The Republican $40 trillion fallacy

To the editor,

Shouldn’t the world’s richest country – the world’s greatest democracy – strive to provide access to basic health care for all? It’s a noble goal. Republicans claim it would be too expensive. The best estimate is that Medicare for all would cost $40 trillion over the next 10 years!

That would be bad news, except that this is the $40 trillion fallacy! Our present health care system is staggeringly inefficient. Based on a study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies, it’s projected that the cost of health care under our present system will be $50 trillion over the next 10 years!

We spend twice as much on health care as other developed countries that cover all their citizens. We could provide basic coverage for a lot more people for a lot less money. The regime for paying medical providers could be much more fair and efficient. Immense savings could be obtained by trimming the role of insurance companies. Expanded Medicare could do what present Medicare should do but doesn’t – negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for better prices. Enormous savings could be obtained because people with adequate health care require fewer emergency services. Added revenue could be provided by taking the rich and the super rich off Republican-constructed welfare masquerading as tax reform. The truth is that it’s too expensive morally and economically not to have Medicare for all. It’s a goal we should strive to reach.

– Edward Packard, Durango