Is Medicare For All A Good Idea?
this is a quick-and-dirty rough cut of a video i did over the weekend.
the folks at evan moor are working to get it up on the website properly. we're pretty excited about it.
it's not finished yet, but i am very interested in your reactions.
here's the rough cut
there's a rough transcript . . .
We've heard the argument before: if we could just get the government out of healthcare, we'd have an affordable system.
But the government has always been in healthcare, ever since the first government-backed insurance program for Civil War veterans.
So, if we're going to get the government out of healthcare, we're going to have to do something big.
And we learned that in the 1920s, when government-backed healthcare programs started spreading.
We learned it again when Medicare was established in the 1960s.
And again when we started talking about Obamacare in the early 21st century.
So let's take it to the next level.
What about universal healthcare?
What about a system that covers all the people in the United States, not just the people who can afford it?
We're here to talk about that today.
We're here to talk about Medicare for All.
When it comes to healthcare, it's been a long time since the government was out of the picture.
In the 1860s, the federal government launched its first insurance program to help Civil War veterans. It was called the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and the first participants were able to check in on April 1st, 1866.
The program provided care for disabled soldiers, but it also offered a benefit to the government.
The soldiers would have somewhere to go when they were sick or injured, and the government would be able to cut costs on caring for soldiers who were too ill to continue fighting.
The program wasn't very successful at first. There were just too many soldiers. But it did find a role during the Spanish-American War and World War I, as more and more people became eligible for coverage.
Historians say that when World War I started, there were about 400,000 veterans in the program. By the time it finished, there were nearly three million.
And the program helped establish a longstanding principle: the federal government was responsible for caring for and supporting its veterans.
Government-Backed Health Care
But government-backed healthcare wasn't just for veterans.
In the 1920s, the US was in the midst of an economic boom. New technologies were displacing workers.
The government was nervous about the economic impact of these changes. President Herbert Hoover proposed a program that would protect workers against the economic risks associated with new technologies.
His proposal was called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
He had planned for Congress to vote to create the program in April 1930, but the first votes weren't cast until more than a year later.
When the votes were finally in, the RFC was approved. And it was given the authority to provide healthcare for workers who had been displaced by new technologies.
The New York Times wrote that the RFC was "the first step toward the nationalization of medical care."
And it may have been. If the RFC was the first step toward nationalized healthcare, then the Social Security Act of 1935 was the next one, when it created a program to cover the health care of older Americans.
In the 1960s, the government took another step. Medicare was created.
With Medicare, the government provided healthcare to people over 65. And when it was passed, the New York Times wrote: "President Johnson signed legislation today to create the Medicare program to provide medical care for persons 65 and over."
And Medicare was followed by Medicaid in the 1970s, a program aimed at helping the very poor pay for their healthcare. And by the time Obamacare made its way through Congress in 2010, the federal government already had programs for workers, for seniors and for the poor.
So if we're going to do something about healthcare, we're going to have to do something big.
And that's where Medicare for All comes in.
Medicare for All
What exactly is Medicare for All?
It's a proposal that has been floating around for decades. In the last few years, it's been getting a lot of support from Democrats and from some Republicans.
It would create a single, unified healthcare system in the US.
The system would be funded by tax revenue. And it would cover healthcare for everyone in the country.
So, how would it work?
First, everyone would have healthcare coverage. And everyone would have the same coverage. It wouldn't matter if you were young or old, rich or poor.
Just like Medicare.
Second, it would be funded by tax revenue.
And third, it would be administered by the government.
It would be a single, unified system that would cover all the people in the US. It would cover hospital care, doctors' visits, prescription drugs and more.
And, just like Medicare, it would be funded by tax revenue.
So, if you're wondering how the government would pay for it, there's your answer. It would be funded by tax revenue, just like Medicare.
And, just like Medicare, it would be administered by the government.
How Would It Be Paid For?
So, how much would it cost?
According to a new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, it would cost $32.6 trillion.
The study doesn't take into account how much money would be saved by eliminating private insurance premiums.
Critics say that