Breitbart: 13 Scary Things in Democrats’ ‘Medicare for All’

Socialism doesn’t necessarily mean governement ownership of the means of production, although that is certainly a valid technical description. It can also mean the simple abolition of private property, as in the ownership of our own lives.

29 thoughts on “Breitbart: 13 Scary Things in Democrats’ ‘Medicare for All’

  1. Good Trump enthusiast beginning – “Socialism” doesn’t mean what it means. It means what I want it to mean.

    Just how does Medicare (you are on it or soon will be) mean that you have lost ownership of your life? Rhetorical question. The words are nonsense. And the fact is that once everyone has basic healthcare coverage that is not tied to employment then everyone will have greater control of their own lives.

    Against my better judgment (it is Breitbart after all) I actually followed the link. Sure enough each and every one of those thirteen scary things was either an outright lie or distorted beyond all recognition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The abolition of private property would by default and by definition mean the public, or “social”, ownership of the means of production. Isn’t that your own definition of socialism?

      As for the Brietbart item, why don’t you pick out one of the outright lies and tell us what it is? Doing so would at least be more useful than your unsubstantiated assertions.


      1. National health insurance is not the abolition of private property. Americans will get to keep more of what they earn and own instead of turning it over to a single industry. Doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc. will still be private businesses. The only ones that may have shift priorities and practices are insurance companies that specialize solely in health.

        Sort of like private fire fighting companies shifted when fire services became public services.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. _RE: “National health insurance is not the abolition of private property.”

          I don’t follow.

          To “nationalize” an industry specifically means to bring it under the ownership or control of a nation state. In other words, to convert it from private property to public property.

          Maybe you have in mind that an industry may remain in private ownership when placed under the control of the state, but that only means that rights in ownership to control the industry as owners normally would are then abolished, which amounts to the same thing.


      2. Abolition of private property? WTF are you talking about?

        Take one lie? Okay. Item 1 : “It bans private insurance”

        Uh, no, it doesn’t. Removing the need to buy for-profit insurance is not banning it. And, just as under current Medicare-for-some there will be supplementary insurance for those wishing to get premium care and coverage.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, then. Medicare for all will still be Medicare for some. It won’t be used by all and it won’t be paid for by all. Instead, it will just be such a superior product that most consumers voluntarily will choose over private insurance?

          Under those circumstances, I suppose, it won’t be necessary to actually ban private insurance. Government insurance will simply drive private insurance out of existence through competition in the market segments it wishes to serve.

          But the difference between “banning” and “driving out” is inconsequential. In fact, should the government insurance prove to be non-competitive with private insurance, banning the competition is something the government can readily do which private insurance cannot. There is a non-zero probability government will resort to bans for that very reason.

          The scenario you describe is just a pipe dream. If private insurance could offer a health care product so superior that nearly everyone would choose it over the competition without coercion, the industry would have done so a long time ago.


          1. What you describe is not Medicare-for-all. It is what has been called the “public option” and that is not what we are talking about.

            Medicare-for-all will NOT be Medicare-for-some. It will be financed by everyone. There will be no opting out any more than you can opt out of current payroll taxes. The main difference is that you will be eligible for its coverage now and not have to wait until you are 65.

            Do you not understand the role that for-profit insurance plays in the current Medicare system? It is actually pretty significant. Look it up.


          2. RE: “Do you not understand the role that for-profit insurance plays in the current Medicare system?”

            I understand just fine, but you apparently don’t.

            Because current Medicare relies on mandatory purchase, mandatory delivery and taxpayer subsidy of costs, the Medicare product is “private” in name only. The owners of the private companies which provide it enjoy few of the normal rights of ownership, such as optional delivery and price setting. For this reason, current Medicare is an almost perfect example of social ownership of the means of production.

            Calling current Medicare “private enterprise” is just putting a figleaf over it.


