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More Democrats Backing Best Health Coverage Possible: Medicare for All!

Jeepers—I’ll settle for South Dakota Democrats who campaign to protect the Affordable Care Act and stop Trump and Republican Attorneys General from taking insurance away from Americans with pre-existing conditions. But Democratic candidates for governor in Colorado and several other states are taking the health care debate a healthy step forward with their bold advocacy of Sanders/McGovern-style Medicare for All.

Wherever he takes his campaign for governor, Abdul El-Sayed is followed by activists handing out information about “Medicare for all.” When he grabs the microphone, El-Sayed makes a promise: He’ll bring universal health care to Michigan.

…El-Sayed, who campaigned this weekend with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) before Tuesday’s primary, is one of at least a dozen Democrats running for governor this year on a pledge to do what no state has ever done: give basic health insurance to everyone, no matter the cost [David Weigel, “Tossing Aside Skepticism, Democratic Candidates for Governor Push for State-Based Universal Health Care,” Washington Post, 2018.08.05].

Cost?! Come on—Koch-backed Bush economist Charles Blahous just proved that nationwide SandersCare would save America money:

Blahous’s paper, titled “The Costs of a National Single-Payer Healthcare System,” estimates total national health expenditures. Even though his cost-saving estimates are more conservative than others, he acknowledges that Sanders’s “Medicare for All” plan would yield a $482 billion reduction in health care spending, and over $1.5 trillion in administrative savings, for a total of $2 trillion less in overall health care expenditures between 2022 and 2031, compared to current spending [Ryan Grim and Zaid Jilani, “Koch-Backed Think Tank Finds That ‘Medicare for All’ Would Cut Health Care Spending and Raise Wages. Whoops,” The Intercept, 2018.07.30].

Plus, if you have a job, you’ll make more money:

Blahous’s report also acknowledges some substantial benefits to eliminating employer-sponsored insurance. He writes that these changes “should increase worker wage net of employer-provided health benefits,” while also “relieving individuals, families, and employers of the substantial health expenditures they would experience under current law.” The report even admits that the Sanders bill would serve as a boon to states, freeing them from most Medicaid obligations [Grim and Jilani, 2018.07.30].

South Dakota’s Democratic candidate for governor, Billie Sutton, continues to support expanding Medicaid, but no one expects him to start talking like a Berniecrat and advocate the logical conclusion of health insurance-thinking, that we save the most money with a plan that covers the most people, and that the most people we can cover is everyone in one simple, efficient public plan like Medicare.

So here’s my political bargain of the month: if Sutton doesn’t win in November, I’ll agree to Kristi Noem’s mostly ineffective and undesirable slogan-plan to buy health insurance across state lines… if she’ll include the option for South Dakotans to buy into public health insurance in states that go for the best insurance possible: debt-reducing, wage-boosting Sanders/McGovern-style Medicare for All.


  1. Jason 2018-08-07

    Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposed a single-payer system to replace all current health coverage. His system would cover all medically necessary care, including long-term care, without cost-sharing. We estimate that the approach would decrease the uninsured by 28.3 million people in 2017. National health expenditures would increase by $6.6 trillion between 2017 and 2026, while federal expenditures would increase by $32.0 trillion over that period. Sanders’s revenue proposals, intended to finance all health and nonhealth spending he proposed, would raise $15.3 trillion from 2017 to 2026—thus, the proposed taxes are much too low to fully finance his health plan.

  2. jerry 2018-08-07

    Incredible proof that healthcare for all would work under the Koch/Sanders plan. We could not only have that healthcare for all, that tide would lift better and healthier communities in our rural state. If Comrade Old Soviet can manage his Medicare, why can’t we all have Medicare for All?

  3. jerry 2018-08-07

    With Medicaid Expansion, diabetes would finally get under control here in South Dakota. From Kaiser:

    “Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study suggests.

    The Health Affairs study, released Monday afternoon, found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs of the 30 states (including Washington, D.C.) that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015, compared with prior years.

    By contrast, states that didn’t embrace the Medicaid expansion saw no notable increase.

    “Gaining Medicaid insurance would have significantly reduced out-of-pocket spending for insulin for previously uninsured patients, thereby facilitating uptake of the medication,” the Health Affairs study said.” Kaiser Health/Washington Post08/08/2018

    It almost seems that the main reason for not allowing Medicaid Expansion has to do with race. As we know, the Indian population is devastated by diabetes and poor whites are suffering the same fate. Why does the State of South Dakota’s legislature hate the poor whites and poor Indians? They could solve this very expensive issue with a special session and get us all on the road to health, while putting a couple of Billion with a B in the coffers. Racism and indifference kill.

