I like Senator Elizabeth Warren. She’s smart, has an amazing recall of facts and financial minutiae, and has a real understanding of one sad truth about America these days. That truth being that a small cabal of hyper-wealthy billionaires and corporations have been stealing from all of us for over forty years and have essentially wiped out what was once a prosperous middle class. If this isn’t stopped, pretty soon most of us will be subsisting on a diet of rat soup.
Her campaign motto is “I have a plan for that!” Well, that’s great and most of those plans are brilliantly conceived and plausible. One plan though, Medicare for All, has a serious flaw. She cannot bring herself to explain how it will be funded.
I cringed last night watching her on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert evading all his attempts to get her to explain how this idea would be paid for. What’s the problem here?
This is a central problem with the entire Progressive movement, actually. We just can’t bring ourselves to admit that proposals like Medicare for All will cost all of us more money. You can’t just tax the rich to pay for a program like this. All of us will have to pay a lot more of our income to support something like true universal healthcare.
I have conversed with fellow engineers from many countries over the years. An engineer in Finland (a place that has cradle-to-grave healthcare for all) once told me that he pays over 50% of his income to the government. For that sacrifice, he gets healthcare, education, state-of-the-art railroads, roads, and bridges. “Is it worth it?” I asked him. “Absolutely, he replied.
So as Senator Warren gets closer and closer to attaining the Democratic nomination, expect her to be ganged up on this funding issue.
I’d like to humbly propose a different approach for Senator Warren to roll out. Let’s call it “Medicare for Sale.” Allow any citizen to buy into Medicare as their health care solution. Raise the Payroll Tax slightly and, of course, tax the rich to pay for those in lower income tax brackets where the cost would have to be proportionally less.
True, my idea would cause everybody’s taxes to raise a bit, but this would be much less expensive than trying to put the whole population on Medicare overnight.
What would eventually happen? I’d surmise that some small companies would encourage (or force) their employees to switch over to the Medicare plan. This effect would start slowly, but would eventually become a tsunami. All those greedy medical insurance companies would find themselves no longer competitive. It’ll take a few years, but we’d have Medicare for All in America, eventually.