          3. Your response demonstrates that you do not understand at all. Let me help. Medicare provides basic coverage and a certain level of protection against out-of-pocket costs. It is a government program and does not pretend to be “private enterprise.” It does not rely on a government subsidy. It is more than fully funded by what people pay in. In that respect it is no different than any other insurance provider.

            The “private enterprise” part of the system is the availability of closely intertwined for-profit insurance that tops up the coverage in so-called Medicare Advantage plans. The point here is there will likely still be such plans as part of the Medicare-for-all environment.

            A reasonable analogy is public funding of education. Everyone pays in and everyone is entitled to use it but for those who so desire and can pay more there are all sorts of private and parochial schools they can opt for.


          4. RE: “It does not rely on a government subsidy.”

            I’m afraid it does. Wikipedia: Medicare is funded by a combination of a payroll tax, beneficiary premiums and surtaxes from beneficiaries, and general U.S. Treasury revenue.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. “The total cost of healthcare for a typical family of four is shared by employers and employees. In 2018, about $15,788 of healthcare costs for a family of four will be paid by the employer; $7,674 will be via employee payroll deduction; and $4,704 will be out-of-pocket expenses.“

    Median total income for a family of four is about $55,000. If $23,500 is the cost for insurance alone that is around 40% of median family income. Add in the already taxed Medicare withholding of 3% plus SS of 12% and the cost is over 50%. And that is before high deductibles opened out-of-pocket expenses.

    Here is the big lie from Breitbart: they say Medicare for all is “free”. No one ever said that. The premiums will be payroll deductions just like now except the will total maybe 10-12% instead of 3% for Medicare alone. And deductibles and copays will be lower but not zero. That should free up about $18,000 or much more for that same family to save or spend in other sectors of the economy other than healthcare.

    Right now the inefficiencies of a myriad of private plans with their own forms, codes, networks, etc., are hugely expensive both for patients and providers.

    Add in allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices like just about every other insurance company, government program and nation in the industrial world and it saves even more.

    No it is not free, just a lot less expensive than the mess we have now.

    Maybe we can catch up to our peers in the world in outcomes and life expectancy again.


    1. RE: “Here is the big lie from Breitbart: they say Medicare for all is ‘free’. No one ever said that.”

      If you examine your own reasoning, you may notice that you yourself are claiming there’s a freebie of about $18,000 for a typical family to gain by switching to Medicare for all. That is, the reduction in costs between what people pay now and what they will pay in the future is a magical quantum of healthcare they won’t have to pay a dime for.

      This reasoning assumes, of course, that the forces responsible for current market pricing will cease to affect future market pricing. How confident are you in that prediction?


  3. The $18,000 is not a freebie. Insurance rates, private or public, go down when participation is universal. When young and healthy as well as the less so pay in, insurance acts as designed.

    When hospitals get massive subsidies via tax breaks to help the indigent and that cost is eliminated, that adds to your imaginary “freebie”.

    When the ridiculous administration costs of multiple insurance companies and their layers of bureaucracy plus the equal burden for providers with coders and staff handling claims is gone, there is more of your “freebie”.

    When illnesses are diagnosed earlier and treatment is accessible and affordable without deciding whether to pay rent or get prescription drugs, costs go down and there is more of your “freebie “.

    When we can recoup some of the subsidies to drug companies which benefit from billions in research grants and yet charge us the world’s highest prices. You got, “freebie”.

    When we recoup the massive tax breaks businesses get from covering the inflated premiums for employee insurance. Ditto, “freebie.

    And all this is just scratching the surface, low hanging fruit.

    Trillions in arms even the Pentagon doesn’t want. Corporate welfare, Big Agra subsidies, tax loopholes for fund management. Talk about state control of production. That is socialism on a grand scale. The difference is the recipients are smart, politically connected and wealthy enough to hide it or sell it as “patriotic “. And a working American on the margins is a “taker”.

    We piss away and give away so much money each year yet balk at a way to have universal and affordable access to healthcare.