  4. owen reitzel 2018-08-07

    Is healthcare a right or not?

  5. jerry 2018-08-07

    Texas Blue Cross lowers ACA rates, where are they in South Dakota?

    “After double-digit hikes, Texas’ largest health insurer cuts Obamacare premiums
    Business columnist Mitchell Schnurman writes: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas plans to cut 2019 premiums by 6.1 percent, according to a filing with, the federal website that sells individual plans. While others are raising rates here, Blue Cross is the state’s largest insurer and the only option on the exchange in dozens of Texas counties.
    The price cut is its first since the Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014, and hundreds of thousands of residents stand to benefit after open enrollment begins in November. Those with the most to gain are exchange customers who receive the smallest federal subsidies to offset the cost of premiums. Their savings could easily run into hundreds of dollars a year.
    “They’re figuring out the market,” said Chris Sloan, director at Avalere Health, a research and consulting company in Washington. “They’ve raised premiums enough to cover costs, and they have the products to manage this population.””
    Dallas Morning News 08/07/2018

    Good news for sure, but what would be better?? Medicare For All, y’all!

  6. Porter Lansing 2018-08-07

    A purple Tejas is well within sight, amigos. ☂ #AdiosTedCruz

  7. David Bergan 2018-08-07

    Personally, I think the federal government should pay off its debt before considering any new entitlement. Entitlements are expensive never-ending commitments.

    Kind regards,

  8. Debbo 2018-08-07

    David, Medicare for All will be a step toward paying off that debt because it will Save Money.

    Next, we can eliminate the entitlements the wealthy enjoy, thereby taking another big step toward decreasing the debt. We’ll get their tax rate back up to Eisenhower levels when the US economy was very successful.

  9. Anne Beal 2018-08-07

    I am on Medicare. They only pay 25-35% of the claims and I have the EOBs to prove it.
    Everybody on Medicare has to have supplemental insurance to pay for what Medicare won’t pay.

    Remember that Andy Griffith ad about the “free checkups?”
    That free checkup consists of a nurse recording your height, weight, and blood pressure and reviewing your med list. The free part is over before you even pee in a cup. You want a PA to listen to your heart and lungs? That’s extra. You want to talk to a doctor about some new symptom? That’s a whole separate appointment!
    Medicare doesn’t cover obstetrics, family planning, or well-baby visits, either. Not sure everybody has considered that. Nor does it cover dental, vision correction, or hearing aids.
    If you think Medicare for all is going to solve your problems, you need to check the prices on the additional insurance you will have to buy.

  10. jerry 2018-08-07

    Medicare is what it is. It has deductibles as well, as many as 5 of them for hospitalization and a deductible for Part B.

    What company has your Medicare supplement? You know, to supplement that EOB stuff you are talking bout. Come on Anne, who has that? Don’t fib now, tell us.

  11. jerry 2018-08-07

    $79.00 per month is what my sister in law pays for a Medicare supplement. That takes care of office visits, preventive care, the whole shebang. Stop fibbing Anne.

  12. Porter Lansing 2018-08-07

    Anne, you’re incredible. That means you aren’t credible. It’s $80 bucks a month and Medicare for the best medical care you’ll need. Why do you Republicans try to mislead, misdirect and mistake what’s best for the people? #CrookedBastards

  13. Debbo 2018-08-07

    I have Medicare too, and pay $79/month for supplemental through Medica in Minnesota. I have a $10 copay and everything I have needed, except dental, is paid. What kind of lousy plan do you have, Anne?

    I am scheduled for my 2nd shoulder replacement in October, arthritis. After the first one, including an overnight hospital stay, my total for everyone involved, every single statement, was less than $200.

    $79 a month. Under $200 for major surgery and one night in the hospital. Most Americans would kill for that kind of coverage. I’m very grateful for it, and I earned it.

  14. mike from iowa 2018-08-08

    Medicare doesn’t cover obstetrics, family planning, or well-baby visits, either. Not sure everybody has considered that

    Ahem, Planned Parenthood covers/ed much of that for free, but for some inexplicable reason wingnuts just couldn’t abide women getting prenatal care from an outfit that performs constitutionally guaranteed procedures for some women.

    I have no doubt Anne and others of her ilk would be enamored with foolish passion if the NRA could force doctors to implant handguns in a pregnant woman’s uterus to protect the fetus wingnuts demand she carry to term.

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