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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
If you were to select the single best measure of a nation’s greatness, you would be hard-pressed to find one better than the healthcare of its people.
As we learned previously, our Monetarily Sovereign nation never can run low on its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar, and also has the unlimited ability to determine the value of the dollar (i.e. prevent inflation).
Further, federal deficits build the economy, while federal surpluses or deficit reductions (i.e. “austerity”) weaken the economy. Given those facts, what should the federal government do. More generally: What is the purpose of government?
The fundamental purpose of any government is to enhance the wellbeing of its people — all its people — rich and poor, old and young, strong and weak.
In this series describing the Ten Steps to Prosperity, we suggested eliminating FICA as the first Step. For the second Step, we suggest:
Step 2: Federally funded Medicare — Parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
Fortunately, most of the hard work is done. We already know how to do Medicare. We have encountered and addressed all the functional difficulties. No operational mysteries remain.
We now need to do just four things:
- Change the minimum age of recipients to zero
- Change Part D to a federally funded program, rather than a private insurance funded program.
- Expand Medicare benefits to include even those benefits now covered by private Supplementary insurance.
- Fund long-term care insurance.
The purpose is to make affordability a non-issue. There is no moral justification for the richer being able to afford better healthcare than the poorer. Under American law, all people are to be treated equally.
A courtroom judge who habitually gives better outcomes to rich claimants and rich defendants is in violation of the law. Similarly, a police officer, a firefighter, a public librarian, should not offer better treatment and service to the rich.
Yes, of course, it happens. But, it’s illegal and more importantly, it’s immoral.
Further, there is no economic justification for some Americans having no healthcare insurance or incomplete healthcare insurance. Poor health leads to costly absences and poor work performance from school and from work. In short, sick students and sick employees do not do well.
Simply improving American health would improve education, and improve business productivity and efficiency.
There is not a single, logical reason why the U.S. federal government does not underwrite healthcare for all. As Americans we all deserve it; as people we all need it. Our businesses would benefit from it. And our Monetarily Sovereign federal government can afford it.
The U.S. federal government does not keep dollars on hand to pay bills. Instead, it creates dollars, ad hoc, by paying bills.
Funding “Medicare for all” would cost the federal government nothing.
Why? Because after paying for “Medicare for all,” the federal government would still own exactly the same number of dollars as it owned before it paid. Spending is cost-free to a Monetarily Sovereign govenment.
By contrast, today, our private sector, i.e our economy, absorbs a huge cost burden of healthcare.
In an earlier post, we described H.R. 676, Medicare for All. Here are some excerpts from that post:
Look around the world, and you will see the “best” nations providing the best health care and the “worst” nations providing the worst health care.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence says, “. . . [all men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Surely, good health is part of that trio.
Because private healthcare insurers do not provide affordable coverage to the broad populace, Medicare and Medicaid were great improvements. But the problem of significant uninsured and underinsured remains.
For a nation that views itself as the world’s leader in most things, this is unacceptable.
Obamacare, aka “Romneycare,” was an attempt to include more people, but it is a complex, convoluted, inefficient program no one fully understands, and it still leaves many uninsured.
For years, I have favored providing full Medicare for everyone — a Medicare coverage so complete that neither Medicaid nor supplemental policies would be necessary.
And such a bill exists — almost. 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.
Medicare for All not only would cover everyone, but by eliminating deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance, it eliminates the need to shop around for additional coverages, or even to worry about which form of Medicare to acquire.
Finally, “Medicare for All” simplifies America’s healthcare. In addition to eliminating the “middleman” (the healthcare insurance agencies) there would be:
- No need for a complex, convoluted, expensive supplementary plan like ACA (Obamacare)
- No need for Medicaid
- No need for the massive medical and long-term care functions of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- No need for expensive, long-term care insurance policies.
It would be the simplest possible plan: Everyone would receive care according to their needs. Period.
In short, we currently have a system in which there is a high cost to the public, for mediocre or no service (orange colored states) to a significant percentage of Americans .
We should replace it with a system in which there is no cost to anyone, for far better service to all Americans: Federally funded, comprehensive Medicare — Parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ANNUAL ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.