    Socialism? We have it now. Only when we debate some modicum of security for average Americans does it become “evil”.

    Conservative have pitched the poor and middle classes against each other in culture, religious, arms and race wars. We are kept focused on the border and a watchful eye on liberals who want our guns. And they race to the banks, here and overseas, with money from the government in their “acceptable “ socialism.

    And if anyone notices, it is wealth envy.

    And that has worked like a devil’s charm.

    IMO, not humble either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again: Your reasoning assumes, of course, that the forces responsible for current market pricing will cease to affect future market pricing. How confident are you in that prediction?


    1. No they aren’t. That’s the point you’re missing.

      You mention the “ridiculous administration costs of multiple insurance companies and their layers of bureaucracy,” for example. But government also — notoriously — has administration costs and multiple layers of bureaucracy. A hospital may suffer some complexity in having to deal with multiple insurance companies but government organizations face the same puzzle in having to deal with multiple constituencies. Consider the Department of Defense. To account for every penny of taxpayer money it spends requires a vast financial system in which, according to Donald Rumsfield, $3 trillion was simply lost track of prior to 911.

      No matter how many rationalizations one invents, the idea that government insurance can be cheaper than private insurance remains a magical assumption.


  4. Medicare is actually quite well run. Admin costs are in the 5% range. Shifting to Medicare for all over a reasonable period of time is just a matter of adding personnel to an already fairly efficient system. There will be plenty of professionals available as the private insurance industry contracts.

    Nothing is perfect, but what we have now is an absolute disaster in both coverage and costs of service/administration.ACA was the first effort and it is having problems because the negotiated final bill was inadequate and the slow stripping of parts by the Republicans has made it unrecognizable. Plus ACA was just an insurance subsidy to help lower incomes afford this obscenely priced industry. There were some delivery reforms built in, but not enough.

    Trumpcare is what we have now.

    You, Breitbart and Republicans in general are just making excuses for all the reasons we cannot reform healthcare with a public option at least or Medicare for all at most.

    Trouble is you have no suggestions other than a tweak here and there of exactly what we have.

    Insurance across state lines? Maybe a decent idea, but what does it do to bring down the costs of delivery, drugs, etc.?

    How about pre-existing conditions. Without some form of mandatory premiums, it will result in huge cost increases or the death spiral for some insurance companies.


    1. RE: “Medicare is actually quite well run.”

      So is the DoD, all things considered. But, like the DoD, Medicare also provides inferior services, compared to what it could provide.

      I feel for you in your frustration with the status quo, but I do have a solution for it. Rather, Dr. Tabor and the Tidewater Libertarians have a solution.

      I would go a step further by declaring insurance as a financial instrument used to pay for medical services illegal. Except where medical services may be required as the result of an improbable act of God, “insurance” as a financial intsrument is a fraud.


      1. How do you know Medicare services are inferior to what they “could” provide?

        Don’s plan is nice, but it does little for the pricing of services. Like ACA it is an insurance plan.

        And it also has a federal subsidy for the lower income people by having the government put money into their HSA’s.

        But we still end up with a myriad of private plans with associations. That means administrative nightmares for providers just like now. Pre-existing conditions are not protected. So if you should have some medical issues, but are not happy with your insurance, you cannot leave. No one else will take you.

        I know of no one that is unhappy with Medicare. The service and coverage are excellent.

        Insurance is not a fraud. It keeps people financially responsible for events that they could not afford otherwise, but still affect others, like family or those unable to pay for a variety of reasons.


        1. _RE: “How do you know Medicare services are inferior to what they ‘could’ provide?”

          Because I’ve read numerous discussions of Medicare which point out that health outcomes are no better than and sometimes worse than non-Medicare plans provide.

          Insurance as a financial instrument is no different from betting at a casino. How such a thing can be called responsible as a general principle is beyond me.

