Consumer Confidential: $32 trillion for 'Medicare for all'? It's a bargain

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Democrats have done a miserable job selling "Medicare for all" to the American people.

They're adept at highlighting the myriad problems with our healthcare system -- the high costs, the millions uninsured, the financial devastation of getting sick.

But when it comes to solutions, most of the Democratic presidential candidates offer vague policy proposals and sidestep pointed questions about how much healthcare reform would cost.

This is simply foolish. On both counts -- policy and price -- the Dems have a winning political issue.

They can point to other developed countries in making the case for the economics and effectiveness of public health plans, whether we're talking Medicare for all or a similar "public option."

And they can point to current healthcare spending to make a case for why their proposals would cost less than the status quo that conservatives are determined to defend.


Gerald Kominski, a professor of health policy and management at UCLA, tells me the problem with communicating these ideas is that the scope of the problem is so large, and the underlying components so complex, many people can't get their heads around such difficult policy matters.

"This easily slips into Nerd Land," he said.

But once you clear away all the policy brush, Kominski observed, there's a fairly simple message to be conveyed about Medicare for all or any other single-payer system.

"Most families would be better off," he said.


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