‘Medicare for All’ would cover everyone, save billions in first year


Economist says Canadian-style, single-payer health plan would reap huge savings from reduced paperwork and from negotiated drug prices, enough to pay for quality coverage for all – at less cost to families and businesses

Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.

That’s the chief finding of a new fiscal study by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. There would even be money left over to help pay down the national debt, he said.

Friedman says his analysis shows that a nonprofit single-payer system based on the principles of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 45 other lawmakers, would save an estimated $592 billion in 2014. That would be more than enough to cover all 44 million people the government estimates will be uninsured in that year and to upgrade benefits for everyone else.

“No other plan can achieve this magnitude of savings on health care,” Friedman said.

His findings were released this morning [Wednesday, July 31] at a congressional briefing in the Cannon House Office Building hosted by Public Citizen and Physicians for a National Health Program, followed by a 1 p.m. news conference with Rep. Conyers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others in observance of Medicare’s 48th anniversary at the House Triangle near the Capitol steps. A copy of Friedman’s full report, with tables and charts, is available here.

Friedman said the savings would come from slashing the administrative waste associated with today’s private health insurance industry ($476 billion) and using the new, public system’s bargaining muscle to negotiate pharmaceutical drug prices down to European levels ($116 billion).

“These savings would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to our health system, including the achievement of truly universal coverage, improved benefits, and the elimination of premiums, co-payments and deductibles, which are major barriers to people seeking care,” he said.

Friedman said the savings would also fund $51 billion in transition costs such as retraining displaced workers from the insurance industry and phasing out investor-owned, for-profit delivery systems.

Over the next decade, the system’s savings from reduced health inflation (“bending the cost curve”), thanks to cost-control methods such as negotiated fees, lump-sum payments to hospitals, and capital planning, would amount to an estimated $1.8 trillion.

“Paradoxically, by expanding Medicare to everyone we’d end up saving billions of dollars annually,” he said. “We’d be safeguarding Medicare’s fiscal integrity while enhancing the nation’s health for the long term.”

Friedman said the plan would be funded by maintaining current federal revenues for health care and imposing new, modest tax increases on very high income earners. It would also be funded by a small increase in payroll taxes on employers, who would no longer pay health insurance premiums, and a new, very small tax on stock and bond transactions.

“Such a financing scheme would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, restore free choice of physician, guarantee all necessary medical care, improve patient health and, because it would be financed by a program of progressive taxation, result in 95 percent of all U.S. households saving money,” Friedman said.

Friedman’s findings are consistent with other research showing large savings from a single-payer plan. Single-payer fiscal studies by other economists, such as Kenneth E. Thorpe (2005), have arrived at similar conclusions, as have studies conducted by the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accountability Office in the early 1990s. Other studies have documented the administrative efficiency and other benefits of Canada’s single-payer system in comparison with the current U.S. system.

Friedman’s research was commissioned by Physicians for a National Health Program, a nonprofit research and educational organization of more than 18,000 doctors nationwide, which wanted to find out how much a single-payer system would cost today and how it could be financed.

“Funding H.R. 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act – How we can afford a national single-payer health plan in 2014,” by Gerald Friedman, Ph.D., Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


  1. Elias Forin on August 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

    This will put us in the forefront among the progressive countries like New Zealand and Finland.

  2. DON HOLLAND on August 15, 2013 at 10:27 am


  3. Jim Prues on August 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

    This isn’t news. This is just a bubble breaking through the broken media’s stranglehold on truth. The only reason we don’t have universal healthcare is because corporate behemoths like Anthem, Humana and United Healthcare would make a few less billion. We must continue to stand and press for truth to ‘turn this ship around.’

    • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      so you are ready to pay 18.8% of your income for health care like the French?
      and buy additional PRIVATE insurance so you can actually go to the doctor like 92% of the French?

      or would you like to go with the German model @ 15.5% each?

      or how about the U K – where drugs are rationed – Google “U K drug rationing” to learn about it

      • InsuranceRates on August 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        That sounds a lot better than no health insurance, ruinous medical bills, and spiraling health care costs. I wouldn’t mind if costs were spiraling DOWN, but that’s a pipe dream.

