91% of peer-reviewed scientific articles find that Medicare for All saves money

While you were probably distracted by MSM nonsense, a new study came out showing that the consensus believes that MFA would cost less than the current system.

The study, published in the influential open access journal PLOS Medicine, is a systematic review of 22 single payer plans from 18 studies, published between 1991 and 2018, including 8 national cases and 14 state-level plans. It found that 20 analyses (91 percent) predicted savings over a few years, and 19 (86 percent) projected there to be immediate overall savings in year one.

The team, headed by lead author Christopher Cai of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, concluded that: “In this systematic review, we found a high degree of analytic consensus for the fiscal feasibility of a single-payer approach in the US.”

The authors found that studies funded by organizations across the political spectrum agreed that there were huge savings to be made by switching to a single payer system; with a median estimate of a 3.5 percent reduction in total costs in the first year alone. One area where the studies predicted gigantic savings was in healthcare administration, with estimates varying from 1.2 to 16.4 percent of total costs (with a median of 8.8 percent). Many studies also highlighted a reduction in fraud and waste that could amount to as much as five percent of all healthcare costs being eliminated.

That's an enormous savings, and the opposite of what CNN implied in the debate.
So of course this study was immediately attacked.

First of all, why should they arbitrarily exclude papers from before 1995?
It's a suspicious condition coming from a centrist source.

But what six wasn't included in the study? Based on this Yahoo news article they excluded a CBO report from last year.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said last year that total national health care spending under Medicare for All “might be higher or lower than under the current system depending on the key features of the new system, such as the services covered, the provider payment rates, and patient cost-sharing requirements.”

There's two points to note about this CBO report.

1) The CBO report gave no final price tag, which explains why it was left out.
But it did make some interesting statements.

"People who are currently uninsured would receive coverage and some people who are currently insured could receive additional benefits under the single-payer system, depending on its design."
...Unlike private insurers, which can experience substantial enrollee turnover over time, a single-payer system without that turnover would have a greater incentive to invest in measures to improve people’s health and in preventive measures that have been shown to reduce costs.

2) The CBO panel was stacked against MFA.

The CBO’s 19-member Panel of Health Advisers is stacked with health care executives and directors, including several who are on the payroll of pharmaceutical, health insurance, and hospital companies that are members of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), a dark money nonprofit created to fight against Medicare for All.

So even with a strong anti-MFA panel, they could still only come up with a "maybe, maybe not MFA can save money" report.

The other study left out was by the Commonwealth Fund. It also gave a "maybe, maybe not" report.
So I looked up who sits on the board of this fund:

regional president, Southern California, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
chairman of MFS Investment Management
executive vice president of Alternative Investments for Franklin Templeton Investments
executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group
founder and CEO of Consonance Capital

Gee, insurance and Wall Street. I wonder how they feel about MFA?

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this came out last week

U.S. insurers and providers spent $812 billion on administration, amounting to $2497 per capita (34.2% of national health expenditures) versus $551 per capita (17.0%) in Canada: $844 versus $146 on insurers' overhead; $933 versus $196 for hospital administration; $255 versus $123 for nursing home, home care, and hospice administration; and $465 versus $87 for physicians' insurance-related costs. Of the 3.2–percentage point increase in administration's share of U.S. health expenditures since 1999, 2.4 percentage points was due to growth in private insurers' overhead
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The drug industry is continually running ads promoting various drugs adding to or inflating the cost of prescriptions. For what purpose? Will joe public run to his doctor demanding such and such drug simply because he saw a glossy commercial on his TV regardless of the need.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@humphrey

Will joe public run to his doctor demanding such and such drug simply because he saw a glossy commercial on his TV regardless of the need.

It's true, Joe Patient does just that, with alarming reliability.

Bad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Alligator Ed's picture

@thanatokephaloides Such patient requests came from only a small proportion of patients but I'm sure that if I weren't a specialist, a higher percentage of patients would press me for prescriptions of the latest and greatest super pricey new drug--especially the useless combination drugs, which cost more than individual prescriptions of the single components combined.

