There is no good argument against Medicare for All, but that won’t stop mainstream narrative managers from trying. The pharmaceutical and for-profit health insurance industries have too much invested in the current system not to put up a fight. Lackeys in the corporate media are parroting talking points cooked up by corporate-funded think tanks. Some of them even seem logical to the casual news consumer, but, upon closer analysis, the logic falls apart. Here are my responses to some of their favorite talking points.
Do you really trust our corrupt government to run the healthcare system?
This is deeply flawed logic on multiple levels. First of all, Medicare is not “government-run healthcare,” it’s just a payment system. There will be no government bureaucrats in the hospitals directing your doctors what to do.
Secondly, this is not happening in a vacuum. Healthcare is not a free-market industry that the evil government is considering taking over. It is anything but a free market. It is dominated by the for-profit health insurance industry, which limits your choice of healthcare providers.
In this debate, you have two choices: Medicare for All or for-profit health insurance. Medicare doesn’t have to be perfect (nothing is), it just has to be better than for-profit insurance, which it unquestionably is.
So which one is more wasteful? Well, the insurance industry straight-up tells you that they will pocket some of the money you give them from healthcare. They are even publicly traded on Wall Street, and people invest in them under the assumption that they will keep pocketing more and more of your money. Medicare already exists for people over 65, and it is an indisputable fact that it wastes much less money than insurance. It is also one of the most popular government programs in the country.
How would we pay for that?
The same way every other developed country in the world does: by not making their people pay their healthcare payments to for-profit corporations, thus saving them massive amounts of money.
Healthcare makes up 17% of America’s GDP, the most on any country in the world. Studies have shown that, under the current system, Americans will spend as much as 49 trillion dollars on healthcare in the next decade. Under Medicare for all, they would spend only about 32 trillion. The mainstream media is happy to tell you the latter statistic, but they don’t want you to know the former.
The reason the current system is more expensive is because there is a needles for-profit middle man between you and your doctor.
If nationalized healthcare was more expensive than America would have the cheapest healthcare in the world. But it doesn’t, it has the most expensive.
Almost all goods and services in a free market get cheaper over time, as technology advances, but healthcare keeps getting more expensive. That is because America’s healthcare system is the polar opposite of a free market. And, if you’re able to be honest with yourself, you know that.
Americans need to have a choice in their healthcare.
I agree. That’s why we need Medicare for All. Under for-profit insurance, people don’t get to choose their doctors; under Medicare, they do.
Also, shouldn’t Americans deserve a choice in their jobs? Many people are stuck in jobs that they don’t like but are too scared to quit because they would lose their insurance.
Taxes will go up
Yes and no. One of the most effective propaganda achievements of the right-wing media is getting people to think that taxes are inherently evil.
The monthly payments that people make to insurance companies is effectively no different than a tax, except in that you get much less in return. You pay your insurance, and then MAYBE they’ll pay for your healthcare needs, provided you go to the right doctor and they can’t find a way to weasel out of it. You pay your taxes, and Medicare will 100% definitely pay for your healthcare needs, no questions asked. Since public healthcare is cheaper, the average person’s increase in taxes would be less than what they currently pay to their insurance companies. Therefore, they would net save money.
Poor people pay no taxes, so why should I pay for their healthcare?
This talking point (promulgated by Fox News) started off with the true but misleading statement of “most people pay no Federal Income Tax,” then it was dumbed down to the completely false statement of “Most people (or poor people) pay no taxes.” The goal of the original talking point was to induce the following reaction: “No Federal Income Tax?! Oh my God! That sounds really important. It has the word ‘federal’ in it and everything.” This works on your average low-information Fox News viewer. But the truth is that, after you include the Payroll Tax, State Income Tax, Sales Tax, Property Tax, Corporate Tax etc., the Federal Income Tax is a small percentage of the overall tax burden that any individual pays.
Furthermore, Medicare has nothing to do with the Federal Income Tax. Medicare is funded by the Payroll Tax, from which no one with a job is exempt.
Doctors will get paid less.
Workers have all the power they need, and doctors are just skilled workers, they’re not part of the owner class. If they think they deserve more pay, then they should do something about it. Strikes are very effective. (Though hopefully this would just be non-emergency doctors.) I’ve never heard anyone make the argument that we should scrap public education because teachers aren’t paid enough. “We can’t have nice things because doctors are letting the government screw them” is not a convincing argument.
It should go without saying that payments to pharmaceutical companies should be massively cut, as Americans pay more than twice what the rest of the world pays for the same drugs. Doctors’ pay should be able to remain respectable if drug prices are lowered to a sane rate.
Also, one of the reasons I’ve heard given for doctors’ lower Medicare reimbursement rate is that Medicare subsidizes medical residencies. This reason is not valid under a Medicare expansion because there would be no increase in medical residencies.
Why do you think you deserve ‘free healthcare’?
No one with a job in America is demanding free healthcare. They all contribute to the Payroll Tax.
The idea that any government program is “free” is an absurd talking point. If someone tries to make that point with me, I like to turn it around and point at the military: “Why do you think you deserve free defense?” By this point, they can usually see how absurd their talking point is, though they will never admit it.
But that’s big government
Actually, it’s just a non-profit insurance program. The authority of government is not increased in any way.
But what about person X who died in some other country because of universal healthcare?
What about the 45 thousand Americans who die every year because they don’t have access to basic healthcare? This statistic comes from a 2009 Harvard study. It is something that everyone knows happens but that is rarely talked about.
Take the example of a man who finds a lump on his skin, but he lives paycheck-to-paycheck (as half of Americans do), so he decides he can’t afford to see a doctor at that moment; he’ll take his chances. Fast forward a couple months and the man’s lump is becoming more painful. He gives in and goes to the doctor, and the doctor says something like, “You have stage three skin cancer. We could have done more for you if you came a couple months earlier, but it’s too late.” The cause of death written on the man’s death certificate would be “cancer,” not “lack of healthcare,” but that is also one of the reasons he died. I guarantee you this happens every day in America. Statistically, some man somewhere in America is probably going through this experience right now. As you read this, he’s wondering if he can afford to go to the doctor or not.
There is also a new trend of elderly and terminally ill patients committing suicide because they don’t want to exhaust all of their life savings on treatments that would leave their families with no money or even in debt. This doesn’t happen in any other country.
What about people who like their healthcare plans?
Let those people speak out. I’m guessing they are few and far between. And if you actually ask people what they like most about their healthcare plans, they usually say their doctors; under Medicare for All, you could go to any doctor you want.
The ultimate question to ask these phantom people is, “are you going to turn down Medicare when you turn 65?”
Medicare for All will kill Medicare.
It is literally an expansion of Medicare. That is the opposite of killing Medicare.
People will get kicked off their insurance programs
Good. Medicare has better coverage that every single private insurance program without exception.
Also, this talking point is meant to imply that people will be left without any insurance, which of course is not the case.