      • Dan on August 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        TROLL!!! I pay $1000 a month (after the company kicks in $70/wk) in premiums and $400 a month in copays when NOTHING goes wrong. My wife needs 3 diagnostics for CANCER that we can not AFFORD because the SCUM consider them surgeries with a $1500 copay! (biopsies and colonoscopy)

      • John Barker on August 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        Assuming that the average income of Americans is $50,000 / year and that premiums for any health insurance policy with significant healthcare coverage is $15,000 / year you are looking at paying 30% of your income for health insurance. For Americans making less than $50,000 health care insurance simply isn’t affordable. Paying 18% of your income for healthcare would be a bargain—give me the French or Canadian style health care any day!

  4. PublicHealthGal on August 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The evidence is overwhelming. It works well in many other countries. Yet here the issue of true coverage for all is marginalized. We may know we are virtuous. But I’m weary of never seeing this issue get into the mainstream. We are strangled by the status quo private-sector dominated medical care system. Obamacare is something Republicans would have supported back in the Clinton days. Now they want nothing. After many years of health reform activism, I’m at a loss on how to fight for meaningful change.

    • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      actually health reform was tested in 8 states and failed in 7

      MA has not yet failed because the federal government is pumping millions into it to keep it afloat

  5. Stu on August 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

    It’s illogical not to expand Medicare… It’s actually insane when you consider it will save money, lives, and cover every American citizen… It’s a no brainer…. The only reason this illogical system has continued so long is lobbyist and payoffs by the insurance industry to our sell-out politicians… We the people have had just about enough of this crap… Obamacare is a step but it’s a very small step when you consider the insurance industry is still sitting at the table trying to use there predatory tactics…. HR676 is the answer!

    • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      It will NOT save money – 12,000 per person per year is the government share, but there is another 3,000 per person that is OFF BUDGET

      and then there is another 300 – 500 per month that must be purchased from private insurers to get coverage

      Medicaid is over 15,000 per person per year, with another 2 – 3000 off budget

      look up wages, benefits, retirement, building costs, utilities, printing, postage in the HHS budgets and see for yourself – the costs are there – but they are not in the HHS budget. They are in OPM and GSA budgets – where they are not counted so stupid people think it costs less than it does

      • Charlie Duncan on October 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

        Sociopathic bullshit! You have absolutely no understanding of single-payer — indeed you don’t want to understand because knee-jerk apologists for corporate welfare don’t need to learn the facts. And, even if a single-payer system did increase my tax burden, I’d much rather pay for human health than corporate welfare. You’re probably just fine with the trillions of dollars wasted on the military and bludgeoning civilians with American bombs, and the trillions of dollars banks and investment corporations have stolen from Americans, because morons who can’t think straight simply react by parroting what Fox News and the Tea Party tell them to think. You’re simply an imbecile.

  6. Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Most of medicare is administered by private insurance. About 90% of all Medicare is administered by private insurance carriers.
    Why do most Canadians have private insurance? Why is most of the EU going to private market insurance?
    Also, have any of you solved cutting Drs wages by 40%?
    Private insurance has the lowest margins in any industry. 4% – Most of the profit is from ancillary product lines and short term investments.

    • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      @Mike B. Yes, CMS hires contractors. Your point? Medicare administrative overhead is 3-4%, compared to 20-30% overhead for private insurance companies. Yes, the roughly 4% profits of insurance companies would be eliminated by H.R 676, ‘Medicare for All’, but that is only a small part of $255B in savings on administrative costs of insurers, Medicaid, and employers. Btw, the bill provides $50B to compensate investors.

      Why do consumers with socialized health insurance coverage often buy supplemental–not replacement–‘private’ insurance if they can afford to? If the government gave everyone a subsidized Toyota, but you could upgrade to a Lexus by paying extra…(duh).

      • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        Only one problem with your point – it’s false

        Medicare admin cost is not 3%

        Because Medicare – HHS keeps Medicare costs off budget – there are no budgeted costs for wages, benefits, retirement, buildings, utilities, printing, etc

