We Don’t Need to Raise Taxes to Have ‘Medicare for All’

We can find billions of dollars to pay for universal health care if we look in the right places.

Comments: 204

  1. These are all good suggestions and worthy of consideration. I'm not an expert on foreign affairs, so I cannot say how accurate the author's conclusions are about what the effects of his proposals might be. But giving deference to his expertise, let's agree he's correct. Then what we have to confront is whether we have the political will to implement his bold ideas. I hope so. But even if it's done incrementally, over a period of years, the impact could be life-changing for the average American. The real danger that I see is that the money diverted from making war would find its way into some pork-barrel boondoggle instead of Medicare, Social Security, education, etc.

  2. The author is a "she." That said, I agree with what was written in this article. My father retired as an aerospace engineer. I used to marvel at the prices of projects like the F-35 and B-2 Stealth bomber, which -- at the time of his work -- cost $1 billion per plane. Now it's $2 billion per plane. In contrast, as a medical scientist, we pretty much have to beg to get a few hundred thousand or million to fund healthcare projects.

  3. Two comments regarding, in my view, this rather ill thought out column. First, there is only one thing worse than war - losing a war. Given the position of the US in the world, it is essential that we maintain a robust military (Although, some of our foreign adventures have certainly been ill thought out and not worth the cost). Second, what about the deficit? If we reduce military spending, the money should clearly go to reducing the deficit not some other social program of questionable merit.

  4. "foreign adventures" War is not an adventure. It's carnage and bloodshed. I have another way to describe the Iraq War which began in 2003: A virtually unilateral invasion of a sovereign country launched under false pretenses by a chickenhawk president who will never be held accountable for his crimes. Also, having health care and insurance provided mostly by private sector, for profit entities is of far more questionable merit than having an essentially de-commodified system where shareholder dividends are not an issue.

  5. We won't win any wars with an unhealthy nation either. Many people are not physically fit enough to serve right now.

  6. Rob-Chemist, Since WWII, we stalemated in Korea, lost Vietnam, will probably lose Iraq and Afghanistan (meaning desired outcome won't happen). Perhaps you can argue that Vietnam was a battle in the Cold War which we did have a desired outcome, but nobody really talks about it in that way. And it more than appears that the war with Russia is not over as their cyber attacks and installation of Trump as president, one (the Kurds and our NATO partners) can argue that we may have even lost that war. And further if you have for example any medical pre-condition and are under 65, the social program you refer to is not of questionable merit. It would probably save your house and most likely your life.

  7. Wow ! Good article. It confirms what I've believed for many years. Have you noticed the lack of new major infrastructure projects by the govt.? It's because we are artificially poor due to our extraordinarily bloated military spending. And people sleeping on our streets...

  8. Major infrastructure projects need to be funded evenly between state, local and federal sources. I could care less if Chicago's highways and overpasses are crumbling. You'd think if Chicago wants new highways and bridges..they'd carve out some money from their budget to pay for it instead of paying teachers $140k a year to get to a 50% graduation rate with CPS kids. Or raise taxes in Chicago and Illinois. Why is it the federal governments job to finance these projects when we've been incurring $1 Trillion annual deficits ever since Bush took over and the .con era imploded and 9/11 happened? Let Chicago solve Chicago's infrastructure problem. If they've got an airport issue..let the airlines fix the problem..and travelers. Paying unions pension $ that are insanely high while starving infrastructure might help you win your next city council election, but on a whole..it's really bad policy.

  9. There are a ton of ways to pay for healthcare. Slash the military (ONE Blue Angels show alone costs $5 million, and why are we paying for 72 military golf courses?), apply gas guzzler tax to all private vehicles, and tax the churches.That's just for starters.

  10. It's appalling to me that churches don't pay taxes, yet maintain powerful influence over the minds of people as well as directly lobbying. Get money out of politics and get religion out of my government.

  11. Absolutely. We spend on things that we don't need -- that are destroying the world and us along with it -- and then claim not to have money for health, education and climate. Let's do something smart and turn our budget around.

  12. One of the problems I see is no really knows how the payment for this will work out. For example many people get health insurance as part of their work benefits. The amount of money it costs is usually covered by the employer and the amount paid is not taxable. If the Government provides this benefit the worker will have to pay something in the from of extra taxes to cover the costs. How much will that be. I do not go out to buy a car without knowing the price, why should I buy health insurance that way. This even affects retired folks like me who have Medicare and my Medicare supplement is a continuation of the Blue Cross I had as a federal employee. That Blue Cross plan will no longer exist under Bernie's' plan. I suspect he has no idea what plan I will be able to buy in the future or will my retirement benefits still pay a portion of it as it now does. I will voter for a Democrat next time, but I do not want a change in health plans until the prices are in plain view.

  13. Work health benefits are not completely covered by your employer and the amount that is paid by your employer is a tax deduction for your employer. The employee pays 8-10% out of his pay check and in addition is stuck with deductibles up to $13,000/yr. for a family in addition to co-pays and extra costs if you don't use a medical provider in your network. If private insurance was eliminated the employer should be more than happy to give employees the amount they are actually paying for health benefits simply to get out of the work and confusion caused by private insurance. Although changing to an universal plan would be difficult and would have to be phased in, the result would be better coverage that is less expensive, less confusing and would provide coverage if a person changes employment.

  14. Eisenhower knew it was too late when he made his famous exit speech regarding the military-industrial complex, "way back when". There has been a strange shift over the years,beginning around 1970, when the Pentagon started shifting their "budget" dollars (much of which is "in the dark") from obvious and visible bases and troops, to "R&D" and other, invisible (read "black") projects. The vast sums of money go directly to "contractors" and their revolving door relationship with Pentagon "retirees", who the work both sides of the "money fence". There have also been huge underground (literally) bases developed that we know little about. Case in point: Denver's new airport "network", the one we cannot see. Cutting off 50% of these tax dollars would allow us to actually rebuild our country. And I'm a veteran.

  15. How about we begin by taxing the poor? This is why Trump is asking Nancy Pelosi to bring a bill to the House to authorize military use of force in Syria. That way she can explain why the Tax $ we have in our federal budget need to go to send 250,000 troops to Syria and Turkey to fight a NATO ally. Only if poor people are paying for this war effort can they begin to feel like this is their country to. That's the only way this becomes fair, just or equitable.

  16. Eisenhower might have made the speech but he advocated for the bomb and wouldn't hesitate to use it if he deemed necessary and used it as a negotiating tool to end the Korean war. He told them he would drop it on them if they didn't come to the table.

  17. Didn't Biden claim during the last debate that defunding the military would only cover a tiny percentage of M4A costs? Where does that argument fit into this? Was he only talking about direct military engagement? Pentagon funding?

  18. Um, maybe Biden was being inaccurate to make progressive proposals look unfeasible?

  19. US spends 3T annually on health care. Reminds me of arguments for Brexit: save the NHS millions of pounds! Oh, wait, no. This article is completely useless except as an argument to cut military spending.

  20. Yes he did, and he was correct.

  21. We only had one necessary war in the last century--WWII. The United States citizenry had been perverted into thinking somehow the formula will work forever-it won't. The world of military golf courses, bases around the world, you name it, should have been disbanded decades ago. Younger generations were not educated about mid century United States Read the book kids: The Depression and The War. That was then, this is now.

  22. Unfortunately, a lot of people have been brainwashed to believe that joining the military is "serving your country" and "fighting to defend our freedoms," even when that is obviously not true, as in the Iraq or Vietnam wars. A further problem is the "poverty draft." Too many young people believe that joining the military is the only way out of their dying rural towns or rundown inner city neighborhoods. I suppose that accepting the idea of "fighting to defend our freedoms" makes the idea of possibly dying or being maimed as the end result of this escape attempt more palatable.

