One way to help Americans? Medicare for All

Professor Paul f. deLespinasse

Professor Paul f. deLespinasse

The biggest obstacle to convincing people that Medicare for All would save them money is that most Americans grossly underestimate how much medical insurance already costs them. They only see co-pays, deductibles and the so-called “employee share” of employment-based insurance.

Statesman Journal, March 7, 2016
by Paul F. deLespinasse

Win or lose in his presidential quest, Bernie Sanders will have contributed greatly if he convinces Americans that Medicare for All is a good idea. To date, however, he has not done this.

It does not help that he has grossly understated the tax increases for ordinary Americans necessary to finance his proposed single-payer insurance system.

One does not finance a system accounting for 18 percent of the gross domestic product by increasing a family’s taxes by $500, so his claim is not credible on its face. It invites charges that he is just another demagogue promising to pay for expensive programs by soaking only the rich. Everyone knows that something sounding too good to be true probably isn’t.

Speaking frankly about the necessary tax increases would make it harder for Sanders to convince people they will come out ahead financially despite the increased taxes. But there is actually a very strong case Sanders could make that this would be true for most people.