        Medicare admin costs are born by PRIVATE insurers first

  7. Daniel Murphy on August 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Like many others ‘I too had been hoodwinked into simply accepting the United States had a superior health care delivery system’. Then I received a heavy dose of reality from ‘United Health Care’. After leaving a high stress job I took the COBRA option to retain my health insurance while I considered my prospects. For three months I paid United Health Care (UHC), nearly $900.00, to continue my family’s health insurance. This corporation “NEVER” acknowledged receipt of my payments or sent me “ANY” document to prove I had coverage by them. Dozens of calls and endless hours on hold to this corporation proved pointless and brought my stress level far beyond the degree I experienced at my job. During one conversation with a “customer service representative” I was actually chastised for expecting this mega corporation to provide me a paper statement showing my ‘on time’ payments or even a card I could show at my doctor’s office. Looking back it seemed that by design, it was the mission of UHC to thwart me from receiving any document that could prove my association with this entity, while bleeding my bank account as much as they could. I never received a simple measure of satisfaction from UHC. They seemed perfectly content to have ‘some guy from somewhere’ send them several hundred dollars a month without reciprocating in any ethical manner. Knowing full well, with their enormous resources they could easily render me to insignificant status. For me ‘United Heal Care’ is the poster child for moral turpitude – and no doubt in my mind have caused extreme duress to perhaps tens of thousands of ordinary people whom follow the rules of society and only expect to be treated in kind. Single Payer cannot come fast enough.

    • Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Dan, COBRA is just an extension of benefits through your employer. Your employer is responsible for administering COBRA benefits. UHC just throws the light switch on and off based on what the employer wants them to do. It is probably too late but go back to the employer. Most states have a guarantee option for people. You have to request a kit and it is not the same plan as you are currently in.
      The other alternative is to go out into the marketplace and see what type of plan you can get based on your budget. Where you live will determine this.

      • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        COBRA allows a former employee to continue with the same coverage by paying the ENTIRE premium. Sometimes it is a shock when workers learn how much their private health insurance coverage REALLY costs. You do have to elect to continue coverage under COBRA (within 6 months). Good luck shopping for health insurance in the ‘market’, since 90% of states have highly concentrated markets where 2 or 3 insurers control 90% of the market– there is no effective competition. And you can (will) be denied if anyone in your family has a preexisting condition, which includes pregnancy. Single Payer eliminates the fear of losing your job and losing you and your family’s health care insurance.

        • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

          @ jeff

          medical bankruptcy increased in MA just like other states

          non-paid ER visits increased in MA just like other states

        • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

          “Single Payer eliminates the fear of losing your job and losing you and your family’s health care insurance.”

          so where will the money for premiums come from such as now when 1/3 of the population is not earning income?

      • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

        Last point on COBRA: your age and health condition determines cost and availability of health insurance coverage– much more so than where you live.

  8. ahmed kutty,MD on August 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    The writer above(MikeB) should check poll numbers and electoral races in Canada,UK and any EU country,when healthcare financing was made a campaign issue by Conservatives to find that the people everywhere overwhelmingly support a publicly funded system.Private systems take away money going to direct patient care for prfits,CEO salaries,marketing and other unncessary expenses.Doctors,nurses,physical therapists and all other allied healthcare professionals get wellpiad in a publicly financed system such as our Medicare with a 3%(at the most overhead),compred to 20 to 30% for the forprofit private plans.Freemarket ideolgy and mechanisms have proved dismal failures when applied to delivering healthcare,in most of the advance industrial societies,since WW11.

    • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      the 3% is false

      the well paid is false

      why do you think 50% of practitioners decline Medicare and Medicaid

      Google “Medicare cost shifting” and learn more about that “well paid” lie

  9. Val on August 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Medicare costs $12,000 a year per person, and is scheduled to be broke in ten years. Medicare recipients, adjusted for age and health, use FIFTY PERCENT more services. Why? It is all free. Surely, “medicare for all” will result in over utilization when it becomes “free.” From where will all those resources come?

    What you are proposing is a centrally planned and controlled health care system; a socialized system even though socialism has never before been successful. In the UK, people are getting very unhappy with the NICE system that determines how many life years someone has before deciding whether that person can get certain procedures. Certain cancer drugs are not available through NHS that can be had if they come to America. Many are going outside to a private system to get good care. You have to conclude, therefore, that the bottom of the bucket stays in NHS. Certainly, Medicare recipients are already only able to choose from the bottom of the bucket because so many physicians refuse to participate in the nightmare of Medicare.

    In France, 97% of the population have private care insurance, even as the inefficient, and sometimes deadly, system trudges along.

    In Canada, there is a push to allow private care because people are becoming disenchanted with “free” health care. Many Canadians come to America to get medical care. My friend in Canada recently had a child. She was allowed two cloth diapers and one washcloth at a time. The washcloth had to be rinsed and used again. Her husband went out and bought diapers and wipes for them. Of course, everything is “free.”

    And, most importantly, America enjoys the highest cancer survival rate than any socialized system (references available – not WHO’s contorted 37% number. Why would we fool with something that has become so hated in other places in the world?