  23. But how can we do that? The military has been the "secret" jobs program that Republicans for generations have said that the US can't afford. It provides healthcare, work, education, a sense of purpose for millions. It's needs have driven the development of technology since World War II. Silicon Valley was created by the military for the cold war (check Leslie Berlin's history for the details). Sure, the US has to use military periodically to justify its worth, but what's the matter with terrorizing the rest of world for these higher goals? AND finally, the maintenance of the nuclear systems that can definitively wipe most life (at least human life) off the planet, with a design that gives one person the keys who may be emotionally disturbed has be preserved. What a perfectly impractical idea that paying more than lip-service to the idea that "we the people" doesn't just refer to the propertied might actually turn down the anxieties (status and other) than drive people into the drive is, perhaps, more of security threat than the ones (some real) that are used to justify the money put into the military. I'm no pacifist, but it's easy to see that bridges falling, extermination of specifies, climate alterations to the ecosystem, and economic uncertainties that raise cortisol levels to reduce the lifespan of the scared, might just hurt more people than keeping "our" corporations safe.

  24. I am a liberal democrat, but I have family in the military. I know how hard they work, how little compensation some receive, how disruptive military life can be for their families, and how shoddy their medical care can be. I'm all for no wars; but I know we can't live in this world without military strategy, protection, and engagement when necessary. I would love to see an article/OpEd in the Times with facts from the other p.o.v. to be able to compare and contrast with this one.

  25. Better health care can cost less and save more lives when an intelligent, group of professionals in both areas working together is added as a single Government Office. Maybe rolling back most of recent tax benefits to the top income class will also go a long way in paying for both needs when revised.

  26. This is an excellent idea in general, but a different approach must be taken. Cutting whole Pentagon programs may be work in some areas (e.g., the unfixable F-35) but not in others. Rather than the proposed "meataxe" method, we should mostly scale back the majority of programs (numbers of aircraft carrier groups, troops, tanks, planes, etc.). It's true that the savings will be smaller, due to economies of scale. But we would avoid major, unpredictable disruptions and surprises. The simple truth is that our military establishment is much too big. Our nation can be just as safe - or safer - with a smaller, leaner/meaner force.

  27. A large part of your your plan seems to amount to this: cancel the modernization of the nuclear triad. End modernization of ICBMs, cut development of new strategic bomber programs, and end the development of new attack submarines. Our current stock of ICBMs are 50 years old. Our current attack submarines are no longer a guaranteed second strike capability. The B-52 strategic bomber fleet is 70 years old. How about instead of cutting things we actually need, we reform the procurement process and cut down the size of the standing army? Wars of the future will not be fought with million man formations. Your cuts preserve the army of the past while preventing the development of the military of the future.

  28. What about the math? The author states: "Over nearly 20 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillions. [...] That’s far more than the $300 billion per year that is estimated to cover Medicare for All". However, $4.9 trillions is $4,900 billions. Over 20 years, that's only 245 billions per year, i.e. less (not far more) than the $300 billions for Medicare. Am I missing something?

  29. I think it was Bernie Sanders who said, duding the last debate, that totally eliminating the Defense Department, including all of the ships, buildings, and so on, would fund only 4 months of Medicare-for-all.

  30. We are already spending double the costs of Single Payer in every OECD country. The 10yr. breakdown of our current costs, is easily more than the 10yr. costs of M4A. The money is already being spent. Better coverage, everyone covered, everything covered, can't lose it. Can't be taken away. Can't go bankrupt or turned away. All under M4A. It's just a matter of reallocating where/who gets the money. Cutting defense spending lowers the cost of M4A for everyone even more so.

  31. I totally agree with this premise. However, the prices in US healthcare - tests, MRIs etc - should be slashed by a 00 or 1000 to be like in the rest of the world. Once these prices go 100 or 1000 lower, all this Medicare for All will be a LOT more affordable.

  32. Cutting the military budget in half is a good start. Once you understand that the Military-Industrial Complex is really just the world's largest government-welfare program, cutting it should be fairly easy. Redirecting the funds to health care only makes sense. Here is the question to ask of the defense hawks who demand increases in military spending instead of cuts: "Exactly who and what are you defending?" There's no point to spending the money for those missiles and jets and ships if the people at home whom you purport to defend are sick and dying because they can't get health care. Redirecting military spending in concert with eliminating the for-profit health "insurance" industry would go a long way towards solving our country's health care problems.

  33. They are defending the wealthy. That's what all publicly-funded security is for (including your local police), to protect the interests of the wealthy.

  34. The U.S. military budget is twice as big (or something like that, speaking anecdotally) as those of the next biggest 19 foreign militaries combined. If we take a slice out of that to completely finance universal healthcare, I don't think we'll be at risk of losing any wars. We can still count on incompetent politicians (ahem) for that.

  35. If we wish to rethink our military entanglements around the globe, we should do so: but not as a budget discussion. We should address the inherent value of war -making and peace-keeping, rather than imagining that these things are somehow in competition with other values. Because the fact is (as economists often mention in this paper) that, if we were to rethink the connection between taxes and publics goods, we could find the money for all of the projects. We can choose to fund national priorities, without having to choose between national priorities. And then we can debate each of those priorities from an ethical or moral perspective, rather than avoiding that hard work and making such choices merely fiscal.

  36. Thank you, Ms. Koshgarian! This discussion is vitally important and long overdue.

  37. In general, I'm on-board big-time. Good, thoughtful article; thank you for that. I'm glad somebody works on such complex, arcane subjects. There's such a thing, especially among men, as G.A.S., Gear Acquisition Syndrome: the more gear you have, the more you want. You see it in musical instruments, cars, motorcycles, guns, even stamps and books. I've got G.A.S. for electric guitars and amplifiers; it sneaks up on you, like any addiction, I suppose. Such an addict often can help himself; he needs intervention. We must intervene with our generals and admirals, bless their courageous, hard-working souls. Surely, we need not spend more than the war budgets of the next seven big nations combined. True, that money creates jobs and security, but those jobs can be diverted to other fields, and we can still be secure. I don't need 25 shotguns, AR-15s, and .357 magnums to provide for my home defense. So let us, my fellow citizens, bring out the GAS-X. Moderation in all things, as Aristotle argued. (A serious comment can have a touch of humor, no?)

  38. I think the economic debate of "guns or butter" is an old one and the answer always seems to be that we need both.

  39. The author makes astute observations, but I think that before funding Medicare, the US should first try and preserve its status as the leading world power. In twenty years, the US expended $4.9 trillion on wars. But between 2001 and 2018, Chinese GDP grew from $1.3 trillion to $13.6 trillion. While universal healthcare is a worthy goal to work towards, the consolidation of hard power ranks as more important. The US needs to learn from China and actively enhance its economic strength. The author is right to say cutting the defence burden will free up money for a whole range of uses. However, it is also important to rejuvenate American industry, especially in the manufacturing sector. Medicare will work great for Americans, but it won't help the US gain the lost ground it has ceded to other powers like China in the 2 decades it was preoccupied with wars. China is now the largest trading nation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership - meant to preserve US economic influence - was shot down by the Trump administration. The response to America's long wars cannot only be an insular one. Recuperating economic strength, promoting trade links with the rest of the world are also important if the US intends to retain its hard power and influence. Also, the Russians and Chinese have upgraded conventional fighting capabilities tremendously while the US was fixated with guerilla conflicts. In short, their militaries have been preparing for the real thing. And that's a concern...

  40. We could fund a lot of needed domestic projects (healthcare, infrastructure, education, etc.) by cutting military funding. After all, it's been 78 years (i.e. since Pearl Harbor) since the territory of the United States was last attacked by a foreign nation. What exactly are we spending $500 billion a year defending against? We certainly aren't facing any military threats from foreign nations. Eisenhohwer warned us about how the military-industrial complex would take over our government....it appears he was right.

  41. I guess Russia and China are imaginary threats in your way of thinking....This paper's op-eds and editorial boards never met a weapons system they didn't like. Said it before: any cuts that affect modernization, training/readiness, and force structure are inviting future troubles with peer or near-peer rivals. George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt both said it best: "Being prepared for war is the most effective means to promote the peace." Ronald Reagan's way was similar: "Peace through strength." Being prepared and willing to use force tells potential enemies that it's not worth it. Battles you can win without firing a shot are savored, unlike those that are soaked in blood.