          Social insurance is not a financial instrument. It is a redistribution scheme.


  5. I’d like to see those discussions about Medicare v. non-Medicare plans. Do have a citation?


    If you are gambling with your own money, that is one thing.

    But if you get seriously ill and it cost a million dollars to save you and you cannot pay that, it becomes a burden to others. If you have family, you could lose your home, whatever assets you may have. Now it is their problem as well as yours. And if they cannot pay their bills, then they become society’s burden. We don’t generally let children starve in the streets because the parents are deadbeats.

    If you have no one else, but can’t pay the million, the rest of us have to pick up the tab through higher medical costs.

    So it is not all about you. Insurance for health, car and liability is to keep the burden off of others should you fail to make good on your responsibilities.

    A bank won’t let you borrow money for a house unless you can afford insurance. If it is destroyed and you have not enough to cover the cost of rebuilding, they are not going to let your irresponsibility cost them money.

    In a nutshell, not carrying insurance and not having enough assets to cover disasters, is irresponsible. You are then transferring your financial risks onto others.

    Now you are gambling with other people’s money. And they don’t know it until it is too late.


    1. RE: “But if you get seriously ill and it cost a million dollars to save you and you cannot pay that, it becomes a burden to others.”

      You become a burden to others in the same way when you require them to pay into a pool to fund your predictable expenses. That’s not responsibility. That’s “socializing” your obligations.

      Insurance as a financial hedge only works for low-probability events. Just as a bookie can’t take in enough money to pay the same prize to every bettor, an insurance company can’t collect enough in premiums to cover all possible payouts. Both have to be selective, based on the odds of occurrence. As soon as you restrict the selection, while guaranteeing the payout, you are redistributing pooled wealth, not offering financial insurance.

      I understand how difficult it is to accept that some things cannot be made available at low cost to those who want them. But this is often true. Think of taxis rides to the Moon, for example.


  6. I am afraid you don’t understand insurance.

    1. Huge payouts have happened. Lloyds investors have lost fortunes at times, for example. That is why most companies carry re-insurance for major catastrophes.

    2. Actuarial tables are very accurate. Particularly when it comes to health, life and disability.Which is partly why we have Medicare, BTW. People couldn’t get affordable,or any for that matter, health insurance as they aged. Actuarial tables said that expenses would rise dramatically in the last years of life. So did premiums.

    3. Redistributing pooled resources and distribution of risk are the cruxes of insurance. Many pay, but few actually need it. The insurance companies know this well. The difference, you don’t know if you are one of the ones who will not need it or need it. It is all about numbers, not individuals, to the companies. For us, it is all about individuals.

    4. It requires a certain amount of wealth to retire comfortably. Not lavishly, but comfortably. Protecting that wealth so that you don’t become a burden to others is responsible citizenship. And so is protecting the accumulation of that wealth before retiring. And for the same reason.

    5. Our entire financial system is based on insurance of one form or another. Hedge funds, selling short, spreading risks among many investors and investor banks. What failed in 2008 was the failure of insurance, AIG specifically, to be adequately funded along with other shenanigans that were exploited in an era of crappy regulations and regulation enforcement. Remember Greenspan said the market could regulate itself? That worked out well.

    6. It is not a matter of not affording taxis to the moon. It is a matter of affording medical care to stay alive and not be a burden to family and society.


      1. That article is wrong.

        Think about this. Every business in the world worth a scintilla buys insurance and has been doing so for centuries.

        I guess they are all wrong and your man is spot on.

        No wonder climate issues are being denied. I know, not relevant…but it is.


        1. RE: “That article is wrong.”

          I don’t think so. It was recommended to me by a CPA I know with experience auditing health insurance companies.

          What do you think businesses who invest in insurance get for doing so?

          As the article notes, all they get is a promise to pay a certain claim should a defined event occur. It doesn’t matter where or how the insurance company gets the money to pay the claim. Hence there is no “pooling” of risk.


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