    Before this health care takeover, 85% of people were happy. Why couldn’t you socialists deal with that 15% and leave the rest of us alone? As it is, no one in America goes without medical care if he/she wants it. There are thousands of free clinics across the country and emergency rooms are prohibited from declining anyone.

    And, Gerald Friedman is a leftist “expert.” You can give a non-socialist economist the same data and he will come up with a solution that values freedom.

    • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      @Val: Source(s) for “Medicare recipients, adjusted for age and health, use FIFTY PERCENT more services.”? More than what? As for being “free” (the reason why, you claim, Medicare folks use 50% more services), obviously you have no direct experience with Medicare. In the USA, Medicare pays for less than 80% of cost– if you can find a doctor or facility that will handle Medicare patients. Read on.

      You make a big deal of the fact that many folks with socialized may often also have “private” insurance (why? see: above). Why are you surprised that most on Medicare have supplemental insurance?

      As for coming to the US for care not available elsewhere, in fact the opposite is true. For years, Americans have been medical “tourists” to get lower prices for procedures. For example, I almost went to Thailand to get a hip surgery procedure and appliance that was not available in the US for nearly a decade after it was adopted by the NHS for appropriate patients. Oh yeah, it was only after reading NICE NHS guidelines that I realized that this procedure (BHR) was both safe and effective, and that I was likely a good candidate.

      For years I had paid “member dues” out of my own pocket for health care from one of the “best” HMO’s in the US, Kaiser Permanente. They denied me the surgery I needed– which was not yet approved by the FDA (probably because it was made inn UK, not US)– lied to me about my condition, and tried to trick me into settling for a much cheaper procedure– one likely to require future revisions that would leave me in a nursing home by the time I was old enough for Medicare.

      While Blue Cross was reimbursing their clients to get this procedure outside the US– Kaiser refused– and I could not change my insurance due to this pre-existing condition! So much for private health care and Mr.Market.

      Because of the delay and the lies of K-P staff my career imploded and I ended up permanently disabled with chronic pain and a ruined back and multiple arthritis. Btw, you can’t find a lawyer to file medical malpractice where in California because of a decades-old “reform” that protects bad doctors and severely limits damages for victims.

      Because I kept working at lower paying jobs while I became more and more disabled, my disability from Social Security is a pittance, $8K/year. After two years I was able to get Medicare, but I still need supplemental insurance and am forever stuck with K-P.

      Never mind that your statements about cancer survival rates suggest a misunderstanding of epidemiology, statistics and scientific proof– the public policy health goals, for any nation, should not merely be higher cancer survival rates (over what period of time?), but LOWER OVERALL RATES OF CANCER!

      Btw, disposable diapers are not health care, and to the best of my knowledge, NO insurance in the US, public or private, pays for diapers– and why should they?

      Methinks you do not know how good you have it (in Canada?), sir!

      • Val on August 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm


        1. Utilization: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=20872&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DPD
        Actually, in terms of information, I assist my neighbor with what is the Medicare nightmare. She has a chronic condition, continually has to appeal and is usually denied. Obviously, I have some direct experience. A Medicare recipient has no where to appeal but to the government. I wish them luck with that.

        2. Medicare supplements are not primary insurance. Medicare has the highest denial rate and seniors have virtually no other choice (unless they were government employees).

        3. I note you DID NOT go to Thailand.

        4. You should have known better than to have Kaiser HMO. HMOs are the closest thing to socialized medicine without calling it “government owned.” You could have also appealed to your state insurance commissioner, and then to the courts, if necessary.

        5. Hospitals don’t provide diapers while in the hospital? Honestly, you jest. Okay, so diapers are not “health care.” Is taking the life of an unborn baby called “health care”? Psst … I’m not in Canada, thank God.

        6. Cancer survival: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

        Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

        Satisfaction: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”[3]
        [1] Concord Working Group, “Cancer survival in five continents: a worldwide population-based study,.S. abe at responsible for theountries, in s chnologies, ” Lancet Oncology, Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2008, pages 730 – 756; Arduino Verdecchia et al., “Recent Cancer Survival in Europe: A 2000-02 Period Analysis of EUROCARE-4 Data,” Lancet Oncology, Vol. 8, No. 9, September 2007, pages 784 – 796.

        [2] U.S. Cancer Statistics, National Program of Cancer Registries, U.S. Centers for Disease Control; Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada; also see June O’Neill and Dave M. O’Neill, “Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S.,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 13429, September 2007. Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w13429.