  42. The political will to do this will be toughest thing to overcome. For most politicians, patriotism and militarism are often entangled.

  43. Sorry, this just isn't enough money. Even if you eliminated the entire defense budget, including pensions for retired service personnel, you would only save $660 billion. Total medical spending is $3.2 trillion, so you've got about 1/5 of what you need.

  44. How much are we already spending for our crappy HC system? The money is already being spent. Double the costs of M4A. It is a matter of reallocating. And cutting out worthless middle men.

  45. I think a start to the whole debate is to figure out how much Medicare for all actually costs. The estimate here is more than 10 fold less than on The Atlantic. The Atlantic cited the CBO in estimating a cost of 34 trillion over 10 years. If that number is accurate, slashing the military budget won't get even close to making up the difference.

  46. The current cost of our current HC system over 10yrs is much higher than the 10yr. cost of M4A. Now add in to that 10yr current HC costs the 45,000 who die ea. yr. from lack of access. Add in the 600,000 that declare Med. Bankruptcy ea. yr. Add in the hundred of millions that don't have coverage, that cant afford to use said HC and those that lose and have to change ea. yr.; times 10. M4A makes better financial sense. As is does humanitarianly also.

  47. Amen and amen again! Since Eisenhower first raised the alarm in his farewell address, the U.S. has continued to spend more on its military than any rational analysis would require. The F-35 and aircraft carriers are weapons in search of a mission and costing us billions while they conduct that search. And nuclear weapons are unusable and dangerously destabilizing. We would have a perfectly adequate deterrent force with only 250 of the deadly things, not the thousands that currently exist. Cutting half the Pentagon budget immediately would be a good start.

  48. "Remaking our military as a truly defense-based institution" A military without immediate, serious offensive capabilities is somewhat of a joke. Deterrence is based on offensive capabilities. No deterrence will eventually mean more war, unless turning the other cheek is the proposed military strategy. For a superpower, all this means no longer being a superpower. Just as an aside, how many jobs of civilians will be lost on all these cuts. How many serving in the military will be discharged, since the type of armed forces envisioned here does not need a large army. So what happens to all these people. Well at least they will have free medical care along with their unemployment insurance.

  49. These suggestions are for the most part excellent, and I am on board with your strategy. However, I believe that the U.S. military is our premier jobs program, especially for young men, and I would recommend that any cuts do not minimize the size of the force. Each of those military personnel represent an employed American. See Iraq 2003 for an example of what happens when you suddenly ax the primary employer for military age males. I'm not suggesting an American insurgency will follow, but certainly a level of heartburn. And anyway, a jobs guarantee is a valid goal, and the U.S. military is an important part of meeting that goal.

  50. Yes, we can, and should, vastly reduce the investment in the military,which would free up all that money for things that actually help Americans, like MFA, free college/trade school tuition, free pre-school childcare, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, investing in renewable energy development. But it can't happen overnight. We need to account for the loss of jobs, and investment in businesses that the current military spending supports. It can be done, but it will have to happen over time, otherwise the economy could collapse. Many parts of the country depend primarily on the military to provide jobs and money to their economy. Without that, these areas would become ghost towns reminiscent of the Dust Bowl days. But by ramping up investment in green energy production and support, and infrastructure upgrades, these areas would bloom far beyond their best years. We need the vision and courage to follow a new course for America, not based on the Imperial America doctrine we've been following since Korea, but one that is prepared to meet any enemy, but bases its strength on building up America and Americans.

  51. the cognitive dissonance here is amusing. somehow, the govt cant be trusted to handle a bloated bureaucracy like the military, with all kinds of waste and bad, costly decisions.... but this same govt can be trusted to manage health care with little waste, inefficiency or bureaucracy. uh huh. the govt will handle health care like it handles the post office, the DMV and public education. cant wait.... here's a thought- thank god, the free market does wonders for every good an service we buy- low cost/high quality. how about letting the free market do the same for health care insurance, and issue vouchers to those who cant afford it.

  52. Drive across the US and you will quickly realize that the US military has a whopping big footprint! Air bases, military installations, naval yards, naval air, etc., then all of the national guard locations. The US is bristling with armaments, while millions of its citizens die from untreated conditions. Upending the military’s lock on massive budgets is essential. But with the inter-twined pentagon-business consultancy mess so deeply embedded, common sense change like the one presented will be an uphill fight.

  53. Why is the Swiss flag on top of the hospital in the illustration?

  54. Unfortunately, a massive bloated military industrial complex pouring trillions of dollars down the toilet every year is basically a constitutive part of the United States. Imagining the U.S. without it is like trying to imagine Saudi Arabia without Wahhabist Islam.

  55. Medicare for all will be provided by Communist Chinese doctors after their military takes over our democracy.

  56. Amen.

  57. yes yes yes!!! I wish any one of the democratic candidates could have the spine to say this, the obvious!!!!! thank you!!!!

  58. Finally, someone has the sense to speak half of the obvious. The other half is tax the churches. Yes, many churches do some good things--so, why not have them account for them and write off those good things as expenses, the way the rest of usd hard-working Americans do? If you're running a soup kitche, by all means write it off. If you're dribving a Porsche or funnelling all the money to The Vatican---um, no. Ditto payoffs to mistresses or out-of-court pedophilia settlements. The NYC Diocese alone would add about 500 million a year to Medicare. The Pope can afford it---so can Pat Robertson.

  59. This has all been figured out by counties all over the world. None of them is perfect, but we have the advantage of selecting and trying out different systems and assembling our best version. Only..,that would mean an end to one of the largest corruptive influences in our society, and that would not suit the suits, would it? So let's just keep arguing about how we can't afford it, and we're not like them, and it just isn't possible. Isn't possible? Of course that wasn't how we defeated the British in 1776, or the Nazis in 1944, or built the country that was once the envy of the world. But that was yesterday. And tomorrow? Looks like tomorrow is impossible.

  60. No slashes will occur until we have Democrat leadership in White House, House of Representatives and Senate.

  61. We've had Ds in the WH for decades and no slashes happened.

  62. Slash the military? What a dumb thing to say. It's again "America First" - have we already forgotten about the Kurds, Turkey and Syria? About Russia and its constant threat? I think Biden and Buttigieg are the only ones who make sense and have some knowledge about foreign policy in the Democratic field. We do not need another president who has no clue. Have we learned nothing? The next president has to do more than just get "good advisors" - he/she needs to know something themselves. They need to hit the floor running. No more isolationism!

  63. Amen... and Awomen... Right on! An Idea Whose Time Hath Cometh!

  64. This seems like a great plan, to pay down our soon to be $30,000,000,000,000.00 National Debt. Not sure who's making the pies in the sky that will be necessary to fund the Free Stuff Movement...

  65. Are you suggesting there is no such thing as Santa Claus, Pots of Gold at the end of a Rainbow, Unicorns, or Lucky Leprechauns? :(

  66. Finally, some common sense!

  67. We should cut military spending AND tax the rich and the corporate tax dodgers and spend the money on infrastructure, healthcare, mass transit, voting rights, green energy technology. But none of that common sense is possible with radical, right-wing, Randian Republican Reverse Robin Hood Robber Barons in office who have created a 0.1% campaign finance corruption system that destroys the will of the people with moneyed propaganda that successfully frightens and dupes the masses into voting for 'God', Guns, War and their own pigmentation. We must kill dollarocracy before democracy is possible.

  68. In the current Congress, there's no appreciable difference between Democrats and Republicans as far as support for massive military budgets. The Democratic-controlled House approved a 733 billion dollar military appropriations bill for 2020. The Republican-controlled Senate approved a 750 billion dollar bill. 36 Democrats joined 49 Republicans in approving the Senate version. In other words when it comes to bloated 'defense' spending both parties are equally to blame.

