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Berwick: Medicare for All lowers costs and reduces confusion and paperwork

Written by Diane Archer

How do we keep Americans from dying for lack of health care? That’s the question every policymaker and pundit should be asking, along with which health care reform proposals will best prolong people’s lives. Don Berwick, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), explains in a USA Today op-ed that Medicare for All guarantees health care for all, lowers costs, and reduces confusion and paperwork.

Berwick is an expert, who has had a 360 degree view of our nation’s health care system. In addition to having been head of CMS, he is a pediatrician and researcher at Harvard Medical School, who has witnessed the challenges with our health care system firsthand. He has a very different perspective from the pundits and the politicians who too often parrot right-wing talking points; they don’t understand the challenge of fixing our health care system as long as private insurance companies can drive up costs and profit from denying care, Berwick appreciates that Medicare for All would sharply reduce the inappropriate denials and high costs.

Berwick explains that Medicare for All guarantees everyone coverage and lowers costs significantly. It would let us spend our health care dollars on public health crises instead of administrative waste. It would help us invest in disease prevention. It simplifies and streamlines our fragmented health care system.

Proposals such as Medicare for those who want it, sometimes called the public option, or Medicare Advantage for All do not simplify the system, nor is there data to suggest they deliver savings. As Elizabeth Warren suggested, Medicare for all who want it is a euphemism for Medicare for people who can afford it. It retains a complex and costly health care system that does not allow for simplification or waste reduction.

By current estimates, Americans (federal and state governments, employers and individuals) will spend a total of $52 trillion over the next ten years on health care without Medicare for All. With Medicare for All, we will spend about $52 trillion and everyone has comprehensive benefits. Projected new federal spending (which is simply a shift from private spending) is $20.5 trillion over ten years.

Medicare for All guarantees access to care and prevents tens of thousands of needless deaths and bankruptcies. Medicare for All reduces health care costs for families. In the last ten years, health care premiums were up 54 percent, with workers paying about 71 percent of those costs. Yet, wages have only increased 26 percent.

Medicare for All does not change the way we get our care, only who pays for our care. We still go to private doctors and hospitals. What’s different is that we no longer have to worry about whether they are in network or what we will have to pay.

If you support Medicare for all, please let Congress know. Please sign this petition.

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