Medicare for All: The real stumbling block Sunday, Mar 17 2019 

Imagine that everyone in America — you, your family, your friends and neighbors — everyone,  could receive health care from doctors, hospitals, rehab facilities, extended care facilities, and all pharmaceuticals and equipment, and never have to worry about cost.

Related image

A choice?

Imagine you being forced to choose between your financial devastation vs. sickness or death for your loved ones.

Then, imagine the federal government paying all your health-related bills, leaving you free from worry.

The rich in America already live in such a glorious world, but for most of us, current and future health affordability is an ongoing concern.

Yet, many non-rich Americans oppose even the concept of Medicare for All. Why?

1. It’s unsustainable. Debt fear mongers have been promulgating that myth for at least 80 years.In 1940, when the federal debt was $40 Billion, the fear-mongers were calling it a “ticking time bomb.

“Every year afterward, they have pounded the same lies into our brains: “The federal government will go broke. It’s “unsustainable.” Your children’s taxes will have to go up.”

Today, the debt is $20 Trillion, and the government has not gone broke, and indeed cannot go broke, and taxes have not risen.

2. It’s socialism. Actually it isn’t. It’s progressivism. Socialism is government ownership and control, not merely government support.

The federal government supports many things: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, poverty aids, education, etc. Shall we eliminate them?

Additionally, we do allow many forms of real socialism: The military, roads, bridges and dams, public libraries, NASA, the VA, etc. Shall we eliminate those, too?

3. It will cause inflation or hyperinflation. Although in the past 80 years, federal debt has risen an astounding 50,000%, inflation has averaged close to the Fed’s 2.5% target.

The reason is that the Fed has tools it needs to prevent and cure inflations, among which is: Control over interest rates.

Raising rates increases demand for the dollar, making it more valuable, so fewer dollars are needed to buy goods and services.

While federal “debt” (blue, i.e. deposits into T-security accounts) increased massively, inflation (red) increased modestly.

4. We don’t have enough resources. What this really means is: “If the poor start using doctors, hospitals, et al, then there won’t be enough doctors and hospitals for me.”

These objectors believe that a viable health-care system relies on the poor not being able to afford health-care — that “limited” resources should be reserved for the wealthier among us. This is America?

A nation’s resources grow with the money available to  pay for them. Funded by a government’s unlimited ability to pay, resources are unlimited.

5. It will take money and jobs from the health insurance industry. Right, just as public transportation takes money and jobs from taxi drivers.

Some jobs will be added in the federal sector. But in any event, the notion that the poor should do without healthcare so that the insurance industry can keep its jobs is ridiculous. It’s an example of misplaced priorities.

The above are fake reasons, used to conceal the real reason, which is described in the following, brief, “THE WEEK Magazine” (2/22/19) article:

Despite all the attention tech gets, the biggest five insurance and health benefits companies have greater revenues than the FAANGS – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

The top five health insurers and benefit managers expect &787 billion in revenue for 2019, compared with $784 billion for the FAANGS.

Pharmacy benefit manager CVS, the biggest of the health-care group, expects revenues of $246 billion.

In short, the insurance companies, that massively bribe politicians with campaign contributions and promises of lucrative employment later, don’t want the federal government to offer you better, more comprehensive, no deductible insurance at no cost.

OpenSecrets.org reveals:

One-third of Senate Democrats have cosponsored the Medicare for All Act, which Sanders introduced in September.

Democrats who haven’t cosponsored the bill received 146 percent more money on average from health insurance companies between 2011 and 2016 than those who have ($147,186 to $59,789)

If you’ve been told lies #1 thru #5, there is a good chance the source either is ignorant of economic reality or has been bribed by the health insurance industry.

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.

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

That didn’t take long: More debt-related idiocy Friday, Jan 25 2019 

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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

 

If you could provide free, comprehensive healthcare to everyone . . . Thursday, Jan 24 2019 

If you were a multi-trillionaire, and you easily could afford to provide free healthcare to every man, woman, and child in America, would you do it?Image result for rich man

Imagine, no sick child dying from a treatable illness, no parent suffering without a doctor, no homeless person languishing in what should be curable pain — and you could do this simply by writing a check.

Would you do it?

Would you do it if it all could be accomplished by your command, without it costing you even one cent? All you would need to do is say, “Give everyone health care.” Would you do it?

Or would you just let sick people suffer and die too soon?

You actually do have that choice and you do have that power. Your choice is to tell your Senators and Representatives to create a comprehensive, no-deductible Medicare-for-All plan that covers all hospitals, all doctors, all medically approved treatments, and all pharmaceuticals.

