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08/09/2018

Medicare For All: A Conversation with Professor Gerald Friedman (August 8th)

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According to a recent Kaiser/Washington Post survey 59 percent of Americans support Medicare for All (M4A).  Per a March New England Journal of Medicine poll 61 percent of physicians said single payer would make it easier for them to deliver cost-effective, quality health care.   Currently, before the House is legislation titled the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act" with over 120 sponsors.  (The legislation has been introduced every session since 2003.)   The House has recently also formed a Medicare for All caucus with 70 Democratic members and if the Democrats win back the House this November they have promised M4A hearings.  The Senate has a parallel bill, the "Medicare for All Act of 2017," currently with 16 cosponsors, several of whom are potential 2020 presidential candidates.  Though there is, again, substantial criticism of M4A, e.g., CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, recently denounced it as "government run socialized health care" (an odd complaint since that is exactly what the current Medicare and Medicaid programs are).  Because of the disruption, dismantling or sabotage of the ACA under the Trump administration and moreover because health care continues to be ever increasingly unaffordable (and bankrupt, the Medicare Part A Trust Fund is now projected to be insolvent in 2026), as is frequently phrased, M4A is, again, on the table. 

During this 37 minute conversation Professor Friedman provides a general definition of Medicare for All healthcare, how it would be financed and how savings be derived and what amount.  He explains what is current public opinion, what are credible criticisms of M4A and what promising single payer efforts are underway in the states.   

Dr. Gerald Friedman is Professor and Undergraduate Program Director of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Friedman
Amherst.  Prior to, he worked as research staff for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.  Professor Friedman is the author of multiple books and articles on labor relations and healthcare economics.  He has been a correspondent to television and media outlets, a consultant to labor unions and has drafted funding plans for campaigns for single payer health insurance in several states including New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oregon and Washington and a federal plan for the US.  He serves on the Board of Advisers to the Business Initiative for Health Policy.  Professor Friedman earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia College and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. 

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