  69. Everything you say is right on about the US warped military spending priorities but sadly this is a bi parting problem... both parties are pro war and both parties love feeding the military industrial complex with our tax $$. Even so called progressive Elizabeth Warren voted for a bill that INCREASED military spending by 80 billion.

  70. I hope everyone posting here is pleased as punch with Trump's withdrawal of American troops from Syria. That will save some money, no?

  71. how about no. freedom isn't free. proud navy veteran.

  72. Where's the freedom in having a military presence in 180 countries?

  73. Thank you for your service. YOU should have benefits and support during and after your time in the military. You're worth more than another billion dollar plane or tank.

  74. The myopic view of the far left Liberals is appaling. You cannot castigate the President for trying to get out of one costly war, and 'abandon our allyes in the region'. Then demand we slash the military because we do not need to be involved in every conflict in the world. We pull out of wars and slash their budget. Or we support the poor defenseless people in the world. Choose one.

  75. Actually, you can. You can make the argument that while we need to avoid future quagmires, that we still need to honor our previous commitments to our allies. Ostensibly, the president* is leaving our friends to get slaughtered in order to pay for tax breaks for billionaires.

  76. But this administration is choosing neither.

  77. $4.9 trillion divided by 20 is $225 billion per year, which is not "far more than the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All". Hey, I generally support defunding our military adventure overseas, but ya gotta get the math right.

  78. The rest can be easily ensured by cutting costs that are 10,100 1000 times higher than in Europe.

  79. Did you account for inflation? At a 4% growth rate that would cover $346 Billion a year.

  80. Well, the math is close enough for government work. Keep in mind, both the military budget and medicare cost will be changing overtime.

  81. Women are Brilliant and this Article is proof. Absolutely Brilliant Piece. And cutting Military greatly benefits the Environment.

  82. All these ideas are multiplying Trump's isolationist strategy by a factor of ten. If you want to hand the world to China on a silver platter, this is how.

  83. I couldn't agree more. No other nation feels that they need military bases in 90 countries to be "safe"... "USA World Police" needs to be put on the garbage pile of history.

  84. For years, when acquaintances raised the subject of creating a U.S. health care system that would be on par with those of the other wealthy nations, my response has been, "You can provide health care for all or be in a state of perpetual war. Pick one." It amazes me that this point of view is seldom discussed. I'm grateful for Ms. Koshgarian's piece and the NYT for publishing it.

  85. You have to prepare for war ahead of time, as the 1930s showed. Second, you can't have universal healthcare if you don't have a sealed southern border.

  86. We have had our private for profit health insurance/care system for over 150 years. We have never made it work to the point that all Americans are covered, We bankrupt 500,000 families a year with our system and don't even cover 27.5 million Americans and have another 29% of those with insurance being under insured. We have never achieved the best health care results. Apparently we Americans are very slow learners.

  87. Its not only wealthy nations. Mexico has universal health care and free university education including medical schools. Quality of life has soared here past 20 years while it has deteriorated drastically in the USA.

  88. Given that trump is withdrawing America from the world we won't need a military presence overseas. After all, who needs NATO and the Kurds didn't help in WWII.

  89. The Kurds did fight on the Allied side in WW2. They helped break the siege following the 1941 pro-Nazi Coup d'état in Iraq & were part of the (pro-Allied) Iraq armies. By 1942 Kurds made up 25% of the force. By 1943, 10 of the 44 companies comprising the Iraq army were Kurdish.

  90. Oh please. Anyone with basic math skills can verify cutting the military budget isn't going to come close to funding medicare for all. Especially if you propose things like decriminalizing illegal border crossing and giving medicare benefits to "unauthorized immigrants".

  91. Ever use your basic math skills to figure out the cost of "staying the course" to support this obscene waste of money and the cost of 13% of every health care dollar going to insurance company overhead?

  92. This is a really good idea -- I wish our political parties had the courage to do it. The media has some responsibility as well. On the CNN/Times debate the journalists were only interested in getting Warren and/or Sanders to say they'd raise middle class taxes to pay for Medicare for All. No questions about how compromised the candidates might be by taking corporate money. No questions demanding to know why the so-called moderates were so soft on Big Pharma, Insurance etc. Or why they vote for trillions in defense spending. ALL the pressure was on the only two candidates who are trying to address this appalling health care crisis.

  93. Talking about ways to save federal dollar spend makes sense. And reduction in military spending does make sense, although some of the cuts I read here would clearly compromise our national security. Our drug overspend by us overpaying for all drugs in this country is about 180 billion per year, or close to 5% of our annual health care spend. Critical fix. No negoatiations needed, just set reimbursements to OECD averages. The real issue for a true no premium single payer system is the case where a household earming 70,000 is paying increased federal taxes for healthcare whereas an American Household making 40,000 a year is paying no federal income taxes at all. This issue will eventually come to light one way or another no matter how evasive Warren and Sanders are on this. The middle middle and the upper middle classes will not vote to pay for the lower middle classes healthcare premiums. It will never happen. And it will take the total middle class buy in to make any health care change of significance work.

  94. This article conspicuously fails to mention that even if we eliminated the military entirely, it still wouldn’t pay for even half of M4A, and that’s estimating the costs conservatively. The CBO estimates one of the skimpier versions of M4A would cost $3.3 trillion per year (on a par with the entire US federal budget). Our military spending is $700 billion per year. Extremely disingenuous.

  95. Slash the military...but take care of the veterans. If Congress insists on handing out pork barrel contracts to the defense industry, tack on a 10% (or more) tax that is specifically used to take care of people who returned home with serious injuries, disabilities or chronic illness. The crime of military spending is how little goes to take care of the humans who are tossed on the scrap heap like outdated machinery when they are no longer useful.

  96. This piece wants to dissolve the VA - the purely socialized medicine that exists to serve the unique needs of the troops and plow the money into Medicare for All. Talk about abandoning our troops...

  97. "Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it. That’s nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary)." Beyond the tax dollars that were spent on these failed war efforts, hundreds of thousands of innocents were killed and thousands of US troops returned to our county with horrible injuries----while many others died in these efforts. Nevertheless, we are no more safe and secure than before, and arguably are more frequently targeted because of these ill-fated wars that benefitted only the war profiteers and arms merchants. If this does not make us think long and hard about priorities, nothing will.

  98. There's plenty of money around. Dare I speak truth to power? Sure, here's some low hanging fruit. 1. Stop oil industry subsidies. 2. Tax the rich and super-rich fairly. 3. Corporations should no longer get away with paying zero tax. 4. Follow what this article suggests and cut the military.

  99. Thank you Bill De Blasio!

  100. Elizabeth Warren is being intellectually dishonest when she says one of the biggest reason people file bankruptcy is because of medical bills. That is patently untrue and not supported by facts. People who file bankruptcy due to unforeseen medical events do so because they failed to insure their income. This is called Disability Insurance and if you have assets or income you want to protect, then you best take that $75 or so a month you use for Latte's and put it into a Long Term Disability policy or rider for what your work may or may not cover. Imagine having to endure 6 months of chemotherapy treatments that are 99% paid by the health insurance company..but not having any income during that time because you had other priorities other than insuring your income. This is why people file bankruptcy and there is no amount of "healthcare reform" that is going to fix this. In Warren's world...the same # of people will file for bankruptcy because of moral hazard. People have to pay for the mistake they make. You can't simply put that off on the rest of us who are protecting our income and assets. There is one other note from the debate this week that seems to be missed by most. It was made by Amy Klobuchar who suddenly wants to put Long Term Care insurance into the Medicare for All Program..which would make this a $100 trillion program instead of the mere $65 trillion program as envisioned by Warren and Sanders.

  101. It all sounded good . . . until a coffee needed to be capitalized and hyphenated.

  102. Oh, seriously? You want to question someone who has done a detailed, decade-long study of consumer bankruptcy? Do you know difficult it is for a working man to buy the insurance you're talking about? Even if such insurance were available the premiums are too high to pay out of a typical paycheck.

