Medicare for All Could Save the US $2T –And That’s the Koch Bros. Estimate

The Mercatus Center is a “Libertarian” think tank funded by the Koch Brothers (among others) and they released a study the other day that showed that the Medicare for All Proposal by Bernie Sanders would provide $2T in health care savings over 10 years.

Got that? Here’s the visual from Mother Jones:

So while this won’t be the last word on this, it is promising that this conservative group comes up with data that demonstrates the long term cost benefits of a Medicare for All system. And keep in mind that the GDP of the medical system here is close to 18% while in the UK it is 10%.

It’s a positive development and a development that these very same wingnuts will be furiously paying for studies to try to counter act. And if you read the report, they have spin that doesn’t match their data. So they will be screaming about higher taxes while handwaving through the fundamental change to the insurance industry that would happen under this plan. In other words, we wait for the usual wingnuts to work their latest strategy to own the libs by reminding everyone they’ve failed math class.

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

29 comments on “Medicare for All Could Save the US $2T –And That’s the Koch Bros. Estimate

  1. Really want this government to run healthcare??? A great deal needs to be fixed, FIRST!

    Let’s start with term limits. And your getting this from Bernie, who has only feed off the teet of the public and has never held a real job in his life!

    The poor vets are suffering!

    • Term limits? Which does what? Where do you get these ideas from? Could you please provide some connection from term limits to some logical conclusion. i.e. If we had term limits, then Congress would …….

  2. When I managed very large projects/programs for the Department of Energy, the contractors would deliver schedules that identified a completion date 38 or so years in the future. I had to explain to them that there is no way to determine the validity of such a schedule that will continue longer than I will be alive. I made them break it down to detailed 5 year increments that at least had the possibility of being real.

    There is no way to validate that study’s $32.6 number, nor the projected savings of $2T. They are just numbers without much context or meaning. While, I have doubts about the efficacy of M4A, I have no doubt that we should be working on reducing the costs of health care, especially the costs for prescription medicine. There is no plan for universal health care or otherwise that does not necessitate reducing costs and there is no reason why efforts to reduce those costs have to wait until some grand plan is developed and put into effect.

    Every time someone talks about universal health care, I tune out. If they talk about measures to reduce costs, I pay attention. Affordable health care can only be achieved if we identify the largest cost drivers and create some solutions. I await a potential leader who will work towards that objective.

    • Who let in the rational Democrat?

    • cassandram

      There is no way to validate that study’s $32.6 number, nor the projected savings of $2T. They are just numbers without much context or meaning.

      First up, project or construction schedules do not equal economic models. Second, these models are less about precision (although there are fields of econometry and math that work on this) and more about trying to create a good enough projection of long-term impacts of changes to underlying conditions. As long as you have some confidence in how the model works — it works consistently and provides a reasonable quantification of the world you are examining, you can get to some reliable place to make decisions from. It is a theoretical construct, but the entire world is set up to make decisions from them — OMB analysis and projections; banks and their predictive models for trading or even for long-term business opportunity; businesses of all kinds modeling risk in order to better manage them. Macroeconomic modeling is certainly not perfect because there is no way to have perfect information. But they *are* one of many decision-making tools of many. Your insurance company has a “model” of you and uses that model for better or worse to set your premium.

      There is no doubt that this won’t be the last word, but does add to a body of evidence that single-payer of this sort can end up saving money. But the claim that these are numbers without context or meaning is pretty much you telling us that you read none of this paper.

  3. meatball

    “Affordable health care can only be achieved if we identify the largest cost drivers and create some solutions. I await a potential leader who will work towards that objective.”

    That’s an easy one….labor. Doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff. Outsource coders to India. Import Filipino nurses because they work for lower wages. It has been going on for years.

    • And yet, health care costs continue to rise. Well, that’s not working. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

    • @Dave. Term limits, will prevent these career politicians who have their hands out, to continue on, it’s crazy!

      First of all, Dr’s should be doing the coding, especially in the Dr’s office. TOO, many mistakes. Their doing the services, not the Dr’s.
      Try dealing with the government, when the people don’t even know how to spell credentialing or what it is!

  4. “Dr’s should be doing the coding, especially in the Dr’s office. TOO, many mistakes. ”

    So a guy who thinks everything should be cheaper than it is want doctors who make more than $100 an hour to do data entry, rather than hire someone to do it at $20 an hour.

    Now I understand why you’re always whining about spending — you don’t know how to control your own.

    • You beat me to it. Cost saving measure = turn doctors into coders.

      • @ Dave. The DR’s do the coding right on the charts. It’s as easy as that.

        • Yes, it’s very easy, which is why it’s absurd to have doctors do it rather than coders. Do you actually know any doctors other than those who treat you? If you did you’d know what a stupid suggestion you made. Do you have pets? Are they smarter than you, too? How about plants?

        • cassandram

          One big way to reduce cost is to reform the fee-for-service model. That’s why you have all of this coding in the first place.

          • Some organization’s of Dr’s offices, the physician gets a salary plus bonus using higher reimbursement codes.
            Also, It took the US Government too long to go from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The HHS delayed it numerous times, wasting tons of money for the medical field to implement the changes!
            AND, who was President OBAMA!!!
            Won’t comment on the absurd and ignorant…not directed at you Cassandra.

