No sooner did I publish “It is 2019, and the phony federal debt ‘time bomb’ still is ticking (Thursday, Jan 24 2019)” when here comes a typically wrongheaded article:

New Poll: Medicare for All Is Popular Until You Explain How It Works
Support drops when you tell people it would require higher taxes, longer lines, and switching insurance plans. Peter Suderman|Jan. 24, 2019

A new poll shows that a clear majority of Americans support Medicare for All—until they are told what it is and how it would work.

The survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 56 percent of the country supports a “national health plan, sometimes called Medicare for All” and an even larger percentage—71 percent—supports the idea when told that it would “guarantee health insurance as a right for all Americans.”

When told that such a plan would eliminate health insurance premiums, 67 percent say they’re in favor.

One way to look at these numbers is as strong public approval for the broad outlines of a single-payer health care system, which would create a single national health insurance plan run by the federal government and financed through taxes.

That public is support is why so many 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have been warming up to the idea.

No, Mr. Suderman, the plan would not be “financed through taxes.” And this lie is the primary cause of confusion.

But the more revealing part of the survey, I think, comes from the questions focused on the costs of single payer, all of which caused support for Medicare for All to drop below 40 percent.

Told that it would eliminate private health insurance and require people to pay more in taxes, for example, support fell to 37 percent.

Yes, if you lie about the plan, by claiming taxes would be increased, fewer people will want it. No big surprise, there.

Told that it would cause some medical treatments and tests to be delayed, support dropped even further, to 26 percent.

Yes, add another lie, and even fewer people will want it.

Medicare for All supporters might complain that these are loaded descriptions that don’t accurately capture the reality of single payer, which they say is about freeing people from premiums while offering a guarantee of access.

But these are, at a very basic level, just descriptions of what an American single-payer system would do.

Wrong. They are not accurate descriptions at all. They are lies.

The most prominent such plan is the one put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), which would eliminate all existing private health insurance plans in a four-year period.

Although it allows for some secondary private coverage once the system is in place, it requires most everyone in the U.S. to enroll in a new, government-run plan.

Wrong, again. No one would be “required” to move to a free plan that covers more than a for-fee plan. People would do that voluntarily.

Arguably the whole point of the most ambitious single-payer schemes is to move everyone off private insurance and onto a single federally managed plan; that’s not possible unless people who currently have private insurance get new coverage.

Wrong, yet again. The “whole point” is to provide free, comprehensive health care insurance to all who want it. Original Medicare was one small step in that direction. No one is forced to accept it, but the vast majority of those eligible do.

Some single-payer proposal would make the transition more slowly, but coverage disruption is not incidental; it’s the point.

And wrong, again. It’s not coverage “disruption.” It’s coverage improvement.

Mr. Suderman distorts facts to make people believe insurance is being taken from them, and that they are being “moved off private insurance.”

No one needs to be “moved” anywhere. People will choose to move, just as they moved to original Medicare.

Think about it. If you were offered comprehensive health care insurance, that covered everything — doctors, hospitals, home care, pharmaceuticals — everything, and at zero cost, would the government have to “move” you?

Financing that plan would require a massive increase in federal spending—about $32 trillion over a decade, according to estimates from think tanks across the political spectrum.

Even with the most carefree attitude toward debt and deficits, it is nearly unthinkable that an increase in government spending of that size would not come with higher taxes, probably much higher taxes, which would likely affect the middle class.d

“Unthinkable” for those whose knowledge ends at the monetarily non-sovereign, gold standard years. But perfectly “thinkable” for those who understand that a Monetarily Sovereign government cannot run short of its own sovereign currency.

It is impossible for the U.S. federal government unintentionally to run short of U.S. dollars. It creates dollars, ad hoc, by the simple act of paying a creditor. The more dollars it pays to creditors, the more dollars it creates.

The contention that waiting times for health care services would be longer is the most debatable of the bunch, but given the experience of other countries and the probable design of a full-scale single-payer plan, it’s a more than a plausible outcome.

Government-run health care systems like the ones in the United Kingdom (which is fully socialized) and Canada (a territorial single-payer system) are notorious for having long wait times for services such as cancer treatment.

The “long-wait-times” bogeyman is put forth by the right wing and the ignorant, to scare the public.

The cause of long wait times is insufficient money. Obviously, any program that is underfunded will experience long wait times.

But just as there is no reason for a Monetarily Sovereign government to underfund, there is no reason for long wait times.

Furthermore, the Sanders plan calls for significant reductions to reimbursements for health care providers, which, if implemented, would almost certainly put some health care centers out of business, reducing the number of doctors and other medical professionals.

And although it’s possible, in theory, to imagine a system that doesn’t cut provider rates, that would be far, far more expensive, and would require even higher taxes while robbing supporters of one of their favorite talking points—that Medicare for All is much cheaper, overall, than the current system.

Reductions to reimbursements for health care providers are absolutely, 100% unnecessary. Sanders cripples his own plan by telling the public the “Big Lie,” that federal taxes fund federal spending.

The “Big Truth” is: Even if the federal government didn’t collect a single penny in taxes, it could continue spending, forever.

The function of federal taxes is not to fund spending but rather to:

1. Control the economy by encouraging some activities and discouraging others. (Example: Home mortgages are tax deductible, while rents are not, because the government wanted to encourage home ownership.)
2. To narrow the gap between the richer and the poorer.

Medicare for All proponents might be pleased with the show of support found in the survey, but what those questions mostly revealed was that people say yes when you ask them if they favor a health care system that is essentially cost-free.

Yes, cost-free is exactly what Medicare-for-All could be and should be.

Clear public support, in other words, only materializes when you ignore the practical reality of making a transition from a mixed public/private system to single payer—higher taxes, longer waits, and the loss of existing private insurance arrangements.

Three lies were bundled into one short paragraph:

  1. There is no need for higher taxes. (The federal government cannot run short of dollars.)
  2. There is no need for longer waits. (Original Medicare has not caused longer waits.)
  3. And there is no “loss” of existing insurance. (People voluntarily will move to free Medicare for all, just as they voluntarily moved to original Medicare.)

It truly is disgusting that both the proponents and the opponents of Medicare-for-All have not displayed the honesty and courage to tell the populace the truth.

Could it be that the public is not ready for the truth? Will all financial decisions continue to be based on the Big Lie.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: 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