  103. There are real advantages to being the worlds unquestioned Superpower. American hegemony springs from winning WWII and the Cold War and maintaining that unmatched strength of arms. Our position in the world is more due to our military strength than is commonly thought. Our cultural and economic advantages are not the sole source of our influence and our economic prowess is also, in part, due to our military superiority. The hegemony of the dollar goes hand in hand with our military hegemony. The cuts outlined in this article will eliminate the US from its lone superpower position. Others will fill the void we leave. It is fine to debate the merits of our huge military expenditures but it can only be responsibly done with a clear vision of what privileges our current stature gives us and what the trade off will be.

  104. w/ trump, mc connell & the gop, that " Others will fill the void we leave" should be past tense.

  105. All that status is based on having a nurturing, vibrant society, which ours is not. I think you mistake the source of American mojo. It isn't our guns that scare our adversaries: it is our unbelievable capacity for inventiveness. We have reinvented this country a dozen times over. This comes from a belief that success comes from within; it depends less on who your daddy was and more on what you can do. We've lost that in a generation.

  106. I never said that our military power is the key ingredient or even the only ingredient to American prowess. We are admired for our rule of law and our ability to progress as a society (the damage of Trumpism still needs to be assessed). However, our military position gives us certain advantages that we would not possess without it. Power matters, the arc of history has not changed that much since the end of the Cold War.

  107. Great idea. Reduce to double the spending of the next in line and save $500 B. Would $500B be of any help ?

  108. Obviously hearing a rather liberal view point of defense spending in the NYTimes is quite unexpected. More seriously, even as a veteran and supporter of the military it's impossible to disagree tat far too much money is spent on the Pentagon. People might be surprised to find out if you could pull more of the politics out of the process, there are plenty of ways the military would love to reduce spending if given the chance by Congress. If anyone thinks that the average person in uniform is looking forward to our next war, think again. Elect better politician and this problem gets a lot easier to fix.

  109. After slashing the military budget, where does anyone get the remaining 90% of money needed to fund medicare for all? After the military budget is slashed, I'm guessing that we will really need medicare for all, and more. Brain surgery for the originators and followers of this idea will cost a fortune.

  110. Guess you forgot to factor in the savings from declining NEED for high-cost healthcare if people are able to readily, cheaply access prophylactic care BEFORE they are so ill that it bankrupts them. Novel idea, huh?

  111. The military doesn't need to be slashed, they just need a new mission: Build a Clean Energy economy. Again, for the ten-thousandth time, Universal Healthcare will pay for itself because it will be cheaper. With the savings from the cheaper Universal Healthcare (#10,001), we will give everyone in America a Freedom Dividend. We can raise taxes on wealth, or use a VAT, to pay for free Pre-K and affordable college.

  112. Politically, how would reducing military spending ever be sold to the American people when anyone who suggests it will be painted as "making us vulnerable" and scaring the wits out of half the electorate? Most people have no conception of what the US spends or on what. (Thirty years ago, my great-grandfather thought the debt and deficit came from free school lunches. People out there today still believe these types of things.)

  113. My calculator says that $300 billion divided by 141.2 million taxpayers equals $177.05 a month [ per person/population it comes to $76.22/month]. We pay monthly for Medicare. It's not free after 65. They deduct $137 a month from your SSN check. Even without cutting military spending this should be doable for basic coverage. But, that's also an issue that's problematic, though one that shouldn't stop the move to a national health care system. Basic care is good. But, it doesn't cover audio, visual, dental, prescription costs and care beyond the very basic and preventative level. We need to view medical skills as essential to national security and cover much of the education debt for medical school. We need to cut the prescription drug costs to a reasonable level. And we need to understand the costs of job losses when we cut back into the economies of states on gov't. spending [military] and provide for those disruptions through skills assessment, training, and support for new enterprises [encouraging new companies to relocate]. It's not rocket science. It's prioritizing needs for a stable society.

  114. With all the talk about the need to "raise taxes" to fund healthcare for all, something important gets lost: 1. When people have employer-based plans, they are already paying *something* for healthcare in the form of deductibles and the employee portion of their premium. 2. When people are self-employed or unemployed, they are paying a HUGE percentage of their income in the form of premiums and deductibles, etc. Personally, our family (income just out of the subsidy range) pays somewhere between 20% to 30% of our income every year for healthcare. That's insane. 3. Employers who provide health insurance are paying a lot of money to insure their workers. Taxing employers to fund part of the cost would offset how much "taxes" need to be collected from individual taxpayers. If you think of the costs that individuals pay (premiums, deductibles, etc.) as "hidden healthcare taxes", then most middle class folks will NOT see a rise in their overall taxes for healthcare under a universal plan. In fact, most of us would be paying LESS. It would just show up

  115. Only the 20% who consume 80% of the healthcare in America would be ahead under your proposal. Good for you..but 80% of the country gets hosed. How is that fair?

  116. Amen to that. Enough with perpetual war. Enough with a bureaucracy that can not even audit itself. We have a need in this country that is growing exponentially, which constitutes a direct threat to our aging population. Let's address that first and foremost.

  117. How to lose in 2020: Medicare for All, funded by a slash in military spending.

  118. 30-40 trillion dollars for medicare for all. Get ready for higher taxes middle class! Just remove the military and open the door to communism!

  119. From your lips to God's ears.

  120. Very good article and a very much needed discussion. When even Democrats like Biden are going about screaming 30 Trillion Dollars for medicare for all, it is time to have an honest discussion (and Hillary/Biden wing of the party which voted for Iraq war). Here in Canada we have medicare for all and no we are not bankrupt. Not even close. We have a very good basic health plan and we can add private insurance on top of it through our work etc. Works just fine. No need to scare the US population by saying it is not doable or just too expensive. Completely false. As false as Trump statements these people criticize. Why are you lying yourself ? You are like Trump in this regard Mr. Biden. Warren and Bernie have it right.

  121. You're not bankrupt, but you also pay 2x the taxes we do and now we hear story after story where people who actually need serious medical care are buying supplemental health insurance policies so they don' to wait 6 months to get their knee replaced or stent implanted. We are much more about personal responsibility here, even if the Democrats don't want to make anyone personally responsible for anything..other than voting D on election day. If you notice, we also don't allow a picture of the Queen of England on our money. We know where your loyalties lie, which is probably why Pelosi is holding up the trade deal. She flat out doesn't trust you Canucks any more than she trusts Trump.

  122. No brainer. But, in this country, spending billions on the ridiculously bloated military is never a problem, spending dollars on human beings is an outrage. So, don't bet on that, not any time soon.

  123. But think of the impacts on the portfolios of our brave, selfless congressional representatives, who've invested heavily in defense industry stocks. Oh, the [lack of] humanity!

  124. "Medicare for all"? Why not Social Security for all? Why bother with paying in to systems for decades to fund them? Why not start sending a fat monthly check to each newborn? We could fund it with a tax on unicorns!

  125. Well, I guess if we are going to just throw allies out to dry and not do anything to counter growing Russian aggression/interference throughout the world, we might as well gut the military and spend the money elsewhere.

  126. You mean our NATO allies, or our temporary allies who are not really allies, but hired mercenaries killing a common enemy?

  127. Cutting the budget...not eliminating the military but wiser use of it and resources does not throw anybody out to dry. The Russians are in a lot fewer places/conflicts than the USA, and their primary "aggression' is electronic, so let's double our budget on that...still saves billions while countering the Russian electronic mischief.

  128. Specifically NATO.

  129. I totally agree with your points about our absurd bloated military budget and waste. But what makes you think government takeover of the largest industry in the US will be immune from this kind of colossal waste?

  130. "We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together." President Eisenhower, 1961 [sigh]

  131. "That’s a terrible model. Just imagine if the U.S. still had thousands of troops in Afghanistan in 2076." Well I certainly hope we don't have thousands of troops in Afghanistan in 2076, but those troops in Germany are what kept European peace during the cold war.