        [3] Cathy Schoen et al., “Toward Higher-Performance Health Systems: Adults’ Health Care Experiences In Seven Countries, 2007,” Health Affairs, Web Exclusive, Vol. 26, No. 6, October 31, 2007, pages w717-w734. Available at http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/reprint/26/6/w717.

      • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        you need to recheck your math

        HHS budget for medicare / number of people on medicare = over 12,000 per person


        most of the HHS Medicare costs are off the books – look at the missing items off HHS’s budget
        wages, matching taxes, benefits, retirement, buildings, utilities, printing, postage

        those costs are on the OPM and GSA budgets – shifted to make Medicare look better than it is

  10. Doreen on August 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm


    • Val on August 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Doreen. Medical bankruptcy. I couldn’t read the rest of your screaming (all caps). http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/263547-the-myth-of-medical-bankruptcy

      • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

        @Mike B.– Regarding medical bankruptcies, please look at more recent studies that address the issues critics have raised. The rate actually climbed higher during the Great Recession. Even accepting your sources’ figure of 17% (in 2006), this is still 1 in 6, making medical bills a very significant cause of personal bankruptcy.


        • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

          so why are medical bankruptcy up in MA to the same level as next door states?

          why is unpaid ER use up in MA equal to the next door state’s levels?

      • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        Sorry Mike B., I meant @Val….

  11. Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    By the way, In France during the heatwave of 2002 and 2003 12k people died of dehydration. Would that ever happen in the US? NO. Around 42k died as a result of that heatwave in related countries.

    • Candy on August 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Wasn’t there a heat wave that hit Chicago in the 1990’s that killed a couple hundred people????

      • Sara on August 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

        Yes there was! And there was also the natural disaster Katrina where countless people died of dehydration & infection… It does happen here in America folks!

        • Mike B on August 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm

          Yes it does happen but never to the level we saw in France and that region. 42k people died. It would be like the region of Chicagoo and surrounding area.
          With single payer systems it is always about allocation of resources. it is never about the quality of care or outcomes.

    • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      @Mike B.–In 1995 Chicago and the Midwest had a lethal heat wave. Excess deaths in Chicago alone reached between 750 and ~1,000, for a city of 8.3M. The heat-related deaths in France were probably higher (~14.5K) than the number you gave, but in a population of 59.8M. In any case, the ratios (1:11,066 or 1:8,300 vs.1:4,124) are on the same order of magnitude in Chicago as in France. So, wrong again, boyo!

  12. Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Medical bankruptcy myth. Most people file bankruptcy because they may get sick but do not have savings or disability.


    • single payer now! on August 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      This couldn’t be more wrong! 80% of all personal bankruptcies that are filed were from individuals who had insurance! Unless you are very rich, no one can have enough money saved in their bank accounts to protect themselves from the outrageous cost of medical bills. And having insurance coverage doesn’t help much either. Talk to all the families that have sick children and do not qualify for Medicaid. What do you say to them when they have a $100,0000 dollar medical bill and their insurance hardly covers anything? I hope you are never sick or have a child that is sick, because this is the nightmare millions of Americans are living every day!

      • Val on August 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm


        Before the government took over 16 of our economy, 85% were happy. Why didn’t they deal with that 15% and leave the rest of us alone?

        • Charlie Duncan on October 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

          Since the government took over the economy? Like in 1776? Tell me, why do right-wing fanatics continually resurrect the “socialism” bogeyman? Despite your erroneous claim, government-supported social welfare (not totalitarian socialism) has worked in many nations (including this one — Medicare has worked just fine and is not bankrupting the nation — that claim has no legitimacy), at least in terms of providing for the social welfare and security of its citizens. Moreover, I’m guessing you’re just fine with “socialism” for corporations and the military, the real reasons the nation is in perpetual recession! As for single-payer, anytime –ANYTIME– in any economic system you secure a product through an intermediary, you pay more. That is the simplest of economic principles. Do you think all the huge “healthcare-for-their-profit” corporations are in the business as a hobby? No, they understood the American system of laissez-faire capitalism very well, and exploited Americans through political graft and bribes to secure a system that will make them trillions of dollars and provide only a very few with quality health care — those are current facts. But don’t let your beliefs get in the way of understanding the facts or of entertaining the idea that a system that has worked throughout the world might work in the U. S., other than the intransigence of a small proportion of corporation mobsters and their political whores, and the unyielding stupidity of right-wing nutjobs.

    • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      @Mike B.– Regarding medical bankruptcies, please look at more recent studies that address the issues critics have raised. The rate actually climbed higher during the Great Recession. Even accepting your sources’ figure of 17% (in 2006), this is still 1 in 6, making medical bills a very significant cause of personal bankruptcy.


      • Mike B on August 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        We classify bankruptcies as medical bankruptcies as people having a baby or even taking a couple rx. Even know all these people have insurance. Just does not pass the smell taste.
        Fixing stats to fit an argument.

  13. Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    NHS Drs make about $85k.
    Insurance company CEOs as a % of total revenue for a company is .0004%.
    it is a mute issue. Plus if you took all of the profits from insurance carriers it would fund healthcare for 1 day.
    Most insurance carriers and hospitals are non profit.

    • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      @Mike B.– You offer a handful of unrelated facts, but fail to make any argument. Btw, I am not commenting here to beat up on private insurance companies.

      H.R.676, Medicare for All, will result in $334B in savings on provider administrative overhead and pharmaceutical costs– which include all those non-profit hospitals and HMOs.


      • Mike B on August 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

        Where is the savings. Medicare has a higher admin cost to claim ratio? Most statistics do not factor or account state and local budgets for Medicare. So if every Dr is paid less where do Drs make up the money in savings? It has to do with reimbursement rates. The one item I think all of you miss is admin is a very small cost to the plan.

  14. Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Why do Canadians come to the US for care? Why is there a marketplace in Buffalo and other border areas that treat those markets?

    Why is it that lasik, plastic surgery, and gastric bypass have come down in price while other surgeries have gone up?

    • answer today! on August 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      Why do Americans go to Canada for Care? Why do Americans go to Europe for care? My friend has dual citizenship (America & Canada) Why does she go back home for care? And not get care here? People go all over the world for care?

      • Val on August 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

        Do you have statistics for that? News story about how Americans stream to Canada for care? Or is that simply your single anecdotal opinion?

        • answer today on August 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

          Statistics vary from site to site. No statistic is fully accurate. I just got done reading an article that Sara Palin admits going to Canada for medical care? Is this true? And that there are thousands of Americans that cross the border illegally to get care? Google it and see what you come up with….

    • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      @Mike B.– Why do Canadians come to the US for elective procedures not covered by the national health system? Hmmm. Maybe ’cause the loonie is strong and the greenback is weak?

      But if you think health insurance should cover elective procedures, or unproven or ineffective treatments, then I think you misunderstand the purpose of insurance.

      Your point is “moot” (not “mute”), that is, resolved or not worthy of further discussion.

    • Mike B on August 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      There are financing options on the border of Buffalo and Detroit for people to receive care in the US. Look it up. Use google.
      Also, why did the parliament official go to Naples for Heart surgery. If care is so good why did one of the officials go to the US. Why do the Saudis have an airport dedicated for themselves for the Cleveland Clinic.

  15. SPEAK OUT on August 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I agree with Doreen! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE OUT OF YOUR MIND to want the private healthcare system! I have SEVERAL friends that have been bankrupted by medical bills and they HAD INSURANCE FOLKS! Let that soak in! THEY HAD INSURANCE! PRIVATE HEALTHCARE IS THE GREAT FLEECING OF AMERICA ON A MASSIVE SCALE. GO AHEAD AND KEEP LIVING IN YOUR FANTASY WORLD UNTIL YOU ARE COMPLETELY BROKE! BROKE! BROKE! BROKE! GO AHEAD LET THE INSURANCE COMPANIES CONTINUE TO BANK BILLIONS OFF SICK PEOPLE AND DENY 50 MILLION PEOPLE THEIR HUMAN RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE! IT IS CRIMINAL THAT 50 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE NO HEALTHCARE! I have a relative that lives in Great Britain, he LOVES the healthcare he receives and has never complained once about his care! It is a lie that other industrialized nations have substandard care! My friend is “shocked” that the wealthiest nation on earth ABANDONS 50 MILLION CITIZENS AND LEAVES MILLIONS MORE BANKRUPT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Mike B on August 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    It seems like all of you on this board have the same tired talking points. We have relatives that live in Europe and they come to the US for vacation and seek treatment during vacation.

    • rob on August 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      I also have relatives that travel to Europe for procedures not offered here. What’s the point?