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Azazello's picture

@humphrey @humphrey
joe public will be influenced by TV ads. That's just a fact.
DTC, or Direct to Consumer, prescription drug ads were illegal until the 1980s, until deregulation under Reagan.
Last I checked, DTC drug ads were only legal in two countries, the US and New Zealand.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Azazello In Mexico, many drugs, prescription only in the US are available at the local pharmacia or botanica. This includes antibiotics. Antibiotics should only be prescribed when the source of the infection is most likely a known common one. But often this is not the case. Other potent drugs are available without prescription, adding to the problem. The converse is that the drugs are generally cheaper. Caveat emptor: many of these cheapy non-prescription prescription drugs are Chinese knock-offs. Many such knock-offs contain deliberate cheaper contaminants, e.g. melamine, which are bulking agents; they are not inert.

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travelerxxx's picture

I wonder how much money – from just today alone – CNN has taken in from the various pharmaceutical, medical insurance, and other medical corporations? Then consider how much more was taken in by the rest of the various mass media outlets, including radio, newspapers, and magazines. I be willing to wager that it's enough that, if split between each of us reading this, we could live like kings and queens the rest of our lives ... our children and grandchildren, too.

What was that Upton Sinclair said about it being tough to get a someone to understand something when their paycheck depends on their not understanding it?

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@humphrey That's one of the best business reasons core M4A: it gets people needed healthcare without forcing business to choose between profits and people. It also allows the exalted entrepreneur from having to risk the health of himself, his family and his employees to try to get a small business off the ground.

Politically, it seems like a lack of imagination for Biden to not pivot from Obamacare to m4a as the logical next step. Id he'd done that hew would have both "electability" (even more vaporous than hope and change) and healthcare on his side.

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Azazello's picture

But why isn't this COMMON FUCKING SENSE ??
Of course MFA will save money, why can't people see this ?
What does an insurance company do ?
It takes a dollar, keeps a quarter, and pays the rest to the "providers".
It drives me nuts, why isn't this obvious to everybody ?
Cut out the middle-man.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Azazello

What does an insurance company do ?
It takes a dollar, keeps

...... 90 cents ......

and pays the rest to the "providers".
It drives me nuts, why isn't this obvious to everybody ?
Cut out the middle-man.

Diablo

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

OzoneTom's picture

@thanatokephaloides

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@Azazello
I spent 23 years split almost half and half between the Navy Department and the Postal Service.
In the intervening years I spent 26 years working for companies large and small.

Yes, I encountered government worker who were inept and lazy. I also encountered private workers who were inept and lazy. IMHO, a larger percentage probably because many were hired based on connections. That doesn't happen in government service. People get promoted
due to connections, but they can't get in the door without basic competence, unless they falsify their credentials.

Sleeping your way to the top occurred in both worlds. Alpha males gotta be alpha males. And some female will use them to their advantage.

The main difference I see is that civil servants are more cautious. But most of the time that's better than reckless. As a former boss told me, in all seriousness, "if you never do anything, you will never do anything wrong." He wasn't a bad guy. He was a radar technician in a landing craft flotilla in the Pacific during WW II. Maybe having kamikazes come screaming out of the sky teaches one to be ultra-cautious. The ex-fighter pilots now... They have a saying "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots." Guess there are no old fighter pilots. Cargo & Bomber pilots are cautious. Fighter pilots are nuts! I say that affectionately. It's their job. They need to have predator instincts.

EDIT: I'm referring to regular civil servants, not political appointees. They have the morals of a jackal.

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Tulsi Gabbard 2020 !

boriscleto's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

@boriscleto
Jackals are actually kind of cute.

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Tulsi Gabbard 2020 !

Alligator Ed's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness nowadays with precision guided missiles fired air-to-ground, bombers often operate at altitudes that only the most capable AAM's can reach. During WW2 allied bomber causualties were 75%--equal to the submariner's survival statistics.

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wendy davis's picture

newsletter: Single-Payer Systems Likely to Save Money in US, Analysis Finds,
Lower Administrative and Drug Costs Would Be Main Drivers of Cost Savings' By Laura Kurtzman, jan 15, uscf.edu
(she opens):

"A single-payer healthcare system would save money over time, likely even during the first year of operation, according to nearly two dozen analyses of national and statewide single payer proposals made over the past 30 years.

The study, published Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in PLOS Medicine, comes as California Gov. Gavin Newsom has created a state commission to find ways to achieve universal coverage, possibly through a single-payer system, and as the Democratic presidential candidates are debating “Medicare for All” proposals on the national stage."

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis The president of CA Dems is a pharmaceutical lobbyist. The CA Dem. caucus nixed M4A in 2018 at their party convention.

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