  132. In the previous cold war that (troops in Germany) made sense.....but one has to change with the changing situation, so have troops where you need them, but not all over. She may mis-state the savings by cutting all...but surely can cut half. That is $45 billion saved. Lots of medical care for that.

  133. I'll take a strong and fully armed military over free health care for all, including a lot of deadbeats who pay little or no federal taxes, any day of the week. Without our overwhelming military dominance, how long do you think it will take for Russia, China, Iran or North Korea to expand their despotic regimes within their regional spheres of influence?

  134. So you do know that the Chinese, Russians and North Koreans are already doing that right? And the Chinese are adopting the model we used in the cold war, bankrupting us through defense spending. Our current spending isn't to contain China and Russia. It's to protect spheres of influence.

  135. The author probably thinks that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea would follow our example. Naive at best, and foolhardy at most. If this author thinks that, and she does come across as such, we'd get along with that ilk if we held hands and sing Kumbaya, then I have beachfront property in Wyoming for sale.

  136. Slashing the military to pay for anything (besides tax-cuts) is not happening. And should Trump or his liberal antithesis remove the United States from the world stage what will happen? 1. End of Pax-Americana. Not to worry; turn over that burdensome super-power obligation to the Chinese. The Russians will help too. What a fair and peaceful world we can expect! 2. The dollar as the world's reserve currency? Hmmm... maybe not. Look what happened to the Pound sterling when Britannia stopped ruling the waves. Then we can pay our already enormous debts in a currency other than our own - ouch! Check with your local economist to see how much this would cost. 3. Hey, how about looking into the seemingly inexplicable rise in the cost of medical care? Do you think we could do some cost control before expanding entitlements or should we attempt something harder first?

  137. Positively awesome writing. Towards the end of the article I started thinking about the argument that with government run health care we would lose all sorts of innovations and research in medicine. If you consider the defense industry, it completely debunks this theory. If the government put the money and enthusiasm towards health care that it puts towards the military, we'd all be living healthy lives into our 100's. Imagine.

  138. Bravo! Finally, someone thining out of the box. Of course the U.S. military presence is not needed around the world. It's just a way for the rich to become richer off the corporations which focus on war. When I worked in Turkey and Jordan, none of the people I worked with wanted the US Military in their country. The friendly relationship was fine on the surface, but at a deep level they wanted the U.S. military out of their lives. We are getting a taste now of what it's like to have a president wedded to Russia and the decisions that come about from such a relationship. In my opinion it's ludicrous to have military spread over 800 military bases around the world. By pretending to be the world's baby sitter, we need to focus on our own healthcare, educational, and infrastructure issues. Reduce military spending and increase funds for improving the welfare of our entire country from the homeless to universal healthcare to improvements for social security. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Enough is enough.

  139. Finally the NYT's addressing the elephant in the room, for fear of being un-patriotic but we could do so much good for the country and people if we cut back the military. Since 9/11 when the annual military budget was near $250 billion, it has escalated to $720 billion. around 60% of our debt. It can't continue like this.

  140. You haven't even started on the WAR ON DRUGS. This war costs many billions at the justice department, the DEA, federal and state corrections and policing, and lost productivity to incarceration. It is a major driver of refugees and migration which brings additional costs. We need to better understand who is consuming all these drugs and what drives the demand. Using law enforcement to wage a war on drugs has created and sustains organized crime. There must be another approach.

  141. i definitely support this, in theory. given the decisions that the criminal-in-chief has been making, however, i think we'll need to more focused on defense than we would like.

  142. Of course we could afford healthcare for all. It's simply a matter of priorities: whom do we care about -- wealthy defense industry investors/contractors or run-of-the-mill voters trying to stay alive and avoid "medically induced" bankruptcy. But the defense industry C-suite denizen would just reinvent themselves, switch their PAC contributions and jump ship into the healthcare industry. More importantly: WHAT would VP Pence do without Space Force?!

  143. Good ideas! However, one has to wonder if the military/military-industrial complex would "allow" some or all of this to happen? To what depths would they go? A military coup?

  144. I've been thinking about this since the Vietnam War. Who, Republican or Democrat, has the courage to advocate taking on the massively-profitable Military-Industrial Complex? No one I can see. Between the military and entitlements, only 5% of our total budget is available for things like Medicare for All. Raising taxes? Good luck with that. Would love to see the military budget slashed, but I don't see anyone willing to do it.

  145. I cannot identify any candidate, or any member of Congress, who would take on the military-industrial complex in any meaningful way that could significantly reduce the DOD budget. It has often be said that Social Security is a "third rail" no politician would touch. DOD (including all the extra post 9-11 security costs) is another "third rail."

  146. We have so many third rails that our politics is jammed entirely. Some of those are a good thing. They do however need to be examined.

  147. Can we please stop "pipe dreams" and not lose another supreme court seat and the WH for good! Or ask China/ Russia/ N Korea / Iran/ Saudi Arabia etc to disband their military first ! a lot of money will flow to the stick market for world food development and fight climate change!

  148. If we can't accomplish the "pipe dreams" then we may as well lose those supreme court seats and the WH for good. So what? If we must live by Republican rules in order to win, then let the Republicans rule their way. If we are to accomplish anything, we must try. We must believe in it ourselves. Just give up and do it their way? That isn't a way for Democrats to "win" it is a way to give it to the Republicans win or lose. Only Republican Lite wants that. It is democracy of Me! I want to win. I want to run it. I don't care how it is run, so long as Me!!!

  149. A very bad idea. The concept of remaking our military as a defensive force surrenders the world to Putin and his ilk, who have no intention of following suit. The old bromide, "The best defense is a good offense" exists because, over centuries, over the millennia, it has always -- always -- proven true. We are the foundation, the solid rock, of NATO. Retreating into our shell and hoping no predator takes advantage is foolish, and a total surrender to the megalomaniacs with power, from Putin to Xi Jinping to Kim Jae-ryong. It would be national suicide.

  150. We are bigger than all the rest of the major powers put together, and most of those are our friends. The slight power of our enemies won't win if we cut back to something within reason. We don't need to fight and lose half a dozen wars at once. No matter who our enemies are, that doesn't advance our interests.

  151. @Austin Liberal Republicans like to believe Reagan spent the Soviet Union out of existence because they couldn’t keep up with his military buildup. Well, now we are doing it to ourselves. We won’t be safe from Putin if we collapse from within. A strong middle class is more important than a military on steroids.

  152. "We are bigger than all the rest of the major powers put together" Totally false. You're just going by the budgets. The US military budget has a lot more personnel expenses. When you look at hardware and troop strength, we have no such advantage over Russia or China.

  153. The military-Industrial complex offers millions of well-paying jobs. These are distributed throughout all the states so that there is no appetite for eliminating any of them. Once people have sucurred their dream jobs, or their pensions, good luck trying to take those away.

  154. I take the opposite lesson. The problem with Globalization as we've done it is that it takes from everywhere, and has no allies at home, just victims. We need to run our economy with some of the insights that run out military. Ensure buy in. Make it benefit everybody. After all, our economy isn't some thing outside ourselves, that we serve. It is simply us, all of our activity. We should do it in ways that benefit all of us. Spread the wealth.

  155. Yes, and besides cutting the defense budget, let's claw back those tax breaks then we can do everything we need to make this a thriving society again. The trouble is that the political will is too easily bent to the rich who control our society. Lack of political will is what killed the Romans and the British Empire -- both of them, before and after the American Revolution.

  156. Two or three years ago I read an article in this paper citing military officers that the nation could reduce its nukes to just about 300-400, and we'd be fine. We are spending on maintaining about 2500 now. And do we need eleven aircraft carrier battle groups? Bet we could ditch two or three. Does the air force really need a new B-21 bomber?