  17. CA2UK2TX on August 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I have lived with both the US and the UK health care system. I would take the UK over the US any day. Both have their issues, but the UK system is not going to bankrupt people. Nor do they have to worry about being self employed. Employers do not have to worry about paying for insurance. You so pay, but the costs, even to the top earners, are so far below what we pay a month in the UK that its crazy. We need to see that the US system IS broken. Its all about the insurance companies having the biggest profits. Patient care is not an issue. Its truly disgusting.

    • Val on August 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Those who didn’t like the NHS or Canadian systems aren’t around to tell about it. I dare you to go to the UK and get breast or prostate cancer.

      Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

      Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

      (References above)

      • Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        @Val– Your “source”, Scott W. Atlas, is a polemicist from the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tank. I noticed he didn’t include active links to the sources he “cites”. Perhaps he thinks that his readers have no interest in drilling down to get the true facts or a deeper understanding of the issues.

        I can assure you that the statistics that you parrot with such facile certainty are open to debate. Do you really want to gamble with your life, or your family’s health, by relying on a right-wing think tank to determine your health care choices?

        Look at the list of “experts” for the 501(c)3 organization, the NCPA, that produced the article “10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care”. Go down the list: lots of PhD.s, very few physicians. And at the top: ‘Pete’ DuPont, real name Pierre S. du Pont IV, heir to the chemical fortune. You think he cares about you?

  18. Doreen on August 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Where are your statistics? I said I have friends & family that go to Canada for care and I also have friends that live there.

  19. Jeff Kline on August 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    @Val: Here are facts about Medicare from Kaiser Family Foundation, http://kff.org/medicare/fact-sheet/medicare-spending-and-financing-fact-sheet/. You are wrong about $12K spending per beneficiary: average spending per beneficiary is $9,702. This number is in line with private health insurance payouts– adjusted for age and health.

    But…”Medicare spending per beneficiary is highly skewed, with the top 10% of beneficiaries in traditional Medicare accounting for 57% of total Medicare spending in 2009—on a per capita basis, more than five times greater than the average across all beneficiaries in traditional Medicare ($55,763 vs. $9,702).”

    Now why do you think that is? It’s not because Medicare is “free” as you claim, since it ain’t free: Medicare monthly insurance premiums run ~$1,400 a year, and Medicare only covers 70-80% of approved charges. An alternate explanation is the private health care system skimped on care for many of these individuals for the first 65 years of their lives while they developed conditions like morbid obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidneys disease, etc., in order to maximize short-term profits, knowing that Medicare and the taxpayers would have to deal with chronic health problems that resulted, either at age 65, or earlier if they became disabled.

    There is also the problem of resorting to costly interventions during the last six months of life, that do not improve the quality of life (usually quite the opposite), or significantly extend life. Excess spending on end of life care (often at taxpayer expense) contrasts with a lack of spending on preventative care by the private health care system. Futile and costly end of life care is often insisted on by family members, sometimes despite the contrary prior wishes of the patient.

    Wider use of advance directives and Guidelines for palliative care can help fix this last issue of end of life care. ONLY Single Payer, or Medicare for All, can fix the bigger problem of market failure in providing affordable health care for those under 65 and not disabled.

    • Mike B on August 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Actually, Medicare insurance premiums float around 10k depending on what area you live in. Dont forget that this figure does not include premiums for Part D, Premiums for supplements/advantage plans, and copays if had.

    • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      or you are bing conned

      HBP has been redefined as a lower and lower pressure

      Overweight and Obese has been classified as a disease this year
      and the standard for being overweight has been lowered regularly

      and the only way to curb excess spending in the last months is rationing / limiting care given

      • InsuranceRates on August 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        John, you make an excellent point. The only way to really make this work is not just single payer, but also universal health care. Without that stipulation there just aren’t enough people in the pool to cover everyone. Make it universal though and the people who aren’t sick help to cover the people who are, thereby lowering the premiums for everyone.

  20. RolloMartins on August 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    The only reason others would want a private non-system such as in the US is if they already have good coverage (and don’t realize how easily they could lose it). They feel nice and secure and don’t give a gosh darn about anyone else. As a recent Harvard study showed, roughly 45,000 people die annually due to not having health coverage (http://tinyurl.com/29xe4n5). Also shown are examples of insurances in the past kicking people off coverage if ill (the quickest way to lose your insurance was to really, really need it). Insurance companies are the new mafia. They are disgusting in their profiting off people’s illnesses and misfortune. And non-profits are still wasteful–there simply is no need for them and their duplicative services. As a pharmacist, I am sick of having to deny people their medicine, and I am also sick of seeing one person pay $50 for drug X while another pays $10. Just because one works for Company Z and has an expensive plan. Single-payer…it is the only Christian, sane, and fair way to go. Public option at the very least.