And yes, it won’t cost you even one cent, because the U.S. federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, creates new dollars, ad hoc, every time it pays a bill.

Federal finances are different from city, county, and state finances. These local governments are monetarily non-sovereign. They do not create dollars by paying bills. They can run short of dollars and become insolvent. They need and use tax dollars, which they deposit in banks.

By contrast, the government neither needs nor even uses tax dollars. Those federal tax dollars, that are taken from your paycheck or your checking account, are destroyed upon receipt. They never see a bank. They never are part of any money-supply measure.

Even if all federal tax collections, including federal income taxes, FICA payroll taxes,  federal luxury taxes, — every federal tax of every kind — were eliminated, the federal government could continue spending forever. It never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

With Medicare for all, we’re not talking about socialism, where the government owns all the hospitals and employs all the health care providers. (That’s like the Veteran’s Administration).

We’re talking about the U.S. government being the insurer — taking the place of private insurance companies, but providing much more comprehensive coverage than any insurance company could afford — and not charging you or your employer anything.

If you were Monetarily Sovereign, like the U.S. government is, you easily could provide comprehensive, no-cost medical insurance to every American.

And yet, many Americans, not understanding the facts of Monetary Sovereignty, say they don’t want to change. They want to continue paying for private insurance. They want to continue paying FICA. They want to continue paying deductibles and being subject to limitations.

They want to continue paying the 20% copay Medicare charges. And they want to continue paying for Medicare Part D, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, for expensive drugs. 

They want each insurance company to offer a different formulary, so it becomes necessary to hunt through multiple companies to learn whether certain drugs are covered, only to be surprised when the doctor prescribes a new drug that isn’t covered.

This is what people say they want, but it’s not what you really want. No one would.

We Americans have been deceived by the politicians, who have been bought and paid for by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Here are some of the lies we have been told:

1. Medicare-for-All is socialism.
As we said previously, with  socialism, the government owns and operates all the medical providers.

In Medicare-for-All, the government merely would pay for medical services, just as private insurance companies now do — just as Medicare now does, though Medicare is too limited.

2. Medicare-for-All would cost too much.
There are only two alternatives for medical services: Either someone pays or someone does without.

Thus, Americans have these choices:

*The federal government will pay for your medical care, or
*You will pay, or
*You will do without medical care.

Which do you prefer?

3. If the government pays, the federal deficit and debt would increase.
The so-called “federal debt” is the incorrect name given to the total of Treasury securities issued by the Treasury. They are similar to bank CDs.

The Treasury does not issue them to obtain dollars (which it can create endlessly), but rather to provide a safe “parking place” for unused dollars and to help control interest rates.

The Treasury could stop issuing T-securities tomorrow, and still continue to spend, forever.

For the past eighty years, misleaders have been telling the American people that the federal debt is an unsustainable, “ticking time bomb.” Yet here we are, the so-called “time bomb” still is ticking, and the economy still is sustaining and growing.

The federal debt is no burden on anyone — not on the government, not on you, not on your grandchildren. Federal taxes do not pay for the federal debt.

The “federal deficit” is the difference between taxes collected and dollars spent. No one ever “pays for” the deficit. It merely is a bookkeeping number, of no threat to anyone.

Increased deficits grow the economy by adding dollars to the private sector.

In fact, reductions in deficits lead to recessions and depressions, and increases in deficits cure recessions and depressions.

Deficit reductions lead to recessions (vertical bars), which are cured by deficit increases

4. Medicare-for-All would cause inflation.
The failure to take FICA dollars from your paycheck is not inflationary. The failure to take FICA dollars from employers is not inflationary. Paying for healthcare is not inflationary.

Inflations are caused by shortages, not by federal spending.

5. Medicare-for-All would bankrupt the pharmaceutical companies
On the contrary, the pharmaceutical companies would benefit.

Today, nearly all pharmaceuticals are paid for by insurance and by individuals. Under Medicare-for-All, the drugs would be paid for by the federal government, similar to a free, comprehensive version of Medicare Part D.

Have you ever seen drug commercials that say, “If you can’t afford your prescription contact us”? Patient assistance programs are run by pharmaceutical companies to provide free medications to people who cannot afford to buy their medicine.

Comprehensive Medicare-for-All not only would increase the number of people who purchase pharmaceuticals, but would relieve the drug companies of any obligation to fund patient assistance programs.

6. Medicare-for-All would bankrupt the healthcare insurance companies.
Actually, there is some truth to this. Over the years, many industries disappear, only to be replaced by new industries.