  157. I agree our military is too big for our needs. In the late 18th and early 19th Century, the fear expressed about having a Navy was that it would cause us to use it. Fear of a standing army was of domestic dictatorship. Fear of a navy was of foreign wars done because we can instead of because we needed to do them. However, we don't need to change our military spending "to pay for" Medicare for All. That phrase is a lie, told by the enemies of Medicare for All, principally by those who defend the current abuses for the money they make by abusing us. The question is really just how we claw back the vast amounts of money now being ripped off by the medical care monster. The extra they steal is by itself twice the entire defense budget. We don't need to cut defense just to feed that too to the medical care monster. There is no "how to pay for it." There is only "how to take back the money now stolen that way."

  158. YES. YES. YES. YES. Praise to the Times for giving a knowledgeable writer prominent space on the editorial page to state this blinding flash of the obvious. Do I agree with every one of these proposed defense budget cuts? No, but for all our sake's, let us get this debate started and make it continue until this country achieves more common sense in balancing priorities between domestic and military needs. The status quo of unquestioned, ever-increasing defense budgets while citizens lack basic services and our infrastructure crumbles is not making us safer -- quite the contrary.

  159. I've worked as a civilian at military installations. Every office I worked in could have had its budget cut by 30% and work would have gone on as usual. It is stunningly wasteful. They are spending other people's money and it shows.

  160. During the height of WW2, the chief of Army Ground Forces, Gen McNair, imposed a 10% cut across the board on all Army units. He was sure there was fat, and he let them decide what it was, but he demanded the cut. He got it. He was right.

  161. And what about the space program, how much is that nonsense costing per annum?

  162. Do you mean NASA? It would be very foolish to stop all space programs. I can't wait till the Webb telescope is in service, it will yield immense returns in our understanding of the universe. Our space explorations have been extremely useful for the US and the whole world.

  163. It would be extremely short sighted to stop scientific exploration before cutting defense spending. Defense spending is nothing but a massive graft to benefit corporations and wealthy contractors whose only desire is to line their pockets. The benefits of basic scientific research into space can hardly be overstated given that human race is poised to extinguish most life on this planet within the next 200 years.

  164. While I completely agree with this position, it's never going to happen. The GOP has so successfully linked the military with patriotism that even Democrats are afraid to vote down massive budget increases for fear of being labeled unpatriotic by their constituents.

  165. THANK YOU for publishing this. Unfortunately, not a single candidate for President is talking about this. Cutting military spending is essentially verboten in Congress due to the massive amount of money that the military spreads into both Dem and GOP districts. It's basically the 3rd rail of U.S. politics. The fact is that we are a military state, and all our elected officials know it. It would take an avalanche of public opinion to sway that. We need a Dwight Eisenhower for the 21st century but I don't see anyone stepping up to the position.

  166. Just the current private plans: subtract the 20% overhead to private insurance, how much would that be. Medicare pays 80%. Assuming very limited or no deductibles, what is the trade off here? And if Medicare for all premiums are collected through FICA withholding, how much would that be? What all these projections don't take into account is that people with insurance already pay a lot. If anything their premiums will go down and the coverage will be better. And everyone else who do not have insurance now will be paying premiums through FICA taxes into the system, and they will have insurance. Lots more money in plus an incentive to work in jobs that pay the premiums through withholding in order to get the insurance. Why are the Democrats afraid to say "middle class taxes"? Their premiums and out of pockets are already taxes. Private insurance companies will do just fine insuring the 20% not covered, and we should assume part of the law will be to assure that there is a competitive market. On the military side, where there is essentially non-competitive bidding, just lop 30% off the top and let them adjust--take it or leave it, with no compromises on quality. The mergers in the Defense industry were intended to be in restraint of trade, or violations of the anti-trust laws. Ditto telecom and media companies.

  167. I'm tired of all the "How do we pay for Medicare for All?" agonizing. No one blinked an eye when Trump and the Republicans passed their massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations, creating a massive deficit. Why is it OK to create a massive deficit with giveaways to the riich, but we are expected to have every penny covered with health care for poor and elderly people? The simplest answer for how to pay for Medicare for All: Reverse the tax cut giveaways for rich people that Trump passed.

  168. While I opposed the tax cut, it’s nowhere close to the amount of money required for M4A.

  169. Common sense. This is a real dose of common sense. Why can't we find some politician to state it as simply, as matter-of-factly as this? Do we want to continue to invest TRILLIONS in far away lands or invest in our own population's health, education and ingenuity? (BTW, no other country is going to mess with a nation with almost a million-man standing army, a robust army & navy, and tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Why do we act so vulnerable?)

  170. It's so obvious: tax the rich. And it cannot be said aloud before the election.

  171. Define rich. More than $50,000 a year for a single? Anyone more than 120% of minimum wage? What about someone working 4 jobs with 3 investments that are yielding $100k a year? Are they rich? What if they live in Joplin instead of Overland Park? Then are they rich? Point is...you can't make the budget work by only focusing on the rich. You need to focus on everyone and anyone who is working and making money. Fact is...every person in America should have skin in the game. They each should pay something in federal taxes..but that's not the case. 50% aren't paying a dime in federal taxes. How is that fair to the rest of America? We didn't get to where we are with freeriders dictating policy. Otherwise we'd already be called North Venezuela.

  172. Here's a documented fact: The rich (I'll define them as the top 10% of all earners), already pay more than 80% of all federal taxes collected. And you want more. You can tax the "rich" and corporations at 90%, and it will still not provide the money needed to provide free health care for all. But for people like you, even a 90% tax rate for the highest earners (leaving them with a $1 for every $10 of earnings), probably isn't enough, is it?

  173. I totally agree. When we had progressive tax brackets that went up to 90% or so 50 years ago, our economy was fine. But there isn't enough tax money out there to fund healthcare for all without also making spending cuts in obvious places like the military, or without cutting healthcare costs in half to match rates in other countries - and nobody is talking about that very seriously. We talk about gouging by insurance and pharmaceutical companies, but the costs charged by hospitals and doctors never seem to come up.

  174. The bloated military budget that is out of control because of no checks and balances is exactly why it would be a bad idea to allow the government to take over the health care system. While capitalism has it's downsides, such as profit and stock holder returns, I suspect that added cost would be FAR less than the government inefficiency and bloat that will result from Medicare for All.

  175. First of all, do away with employer provided health care. Half of America doesn't want to rock the boat, because they are afraid of losing out on what they are made to believe is a good deal. If those people had to pay for their own health care (like the rest of us) the screaming to fix the system would be deafening. The problem isn't finding the money, we have plenty of money. The problem is half the people in this country believe "I got mine, you get yours."

  176. In case you have not noticed (or cared) the U.S. currently has a federal debt of $21 trillion, $9 trillion of which was created during the Obama administration. The same Obama administration that created Obamacare (remember Obama declaring "You can keep your current physician, and the average family will save $2500 under my plan"? What bunk. ). As for me as a retiree, I'll keep my employer sponsored health care plan, for which I paid dearly with 35 years of hard work. I wouldn't trust the federal government to do half the quality job being done by my private insurer.

  177. With half the country afraid to see the system change, it's safe to charge the other half higher prices. Large companies are required to help with insurance not because the government/insurance industry wants to keep people healthy, but because they want to keep them complacent. In this perverse arrangement, people in the best position to pay for their own health care get a discount, and everybody else gets overcharged to make up for it. The goal is to maximize profit for the insurance industry. it wasn't the government that wanted businesses to insure workers, and it wasn't the businesses either. The insurance companies spend all day, every day, trying to figure out ways to make money. That's all they do. They created this schism because it is to their benefit.

  178. You hit the nail on the head.

  179. Before getting all happy about cuts, maybe speak to soldiers in the field. My child is in the army and tells frightening stories about the lack of working equipment, low quality food, and making do with broken vehicles. So by all means, we do not need a trillion dollar plane, but remember that you're also speaking about real men and women, and their families, when you reduce the military to nothing but bloat and waste.