            • No, yours is a comment BY the absurd and ignorant. My doctor went to a boutique practice rather than deal with ICD 10. I could find no evidence for your “tons of money” claim, but that’s standard. You’re never right about anything.

              • I’ll do this for the last time and respond to you. Yes, the PRIVILEGE can afford that type of service.

                “One more year of ICD-10 implementation delay could cost anywhere between $1 billion and $6.6 billion across the healthcare industry, according to estimates by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” 2014

                • The point isn’t who could afford it. It’s that ICD-10 is more burdensome to doctors than ICD-9 was, and that using doctors’ time to do simple chores is a waste of that time.

                  By the way, the expenditure you list is against total health care spending of $3.2 trillion in 2015. Even at the highest estimate, that’s 0.2 percent of the total. That means that for every $1,000 spent on health care, $2 extra was spent because of the delay. If the lower estimate is true, it’s 66 cents per $1,000.

                  Once again, you have focused on a sum of money that’s vanishingly close to zero.

                  By the way, your link chastised the U.S. for being 10 years behind Canada in adopting the new standards. It failed to note that we’re decades behind in controlling health-care costs through a single-payer system.

                  • Yea, right Al. Let the government run healthcare like they do the VA! Long lines, etc.
                    Again, you’re one of the privileged (1%) who can afford the entitled service. The Dr who could pick his healthy patients and not the ones that come in for every little thing. They tend to be for the wealthy.
                    Yes, people like you! Who talk a good game about single-payer, but are really one of the elitist who couldn’t be bothered with the traditional system.
                    Just a fake!

                    NOW, go ahead and call names your usual MO, to people who don’t agree with you. Go down, to the below belly of a snake!

                    • Stan Merriman

                      I’ve used the VA for 15 years at two different hospitals and have never, never experience long lines. This system, underfunded as it is, is run very efficiently with outcome results exceeding the civilian sector with a very medically challenged clientele.

                    • If I stop calling you names, will you acknowledge that you don’t know what you’re talking about? I am not one of the 1%. Single-payer is not “government run.” It just means you don’t have many companies competing for the healthiest patients at the expense of the unhealthiest — one company covers everybody, so there’s no need to waste resources trying to weed out the people who need health care.

                      If I stop calling you names will you improve your reading comprehension? All I said was that my doctor left a hospital-based practice because she was spending too much time coding instead of seeing patients.

                      If I stop calling you names, will you start doing your own research about issues you have questions about?

  5. The other part of this is everyone would be covered

  6. Gee, does this mean it’s not “the greatest healthcare system in the world”? How about the worst? Say what you will but American healthcare is falling of it’s own weight and bankrupting tens of thousands in the process. At it’s heart it’s yet another great American racket where money is transferred from the many to the few. Two dozen other countries have had universal coverage for decades, pay much less than we do and have controlled costs.

  7. Stan Merriman

    The cost and inflation gorilla in the room are hospitals. This is where the big $$$ are generated, way beyond RX drugs, though they certainly are a huge factor. The problem with hospitals is that after the 80’s, they became unregulated by states; prior to that they had to justify expansion and added services with data and studies to prove they were needed. For profit hospitals then evolved into profit centers, without the burden of paying taxes. They grew in services and facilities, often unneeded and so the competitive model took over to shake out winners and losers. But they competed not with lower costs or efficiencies, but with technology and buying superstar doctors/practices to claim competitive superiority; they then merged into networks and systems to dominate markets, again with no regulation. Their dirty little secret is that many are just a shell of four walls. Inside are for profit contractors running the ER, the pharmacy, housekeeping, labs, operating rooms, nursing staffs, foodservice, laundry, rehab and virtually all services inside the shell……subcontractors sending home profit $, untaxed at the hospital level. This arrangement adds to costs, which in many cases are not the basis of charges, but rather from the whim of a CFO’s operating without real cost accounting systems for decades; winging it as it were. It is a hugely inefficient system. Add to that hospital’s use of upcoding software or vendors surveying their bills before going out and identifying higher reimbursement codes that would apply to a procedure done on the patient; very clever and very inflationary. What we have here is capitalism run amuck with no oversight, no public accountability on results or costs. Until they are price regulated, nothing will change.

    • Stan: First of all, I sincerely thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country. I have family members, who have also served and utilized the VA systems, only to face waiting for services. Getting hearing aids, getting appointments in a timely fashion. I know there are good and bad issues, with the VA.

      Again, Thank you!

  8. delacrat

    “…identifying higher reimbursement codes that would apply to a procedure done on the patient; very clever and very inflationary.” – Stan

    Sounds like fraud.

    • Stan Merriman

      commonly and legally practiced across the country.

      • so are a lot of reprehensible things. “because people do it” is the worst reason to do something.

        • Perhaps you missed the part that said it’s legal. Lots of people do lots of legal things. Seeking compensation for service is pretty much what everybody does in a capitalist society.

          What Stan is calling for is actual socialized medicine. Even most single-payer countries consider that sub-optimal.

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