That excellent organization Physicians for a National Health Program has highlighted a new study by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst that shows that by simply upgrading and expanding the current Medicare system to cover everyone, the country would save billions of dollars in costs as well. There would even be money left over to help pay down the national debt.
These are not radical ideas but are a simple and straightforward way of reigning in costs while improving coverage.
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, 11 a.m. EDT] 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 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).
The catch, of course, is that the administrative waste of $476 billion that would be eliminated is money that the parasitic private health insurance industry extracts from us and uses to pay handsome dividends to its stockholders, huge salaries and perks to its upper-level executives, exorbitant prices to the pharmaceutical industries, and lavish contributions to politicians. That is the only reason why the present system continues.