  180. Isn't there something wrong with a system that supplies our defenders with a "lack of working equipment, low quality foot, and making do with broken vehicles" no matter how much it spends?

  181. Your child's experience in the field highlights, not that there isn't enough money, but that the obscene amount of money being spent towards defense isn't necessarily going where it needs to go. That's the downside of this bloated system, right there. This money is going to corporations, consultants and contractors and there are countless unrecognized 'entities' that get their slice of the pie long, long before it ever reaches the grunts in the field.

  182. But that can be remedied not by more spending but by redirecting the spending from whatever fancy equipment the military-industrial complex can think up (the MX missile on railroad tracks, the Star Wars concept, to name two silly and wasteful ideas from my lifetime) to equipment for the troops on the ground. Or, better yet, don't go around trying to fix other countries.

  183. Please close foreign bases. There's no need for bases near the Straits of Hormuz or in the Black Sea facing Russia. There's also no need for "Freedom of Navigation" operations along the coast of dozens of countries. All this unnecessarily provokes other power centres, fuels regional backlash and militarisation. China has increased ballistic missiles facing the US base at Okinawa and Iran has inducted anti-ship missiles to counter the US 5th fleet. In turn, US "defence" expenditure increases and increases to confront these "threats". As though spending $4.9 trillion on guerilla wars already wasn't enough...

  184. My uncle, centuries removed, had much to say about this. The soveraignty of the British seas : proved by records, history, and the municipall lawes of this kingdome : written in the year 1633 Author: John Borough, Sir

  185. "There's no need for bases near the Straits of Hormuz" Yes, there is. Most of the world's oil passes through the Straits. Removing US forces gives local powers (namely Iran) the ability to strangle the global economy unless their demands are met. "or [bases] in Black Sea facing Russia." Yes, there is. Russia occupied all of Eastern Europe in a totalitarian grip of steel that lasted decades. Russia's current leadership considers this to be "the good old days". You can see why the local countries want US troops stationed there. "All this unnecessarily provokes other power centres, fuels regional backlash and militarisation." You're making the classic isolationist mistake: you assume that other the aggression of other countries is purely a response to US "aggression", you don't realize that they have their own interests, many of which involve expanding their own power. We learned this in WWII: troublesome actors don't magically become peaceful just because you pull back the troops and talk about peace. The French and British let Hitler annex multiple countries, and each time, people who wanted to intervene to stop him were criticized as "unnecessarily provoking other power centers, fueling regional backlash and militarisation". By the time France and Britain got wise that Hitler wasn't going to return the favor, it was too late. But now that eighty years have passed, people are forgetting that lesson.

  186. Yes. A detailed analysis rather than the vacuous talking points we keep hearing. Certainly 30% of the military budget is Congressional pork, like for the F-35, rather than needed programs. Two other points: 1) The defense budget does not contribute to economic productivity. We create vast piles of bombs and ammunition to supply a war, should it break out. That is all tax money essentially down the toilet. Should we have a war it is likely to go into bombs to turn more of the Middle East into a pile of rubble and generate more millions of refugees. Then more money will go into foreign aid to fix part of the mess WE made. Healthcare for the lives of the people who pay those taxes might seem, just possibly, to be money better spent. It makes me furious to hear about how money is going to be "wasted" on health care with the vast non-productive waste of the military. 2) How about the same detailed analysis on the "cost" of medicare for all. A large fraction of medical costs in the US is paid for by employers. It isn't tax money, but it is a huge expense for companies. Now just suppose that expense goes to zero with a single payer system. Then impose a tax on businesses for 50% of that amount. Talking point, "Oh, my, crisis, taxes went up" and then we rend our garments. But the total cost went DOWN! I think we sent politicians to college to party and not to take math classes or to be able to do or understand any realistic analyses.

  187. Finally, a vision for engagement abroad that actually makes sense. Huge thanks to Ms. Koshgarian and the Poor People's Campaign for all their hard work and unyielding determination to make this a country that works for everyone. People should be proud to support peace, it's the most patriotic thing you can do.

  188. I am overjoyed to see this information in print. Maybe there is hope for the USA after all. With the brief exception of Eisenhower's prescient remark in1960, but otherwise throughout my entire life, the bloated military budget has been exempt from political criticism. The founders of this republic feared the consequences of "a standing army" above all and for good reason.

  189. Yes indeed Ivan Light. Why o'why haven't potential solutions like this been in the mainstream of the conversation for years now? I suppose because too many fat cats, waving the flag of militarism and mega-capitalism, don't want it discussed and too many Americans are too mesmerized by the false-equivalency of militarism and patriotism.

  190. Pity the poor President who tries to cut the military budget. They have a hundred ways to get even with you. You didn't think this was the exclusive domain of the IC, did you?

  191. @Ivan Light: Having no standing army was the rationale behind the Second Amendment, “a well-regulated militia,” which meant that in times of war, the citizenry would be recruited to fight. The Second Amendment has been completely distorted now to allow the slaughter of children.

  192. We will fare no better than any other empire. Rome, Constantinople, the Incas, Egypt and on and on and on .... In our country and others, many of us are wary of standing armies. Our forebears have been wary of alliances with foreign nations. When we pursue the use of power in aggrandizing and conquering other nations we are not focusing on our country, our citizens and our welfare. Cutting down the size of the military, the armaments we stockpile and the increasing use of police and the use of power instead of the tending to the citizens of our land our freedom.

  193. Cutting down on military spending, particularly in the middle east, seems like a good idea. (At least at first.) But it's easier said than done. Have a look at US withdrawal from Syria, and the almost universal reaction to the withdrawal.

  194. While I agree that there is significant cost savings available in the Pentagon budget, there is also the fact that the Russian Federation has committed acts of war against the United States in their brazen influencing of elections, and installing their puppet president. They MUST pay a large price.

  195. I think she's taking it a little too far. If we slashed our defense budget in half we would almost have to completely disengage from world affairs. I'm not sure if that's a great idea, especially after watching the fiasco that's happening in Syria right now. I don't understand why we can't just raise everyone's taxes so we could all pay for it instead gutting the military or raising corporate taxes. People feel like they deserve social security and Medicare because they pay their fair share of it.

  196. Halving our budget would still leave us as #1 military spender by a margin

  197. Per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, cms.gov, “Private health insurance spending increased 4.2 percent to $1.2 trillion in 2017.” Look no further for trillions of dollars! A large percentage of those dollars could be redirected to a “Medicare for all” plan that allows everyone to choose private insurance and the costs that come with that, or a “Medicare” plan with a supplement, just as most Americans over 65 already do. Not everyone over 65 chooses Medicare! Our Medicare system works pretty well. We could expand it without rearranging all other priorities!

  198. Excellent Idea! I'm no peacenik. I don't mind spending $5 trillion on war. What I mind is spending $5 trillion to lose wars. It's clear that since 9/11, the record of the US Military has only been eclipsed by the record of the Cleveland Browns, a team with which I am sadly all too familiar.

  199. Um, the US hasn't won a war since 1945. Sure has killed a lot of folk, tho.

  200. As another commentator said, the GOP has successfully tied military spending to patriotism in the minds of most Americans. This is very true and to counter that we need a sustained long term campaign to bring to the public eye the realities of defense budgets. We need investigative journalism reporting on every penny and dime spent on defense contracting over a long period of time. Filter it down to make it digestible by the masses. Once public sees the massive scale of spending, they will be able to compare it to how much the government spends on infrastructure, healthcare, scientific research and public services (which ludicrously is an extremely tiny fraction of the total budget). Then, we might see the tide of pseudo-patriotism turning against defense spending. Keep in mind, these are extremely powerful forces with a ton of cash which they use to leverage the politicians. I know there is no hope for ever reversing the Citizens United decision, so voting is the only thing that might be able to help us in the long run.

  201. Why does the US need to spend 4x on military as compared to China? How about we cap our military budget by law to be no more than 2x the next largest budget.

  202. Or how about we not pay another dime to NATO until every member of NATO honors their commitments?