When I was very young, the way to make a phone call was to tell the number to a human operator, of whom there were hundreds of thousands. Also, horse-drawn carts were common. Those, and thousands of other industries, have disappeared, much to the benefit of the American public.

Private healthcare insurance, its complications, unfairness, and its onerous costs, all would disappear.

Unfortunately, even the people who favor Medicare-for-All, do not have the knowledge, the courage, or the honesty to tell you the truth: It can be funded 100% by our Monetarily Sovereign federal government.

Support for a national Medicare-for-all plan swings wildly after folks hear about the potential effects. It spikes when respondents are told that it would guarantee health insurance as a right or eliminate premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs.

But favorability slumps when they are told it would eliminate private health insurance, raise taxes or threaten the current Medicare program.

And it tanks when told it would lead to delays in receiving care.

Many people don’t think Medicare-for-all would have an impact on them.

There is, in fact, no reason for taxes to increase. In fact, taxes would decrease dramatically. No more FICA paid by you or businesses.

There would be no “threat” to Medicare. It simply would be expanded.

Delays could be prevented by paying healthcare providers enough to encourage entry into the market. Given unlimited dollars, there is no reason to scrimp on payments.

Medicare-for-All would benefit everyone, the sick and the well, the young and the old, the rich and the poor.

Unfortunately, because of misinformation and disinformation, very few Americans are able to visualize a true Medicare-for-All program. So they assume the wrong threats.

A Kaiser Family Foundation January 2019 tracking poll revealed that Americans believe  Congress’ top priorities should be:

Percent who say the following is the top priority for Congress

Making sure Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions protections continue: 21%
Lower drug costs: 20%
Implementing Medicare-for-All: 11%
Repealing & replacing Obamacare: 11%e
Protecting people from surprise medical bills: 9%

See how misinformation permeates the answers? With Medicare-for-All, there would be no need for Obamacare,  pre-existing conditions would be protected, drug costs would be zero, and no one would need to worry about surprise medical bills.

Even Bernie Sanders, the foremost proponent of Medicare-for-All, misleads the public.

Bernie starts out well enough. Here’s what his site says:

BETTER COVERAGE 
Bernie’s plan would create a federally administered single-payer health care program. Universal single-payer health care means comprehensive coverage for all Americans.

Bernie’s plan will cover the entire continuum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient care; preventive to emergency care; primary care to specialty care, including long-term and palliative care; vision, hearing and oral health care; mental health and substance abuse services; as well as prescription medications, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostics and treatments.

Patients will be able to choose a health care provider without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR PATIENTS
As a patient, all you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card. Bernie’s plan means no more copays, no more deductibles and no more fighting with insurance companieswhen they fail to pay for charges.

The above is perfect, exactly what the plan should do, though I’m not sure why you would have to show an insurance card. If you’re here, you’re covered. Perhaps there are overseas issues to be worked out.

But anyway, then Bernie goes completely off track. Here is what his web site says:

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
This plan has been estimated to cost $1.38 trillion per year.

THE PLAN WOULD BE FULLY PAID FOR BY:
A 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.
A 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
Progressive income tax rates.

37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million.
52 percent on income above $10 million.

Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work.
Limit tax deductions for rich.
The Responsible Estate Tax.
Savings from health tax expenditures.

If Bernie were honest and courageous, he would have said: THE PLAN WOULD BE FULLY  PAID FOR BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Period.

The above-listed tax increases will pay for nothing. The federal government does not use tax dollars to pay for spending. Tax dollars are destroyed upon receipt.

But Bernie has gone along with the phony “affordability” issue, rather than fighting it.

Image result for bernanke and greenspan

Doesn’t Bernie know we don’t use tax dollars? Why should we? We create all the dollars we need.

Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

Alan Greenspan: “Central banks can issue currency, a non-interest-bearing claim on the government, effectively without limit. A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e., unable to pay its bills. In this sense, the government is not dependent on credit markets to remain operational.

Bernie understands this. He was assisted by Professor Stephanie Kelton, who not only knows Monetary Sovereignty quite well, but has taught it to Bernie.

So, I must assume Bernie believes the American people are not smart enough to understand it — and that they would say, “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” or “Why does the government collect taxes, if they don’t need them,” and other admissions of ignorance that substitute for knowledge.

And he doesn’t have the political courage to set them straight.

Is he right?

What about you? If Medicare-for-All could be accomplished just by your command, without it costing you even one cent, and all you would need to do is tell the politicians, “Give everyone health care,” would you do it?

Should Bernie do it?

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

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

The best way to destroy a good plan is to implement it poorly. Thursday, Jan 10 2019 

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

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