion of patients in the United Kingdom (21 percent) but much higher than in Germany (almost 0 percent) and the United States (7 percent),” the Canadian Institute for Health Information found in 2012.
One in five Canadians needing knee or hip replacements has to wait more than six months.
IF (big “IF”) Canadians must wait too long for procedures, this would have nothing to do with single payer (the basis for Medicare). It would have to do with a shortage of doctors and hospitals.
Why would there be a shortage of doctors and hospitals in Canada? The only reason I can imagine is that the Canadian government, subscribing to the right-wing notion of unnecessary money-saving, must not pay doctors and hospitals enough.
In other words, the Canadian government would be doing too much to “scrutinize claims,” just as the right-wing wants.
(Sanders) is hardly unique in pretending we can all get everything we want for a pittance.
George W. Bush did the same thing in pushing a new program of Medicare prescription drug coverage without raising payroll taxes to pay for it.
It cost the government $78 billion in 2014—only 15 percent of which was covered by premiums from seniors.
In Chapman’s right-wing world, it’s far better for seniors to pay the $78 billion than for the Monetarily Sovereign federal government, which can afford anything, to pay it.
Chapman says the federal government can go broke, but seniors can’t.
The (Obama) administration was deceptive in claiming that the economies (of ACA) would be wrung out of private insurers and hospitals, at no inconvenience to patients.
That’s like saying that if you require utilities to take expensive steps to clean up pollution, consumers won’t end up paying more.
Huh? Chapman reveals his right-wing bona-fides. He intimates that utilities should not clean up pollution?? Another Republican meme.
Anyway, Obama was wrong then, and Chapman is wrong now, to pretend that federal finances are like consumer finances.
The federal government can, should, and does add dollars to the economy every day, without taxing. It’s the fundamental purpose of being Monetarily Sovereign. There is zero reason for any government to be Monetarily Sovereign unless it uses that power to add stimulating dollars to the economy.
Now we close with he right-wing’s oft used, but misleading, claim:
The United States has the most expensive healthcare in the world because Americans refuse to take “no” for an answer. Sanders won’t ask them to.
Taking “no for an answer” simply means doing without some health care, and for no reason at all. Is that what you want?
The federal government stands ready with its gigantic, unlimited checkbook, offering to pay for all your healthcare needs and the needs of your children.
But, Chapman and the right-wing 1% want you to say “No, we’d rather be sick.”
While the rich have the ultimate in unlimited healthcare, your healthcare is supposed to be rationed.
It’s only right, right?
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 grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
THE RECESSION CLOCK
Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. There was a dip below zero in 2015. Recessions are cured by a rising red line.
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.