Friday, November 30, 2018

PERI — Economic Analysis of Medicare for All

This study by PERI researchers Robert Pollin, James Heintz, Peter Arno, Jeannette Wicks-Lim and Michael Ash presents a comprehensive analysis of the prospects for a Medicare for All health care system in the United States. The most fundamental goals of Medicare for All are to significantly improve health care outcomes for everyone living in the United States while also establishing effective cost controls throughout the health care system. These two purposes are both achievable. As of 2017, the U.S. was spending about $3.24 trillion on personal health care—about 17 percent of total U.S. GDP.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of U.S. residents have no insurance and 26 percent are underinsured—they are unable to access needed care because of prohibitively high costs. Other high-income countries spend an average of about 40 percent less per person and produce better health outcomes. Medicare for All could reduce total health care spending in the U.S. by nearly 10 percent, to $2.93 trillion, while creating stable access to good care for all U.S. residents.
PERI — Political Economy Research Institute – UMASS Amherst
Economic Analysis of Medicare for All
Robert Pollin, James Heintz, Peter Arno, Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Michael Ash
November 30, 2018 |
Research Report

See also

Common Dreams
'Easy to Pay for Something That Costs Less': New Study Shows Medicare for All Would Save US $5.1 Trillion Over Ten Years
Jake Johnson


Konrad said...

“The goals of Medicare for All are to significantly improve health care outcomes for everyone living in the United States while also establishing effective cost controls throughout the health care system. These two purposes are both achievable.”

They are achievable financially, but not politically, since the U.S. government serves the rich, which includes Big Pharma and the insurance giants.

Unfortunately the entire paper proceeds from the delusion that Medicare for All would have to be funded by tax increases.

“There are multiple ways through which the U.S. federal government could raise $1.08 trillion in additional revenues to finance Medicare for All.” [pg. 70]

A sports scoreboard does not need to “raise points.” Likewise the U.S. federal government does not need to “raise money” for anything. Until the American peasants understand this, they will continue to commit suicide. They will shoot themselves with a pistol that has words printed on it: “How will you pay for it?”

New study shows Medicare for All would save us $5.1 trillion over ten years (Common Dreams)

Which means that with Medicare for All, $5.1 trillion would circulate in the economy, rather than be stolen by Big Pharma and insurance giants.

(As for the U.S. government, it does not need to “save money.”)

Matt Franko said...

Munnie aside, more real (healthcare) work will have to be done if access to health care services is increased moron...

Calgacus said...

Not sure, but this looks like it is a quasi Neoclassical microeconomic analysis, rather than a MMT / Keynesian macroeconomic one. Health care is much too big to ignore the macroeconomics of it.

The real problem with going to Medicare for All is the same one seen in Europe. While it is more effective and provides superior health care to everyone, rich and poor, it is too efficient. This leads to underspending as a whole, deflation and depression. And then starvation of funds toward the efficient health care system, because its efficiency and effectiveness lead to it being insanely judged on "sound business principles" - a very, very common mistake that Keynes deplored and warned against. It is not "how will we pay for it" - that's the opposite of the real problem - "how will we continue to throw away as much money as the current system does?". Real health care reform would result in a demobilization comparable to the end of a war. All those people working at purely ceremonial functions at best, health-care obstruction at worst, in insurance companies etc. Only part of them could be absorbed into health care.

James Galbraith particularly has made this ignored point in papers and in his Predator State. Glad to see Kelton & Mosler mentioning it more recently. It is not a minor thing.

Noah Way said...

@Calgacus - this is the essential problem that effects everything in the capitalist state. Goods and services are only vehicles for maximing profit delivery, the quality of those goods and services is measured by their financial return. Efficiency is bad for profits.

BO killed the public option "to save jobs". Not a good reason to condem a couple hundred million people to shitty health insurance that obfuscates and prevents delivery of care. Except of course if you are selling them insurance.

Calgacus said...

Not sure if we entirely agree on the details, although I agree it does affect everything. I'm only talking about the macro problem. The crazy way people judge efficient government enterprises (or even more broadly, efficiency anywhere) and how this causes (a) spending in a crazy way - the USA, or probably worse (b) crazy austerity - Europe. The choice between these two crazy alternatives can be difficult. But IMHO, BO was only pretending to have this "hard choice" in front of him. If it really were his actual choice, I would say there are good reasons on both sides, so we disagree there.

Efficiency is not necessarily bad for profits. A New Deal / postwar era / welfare state spending plan would not be bad for profits, the way people usually mean this. It wasn't really back then.

The problem about profits is that capitalists don't behave as if their goal is to ensure their own profits, but to ensure that the working class gets less. If shrinking the pond and the other fish makes them bigger fish, that is what they opt for. The rich have a tremendous and unified class consciousness directed toward shameful goals. The poor have next to none.