    • Mike B on August 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      RolloMartin, i have been in the business for 15 years and have never seen anyone kicked off a plan from an insurance carrier. Never. Nor have I heard of anyone being kicked off. The only reason why someone would be kicked off is for non payment of premiums and there is usually a 45 day grace period or misrepresentation on application. Other than an insurance company going bankrupt those are the only two reasons why someone would get terminated.
      The Harvard study is really bad. If you go into an ER, are you denied care? Most Drs would treat patients regardless of means. They also use samples to have people use medication therapy.
      Don’t confuse statism with Christianity.

      • Sandy on August 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        Mike B, yes you can go to the ER but what will the BILL BE??? Can they afford the bill they will get in the mail? Rollo Martins is correct! It is the most Christian way so that EVERYONE CAN GET CARE. Jesus healed people! Period! He NEVER ASKED FOR INSURANCE FROM ANYONE!

    • Tom on August 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Absolutely agree with Rollo Martins! These people that are against Single-Payer healthcare have the best insurance, they are healthy, they do not have ongoing health problems, they do NOT have a sick child that needs life long care. It has not affected them yet. They are not preparing for the day that they are ill or have a child that is ill. My best friend was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer, he actually did have good insurance at work. The TOTAL MEDICAL BILL THAT THE INSURANCE DID NOT COVER WAS A WHOPPING $65,000! It COMPLETELY DRAINED HIS SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND BANKRUPTED HIS FAMILY! You can throw out statistics all you want that medical bills aren’t causing bankruptcy. I suggest you walk door to door in America and you will get the “TRUE ACCURATE” PICURE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THESE FAMILIES! To all those with insurance and think they will never get sick! The day will come where you will only wish we had single-payer!

      • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm


  21. angie on August 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    As long as Big Insurance and Big Pharma control Congress, this will never happen.

  22. ORAXX on August 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Unfortunately, we have become a country where absolutely nothing can be justified unless a large corporation stands to make a lot of money on it.

  23. john on August 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    The bottom line is that these costs are unsustainable! Big Pharma & Big Insurance can control Congress. But they will not be able to control the OUTRAGE FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! Americans will not stand to be a 3rd world country with 50 million people uninsured. They will be forced at some point to address this massive problem. The American people need to VOTE OUT POLITICIANS THAT ARE AGAINST A PUBLIC OPTION. The American people have the power! For the People By the People!

    • John Spek on August 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      you can’t afford the public option

      other people pay 18.8 % of gross income in to the government for health care

      that’s 18.8 off the top

      in the U S it will be more because we have an extrra layer of government
      we have 1/3 of the population who needs your check for their health coverage costs

      • carl on August 21, 2013 at 9:31 am

        Single-Payer would save America Billions of dollars and would have enough money and more to cover everyone. How do all the other Industrialized Nations accomplish this? Do a little research for yourself how single payer would work. ( This site explains it well). You have to keep in mind we are already writing a check for those on Medicaid. We already have a single-payer system! Its just not for everyone. All those on Medicaid, Medicare, Politicians, Govt. Workers, teachers, People in Prison, are all getting a single-payer system! It works for them doesn’t it? Single Payer is the most cost-effective way to allow everyone to have the basic human right like healthcare.

        • Sue Ellen on August 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

          It’s a Basic Human Right America! Carl makes a valid point! Why should my taxes pay for all these other people to get healthcare but I cant afford a private policy for my family? IT IS WRONG FOR TAXES TO PAY FOR “SOME” TO GET HEALTHCARE BUT NOT FOR ALL! Public schools, police, fire dept, national security, court systems is for everyone! No one calls that socialism. Healthcare needs to be on that list! All other poorer industrialized nations can do it, so can we! The current “Private Healthcare System” is a miserable failure!

      • Grace on August 21, 2013 at 10:02 am

        If your so against a public option then all those currently enjoying single-payer should PAY FOR THEIR OWN HEALHTCARE! Teachers, state workers, politicians, let them pay their own way! Oh, but they have the BEST HEALTHCARE IMAGINABLE! They wouldn’t go a day without it! IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR US ALL!!

  24. Dee on August 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Its the “Private Healthcare System” that we cannot afford & that has been proven with the 45 Million Americans that obviously cant afford it & millions more being financially devastated.