Medicare for All: Do the Numbers!

Nancy Folbre
12 December 2018

I’m increasingly convinced that we need to develop a larger care agenda, and health care is obviously central

We want it, we can afford it, and its cost-effective. A Reuters-Ipsos survey in August found that 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans support the single-payer health care system dubbed “Medicare for All. Partly as a result, the market for naysayers and skeptics is booming. A study by the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University pronounced the concept economically impractical. A more thoughtful piece in the New York Times complained of a need for more specifics.

Both objections are deftly met and overcome by the detailed numbers in a new study published by a team at the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst led by Robert Pollin, which you can find here. Full disclosure: I am proud to acknowledge the authors as my colleagues. The report is gaining media coverage, but its hard to get mainstream reporters to pay close attention to economic analysis, especially when it goes against their priors. So check it out and forward the links to any who might be interested. I have generally avoided health care issues on this blog, because they are complicated and I don’t have a lot of expertise in the area. But I’m increasingly convinced that we need to develop a larger care agenda, and health care is obviously central. Let’s start thinking about ways to roll together.

2 comments on "Medicare for All: Do the Numbers!"

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    Ann Ferguson

    A recent Op Ed against Single Payer in Ma in the Gazette argued that in fact Mass taxpayers would have to foot a hefty increase tax bill in order to fund it. What are the Pros and Cons of trying to go for Single Payer in individual states (I know Vermont had a referendum which supported Single Payer health care but then the governor decided not to implement it because it would be too expensive)? The problem seems to me to be that with our federal vs state system of paying for health care and the current political climate, we could only get state by state single payer in order to eventually get to Medicare for All but that turns out to be a burden on taxpayers (without something like a state millionaire tax to fund singer payer state health care).

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    The Pollin et al. report has some very specific suggestions about a wealth tax. It deserves much wider media coverage than it has yet received.

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