Viewpoints: Pros, Cons Emerging In Debates About Medicare For All Vs. Everything Else; Imagine Other Ways To Do This Without Raising Taxes
Editorial writers weigh in on these health care topics and others.
Elizabeth Warren's Medicare For All Plan Will Need Higher Taxes
Even many Democrats are criticizing Senator Elizabeth Warren for refusing to admit, in plain words, that her Medicare for All plan will require taxes to increase. They’re right to complain. The point could hardly be simpler: All presidential candidates owe voters an honest accounting of what their ideas will cost and how they’ll be paid for. Up to now, under repeated questioning, Warren has refused to go further than saying that her health plan will lower costs for most Americans, without ever explaining what she means by costs. A program as expensive as this instantly raises the question of affordability in voters’ minds. There’s only one plausible answer: Taxes will have to go up. (10/18)
The New York Times:
We Don’t Need To Raise Taxes To Have ‘Medicare For All’
As Democratic presidential candidates debate the merits of Medicare for All, a Green New Deal or free college, a chorus of scolds from across the political spectrum will chime in to tell you we can’t afford it. All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag. Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely? 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. (Lindsay Koshgarian, 10/17)
Why Isn't Mayor Pete Talking About The Indiana Program That's Superior To Single Payer?
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has a strange blind spot when it comes to health care reform. Despite being the mayor of one of Indiana’s most famous cities, he appears to be completely unaware that the state of Indiana has already come up with two health insurance systems that both work much better than the single-payer variants that he, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are proposing. The first system has been offered to state employees since 2007, while the second has been available to Indiana Medicaid recipients since 2011. They are both wildly popular with participants and just as effective as traditional insurance systems in providing quality health care. Even better: Both have also been shown to reduce medical spending by 35 percent relative to tradition forms of private or government health insurance, including PPOs, HMOs and Medicaid. (Sean Flynn, 10/17)
The New York Times:
What The Medicare For All Fight Is Really About
Like a Boston family relitigating its annual Thanksgiving argument over whether to sell Grandma’s house on the Cape and how to split the profits, the Democratic presidential candidates spent Tuesday night picking the same fight about health care. At issue, as always, was Medicare for All — Senator Bernie Sanders’s health care plan, which Senator Elizabeth Warren also supports, that promises universal coverage without co-pays, premiums, deductibles or haggling over claims, under a single government-run insurance system. (Spencer Bokat-Lindell, 10/17)
Community Partners And Support Key To Veteran Suicide Prevention
As the leaders of the Veterans Health Administration and the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Task Force, we fear the oft-repeated, “one suicide is too many” will one day lose its impact.Suicide is a national problem that disproportionately affects veterans. President Donald Trump authorized the PREVENTS task force to address the Department of Veterans Affairs’s top clinical priority, suicide prevention, and to provide a template for the nation to do the same. (Richard Stone and Barbara Van Dahlen,10/18)
With Veteran Suicide Rate Increasing, Look To Heal Moral Injury
A 2018 Ruderman Family Foundation report noted that first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.The statistics on active duty military and veteran suicides are also telling. The largest number of active duty military suicides since the Department of Defense began collecting the data occurred last year, with 325 deaths. Veteran suicide rates are well above those in the general population and is rising for young veterans. Nationally, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% from 2000 to 2016. What more can be done to save lives? We believe a significant factor in suicides remains invisible and largely unaddressed. That factor is moral injury. (Rita Nakashima Brock and Ann Kansfield, 10/18)
The New York Times:
How To Reduce Abortion
The recent decline in Delaware’s abortion rate is pretty stunning. Between 2014 and 2017 — the latest years for which data exist — the rate fell 37 percent. There is now only about one abortion for every 100 women of childbearing age each year in the state. This decline was the biggest of any state in the country. It was also in keeping with a larger trend: The abortion rate has fallen to its lowest level since the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute. (David Leonhardt, 10/17)
Motherhood And Medicine Should Mix. So Why Is It Such A Struggle?
Women who become doctors must often choose between motherhood and medicine. I’m a mother and a surgeon. I never thought of choosing between the two, even though my employers often asked me to. Today I work as a trauma surgeon in a busy practice. It’s been a long journey since the day five years ago when I sat outside the office of the chairman of surgery at a prestigious hospital to interview for my first job.As my husband and I dressed our children for day care that morning, I felt proud to show them that their mom could follow her dreams. After six years of grueling training, I was finally going to be a trauma surgeon. (Qaali Hussein, 10/18)
New England Journal of Medicine:
Will Emergency Holds Reduce Opioid Overdose Deaths?
Some state lawmakers are contemplating enacting laws that permit certain patients with severe substance use disorder to be involuntarily detained for short-term observation and, in some cases, treatment. Such laws raise ethical, legal, medical, and practical questions. (Elizabeth A. Samuels, Otis U. Warren, Corey S. Davis, and Paul P. Christopher, 10/17)