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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Senator Bernie Sanders and Medicare

Will Senator Bernie Sanders plan for health coverage really raise taxes?  No- but people must learn to understand how his health care coverage is supposed to work. 
Bernie Sanders "Medicare for All" leaving no one behind.
Medicare for All
Sanders policies are not tax dependent if his plan supports "Medicare for All"

If the Sanders plan is "Medicare for All", the methodology is already in place for his plan to work without increasing any taxes. On the other hand, Universal Health Care would certainly increase taxes, because this methodology involves blanket coverage with little actuarial ovesight; whereas, Medicare requires beneficiary plus employer contributions to cover the health care costs.

Americans need to understand how Medicare works. It's not rocket science. Rather, Medicare is a single payer health insurance where beneficiaries earn the coverage by contributing to the Social Security/Medicare trust fund for 40 quarters of their employment years - in other words, for 10 years. Yet, the beneficiaries who pay the 40 quarters with employee matched contributions must wait until they are 65 years old to receive the benefits.

In my opinion, "Medicare for All" should include everybody who contributes the 40 quarters towards the qualifications for benefits but should not be held back until the beneficiaries are 65 years old. Why not receive the benefits when the 40 quarters are achieved?  Moreover, paying into the Medicare trust fund doesn't stop after the 40 quarters are paid. In fact, the Medicare trust fund continues to grow for as long as employees and their employers pay into the benefit. Therefore, after the 40 quarters are paid by each qualified beneficiary, the contributions will continue; but under "Medicare for all", the beneficiary can receive coverage as soon as the qualifications are met. "Medicare for all" is not universall health care and it isn't "welfare". Instead, "Medicare for all" is a mandated contributions paid health insurance plan where the federal government becomes the single payer and absorbs the risk when a beneficiary has exceeded the actuarial evaluation, meaning, beneficiaries rates don't increase if health costs exceed premiums. 

In The New Yorker, Amy Davidson reports in "Talk of the Town" commentary about how Chelsea Clinton responded to a query about Senator Sanders and his position on health care coverage for all.
"...Chelsea Clinton, campaigning for her mother in New Hampshire, took a question from a teacher at Miss Porter's School (Jacqueline Bouvier's alma mater), whos pro-Clinton students were in need of a talking point to counter their "Bern-feeling" contemporaries.  "Senator Sanders wants to dismatle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare", Chelease said."That could strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health  insurance."

Yikes, that's just not fact! In my opinion, "Medicare for All" doesn't strip anybody of their current health coverage but will exapand access to beneficiaries who pay into the trust fund.

As for the Childrens Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), this program could benefit from expanding the risk pool of those who are covered by including more children when parents or guardians can pay for the benefits. Right now, only income qualified beneficiaries receive the limited benefits. But, people who don't now qualify for the CHIP coveage could pay to receive it, like a graduated payment insurance plan. Children who need coverage provided by the CHIP plan could have their premiums adjusted, according to income.

Senator Sanders is a Medicare beneficiary. Given his credentials as a liberal democratic socialist, it's extremely unlikely he will dismantle Medicare. In fact, his intention are to expand and improve Medicare coverage, but to do so with the benficiaries premiums, not expanded taxes.  

Americans aren't willing to pay for health insurance like Universal Health Care, with tax money, because, frankly, the business of selling coverage is just too lucrative for the capitalistic system to forgo. As a matter of fact, Senator Sanders says he's running a campaign against the Wall Street controllers of our nation's economy, but he should look over his shoulder at how major insurance companies are positioned to dismantle any attempt to change their profit margins. has an excellent artlcle about this topic.

Why Americans Can’t Have Universal Healthcare Like Europeans  By Rmuse on Wed, Feb 10th, 2016

Americans aren't interested in paying significantly higher income taxes to have ‘government-provided' healthcare.

“If Europeans can do it, why can’t Americans?” After all, America the greatest nation on Earth and should be able to do everything Europeans do, only better.

That may be true, except Americans are unwilling to pay to do much of anything better, much less catch up with Europe and offer universal healthcare. 

After briefly perusing some tax statistics in America and England, it became immediately apparent that although a single payer, or universal healthcare system is a dream come true, the cost to the people all but ensures single payer is not in the near future; and no political revolution is going to change that fact.

Americans aren't interested in paying significantly higher income taxes to have ‘government-provided’ healthcare. National health insurance, or single payer, is a dream for many Americans, but if they actually comprehended what it will cost them, and the rest of the taxpayers, they may pause and reconsider.

For example, Britain has a relatively well-regarded universal healthcare system that every citizen pays for through national income tax. The tax rate for income tax and National Health Insurance in the United Kingdom (England) in 2015-16 for all citizens earning between zero and £31,785, considered basic-rate (flat rate) taxpayers, is a whopping 20 percent of their entire income. It is a full 15 percent more than America’s middle class tax rate and would entail a 20 percent tax hike for 45 percent of Americans who pay nothing now.

If a British citizen earns just one pence over that “basic threshold,” their income tax rate jumps to 40 percent up to £150,000. For income over that number the rate is 45 percent; all to cover the National Health plan administered solely by the government with a form of rationing.

For a comparison, and one reason why many Democrats are reticent to go all-in to support enactment of single-payer in America, in 2015, 45 percent of Americans with earned income paid zero income tax. One cannot comprehend how nearly half of the population living in poverty and barely making it and then saddled with a 20 percent tax bill will embrace being poorer to have basic healthcare when they will be unable to eat or pay rent.

Many of those “45-percenters” are in poor Republican states and already complain they are “taxed enough already;” it is just one reason they reliably vote for Republicans pledging to cut taxes, get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, and get government out of the healthcare business.

For middle class Americans, the federal income tax rate stands at about 5.3 percent for tax year 2015. It is as laughable that Americans paying nothing in income taxes will support a 20 percent increase as it is the middle class supporting a 34.7 percent tax hike for universal healthcare; not when they already have healthcare insurance or can buy a “Cadillac” policy and still have money to eat, pay rent, take a vacation, and still afford their 5.3 percent federal income tax bill.

For the richest one-percent of income earners, the average effective federal income tax rate is just 24.7 percent. That group is still screaming bloody murder over the slight 2.9 percent tax increase at the end of 2012. Imagine, without laughing, their outrage at paying 45 percent of their annual incomes, about a 20 percent increase, so all Americans can have universal healthcare.

Even more laughable is imagining a Democrat, any Democrat, submitting a bill in any House or Senate committee to raise taxes on the poor by 20 percent, raise middle class taxes by 35 percent, and saddle the wealthy elite with a 20 percent tax hike. 

Now imagine the Republican majority House laughing like banshees at whichever Democrat proposes epic tax hikes on all Americans; especially when Republicans pledge to cut taxes as is their base’s demand.

The grand Republican plan is a two-tiered “flat tax,” rate schedule with about a 10 percent flat tax on all Americans up to what most consider a very-upper middle class income; effectively a tax hike on every American who is not in the “wealthy” class. The highest rate for the wealthy elite is proposed at around 20 percent that does not account for the special deductions and breaks only the wealthy get. Their effective rate will be approximately 5 to 8 percent; a decrease of about 15 percent and less than the poorest American paying 10 percent.

Now, some argue that to account for outrageously higher taxes and a much-desired single payer, Democrats will use charm and a “political revolution” to mesmerize Koch Republicans in Congress to raise the minimum wage to make up for monumental tax hikes on the poor and middle class. Keep in mind, the same Koch Republicans who want to get rid of Medicare, Obamacare, and any kind of healthcare also want to abolish the minimum wage; not raise it. If they were inclined to do right by American workers, they would have passed a minimum wage hike seven years ago when President Obama started begging them to help American workers.

It is curious that few Americans wonder why Republicans are pouring no small amount of super PAC money into ads attacking Hillary Clinton using rhetoric lifted directly from the Sander’s campaign. They want an election pitting a Republican, almost any Republican, against a candidate pledging to raise taxes substantially on everyone. Despite what many pundits say, the candidate that terrifies Republicans is Mrs. Clinton. If that were not the case, the Kochs and Karl Rove would be using their resources now to attack the candidate promising to raise taxes.

Americans are not Europeans; they are “rugged individualists” and not interested in paying higher taxes for the good of the nation, much less their fellow Americans. It is not that Europeans are any better than Americans, they just care about their fellow citizens and comprehend that being taxed at higher rates benefits the entire population.

Remember, this is America and the people have been programmed to hate the federal government for over three decades. Add in the past seven years of Republican conditioning that being selfish and greedy is an American Christian virtue, and the idea of paying higher taxes so every American has basic healthcare is, although working out well in Europe, a pipe dream in America no matter who proposes it.

On the other hand, "Medicare for All" need doesn't require tax increases to be successful, because the program works efficiently just the way it's currently administered.

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