The best way to destroy a good plan is to implement it poorly.

Have you had an experience similar to this: Many years ago, when I was a partner in an advertising firm, it was common for someone to make a suggestion — for instance, “advertise on morning TV” — and someone else might respond, “We tried that and it didn’t work.”

Image result for football coaches conferring

We tried running the ball last year. It didn’t work. We’ll never do that, again.

Those magic words, “We tried that and it didn’t work,” may be responsible for the destruction of more good ideas than any phrase in the English language.

They seem to sound like proof, when in fact, they are meaningless.

The “that” that had been tried, may have been quite different from the “that” being proposed.

Perhaps the commercials themselves were inferior. Perhaps the days, or the time periods, or the times of year, or the product timing — any number of things might account to the failure of morning TV.

If someone proposes a plan you hate, search for some time when a similar plan was implemented and failed, so you can point to it and claim “We tried that, and it doesn’t work.”

I was reminded of “we tried that and it didn’t work,” when I saw an article about New York State’s attempt to install a “Medicare for All” plan.

“Medicare of All” is a wonderful idea, but only if it is done right. I pray for the time when every American has all the medical support he/she needs, and no one is forced into sickness or death by lack of money, and serious illness does not lead to poverty.

Here are some excerpts from the above-mentioned article:

This Brewing Healthcare Battle Is a Preview of the Medicare for All War
By Harry Cheadle, Dec 13 2018

Near the top of any progressive wish list is the New York Health Act, the state’s version of Medicare for all—which is to say universal, government-provided—health insurance.

Single-payer healthcare, as such systems are also called, has been a left-wing lodestar for generations.

If the NYHA passed, it would make New York the first state in the union to guarantee free access to healthcare (and freedom from fear of health-related bankruptcy) to all of its residents, including undocumented people.

If passed and smoothly implemented, NYHA could be not just a way to improve the lives of New Yorkers but a model for the rest of the country as it debates the merits of Medicare for all, a policy backed by Bernie Sanders and many other potential 2020 presidential contenders.

If “Medicare for All” is so obviously beneficial to Americans, why has no state or the federal government, passed such a law?

The answer, of course, can be stated in one word: Money.

Providing comprehensive health care to every man, woman, and child would be expensive. Who would pay for such a plan?

Currently, every American already pays for comprehensive health care via insurance, and pays for the lack of comprehensive health care by doing without.

In short, we all pay for everyone, in one way or another, with the only questions being:

  1. Who will be covered
  2. What will be covered
  3. Who will pay?

The ideal would be for everyone to be covered for every medical-related cost, and for no one to pay. Anything less than that would be an incomplete plan.

Unfortunately, the New York plan does not cover everyone and everything, and taxpayers will pay.

But now that Democrats can actually pass the NYHA, single-payer supporters are facing a fight that could pit them against not just the insurance industry but a host of Democratic constituencies and leaders—a preview of the contentious debate over healthcare that might follow victories in 2020.

The foremost obstacle is the powerful medical industry lobby, which will likely deploy the usual counterattacks—think the “death panels” of the Affordable Care Act debate, or the fear-mongering “Harry and Louise” ads that helped scuttle reform in the 90s.

Then you have Democratic lawmakers who may hesitate to back a transformative proposal that would raise taxes on a lot of people, a governor who doesn’t seem particularly warm to the idea, a hostile federal government, and potential lawsuits from employers.

While the coming NYHA battle represents a possible turning point in the history of healthcare politics, it won’t be a pretty sight.

Yet if single-payer advocates could get past all that, they’d have a roadmap to victory in other states—and a model that could be replicated in DC.

Rather than providing a roadmap to victory, I fear New York will provide a roadmap to defeat.

The single biggest problem facing a New York plan is this: New York State is monetarily non-sovereign. It does not have access to unlimited numbers of dollars. It must rely on taxes to fund the program.

So the plan will not be able to cover everyone and everything, and in that regard, it will be incomplete — a failure that opponents will be able to use as a negative example, forever.

Richard Gottfried, the chair of the New York State Assembly’s Health Committee and the chief architect of the NYHA, recently explained what it would look like. “It would create universal complete health coverage for every New York resident without premiums, deductibles, copays, or restricted provider networks,” he said over the phone.

The bill would pay for this by pooling the money the state gets from the federal government for programs like Medicaid and Medicare, and also by raising taxes.

“There would be one tax on payroll income, predominantly paid by employers, and a parallel on unearned income like dividends, capital gains,” Gottfried explained.

This would transform the way New Yorkers pay for healthcare—instead of giving premiums to insurers, they’d be getting taxed—and according to a recent study by the RAND Corporation, overall health spending would drop by $80 billion, or 2 percent, by 2031, even as the roughly 1.2 million currently uninsured New Yorkers gained access to care.

Richard Gottfried, the chair of the New York State Assembly’s Health Committee and the chief architect of the NYHA, recently explained what it would look like. “It would create universal complete health coverage for every New York resident without premiums, deductibles, copays, or restricted provider networks,” he said over the phone.

Ultimately, all taxes are paid by people. Taxes that businesses pay, come either from employees or from customers.

Businesses simply are a legal concept that is a pass-through for dollars. Each dollar a business pays in taxes is deducted from some person.

The arguments against the NYHA are echoes of the normal arguments marshaled against single-payer healthcare — high taxes, long wait times for care under a government-run system, and job loss in the insurance industry.

“Long wait times” is a fake narrative. Medicare for All doesn’t affect health-care providers. It doesn’t affect doctors, nurses, hospitals, et al. It merely is an insurance plan, not a health-care program.  Think of Blue Cross with government money.

Last year, a California single-payer bill was effectively axed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who said it was “woefully incomplete” and didn’t describe how the system would be paid for. (Single-payer advocates were so incensed they subsequently attempted to remove Rendon from office.)

Gottfried said that unlike the California bill, the NYHA clearly describes where the funding would come from, and unlike Vermont, New York has enough wealth to make paying for a single-system more practical.

It isn’t New York that would pay. It’s New York taxpayers who would be on the hook.

When all the objections are objected to and all the arguments are argued, there is one, and only one way for a Medicare for All plan to work. It must be funded via federal deficit spending.

The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, can afford anything. It can pay the full cost of a comprehensive Medicare plan covering every man, woman, and child in America, including long-term care, all pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment, and it can do it without levying one cent in taxes.

Further, the money spent by the federal government would grow the economy and benefit everyone.

One industry would be hurt: Health-care insurance, but dozens of other industries would see new income. For a more thorough discussion see: Ten Steps to Prosperity: Step 2. Federally funded Medicare — Parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

A state-funded Medicare for All will encounter continual money problems, requiring unpopular taxes and even more unpopular cuts to benefits, thereby providing a negative example for those who would claim, “We tried that, and it didn’t work.”

By contrast, we know how to do Medicare, and we know how to deficit spend, and it remains only for us to put those together.

That combination would give America something it doesn’t now have: Healthcare for all citizens, rich and poor, young and old.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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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

2. Federally funded medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY