By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams (5/21/19)
Ahead of a historic single-payer hearing at the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, more than 200 economists sent a letter to Congress blasting America’s “exorbitant and wasteful” healthcare system and endorsing Medicare for All as the most humane and cost-effective solution.
“America’s health system turns our survival over to greedy companies with the market power to set outrageously high prices,” Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University and one of the letter’s 209 signatories, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Medicare for All will give us a system already proven in other countries: much lower costs with less hassle and worry,” Sachs said. “It’s a sure winner—except for the profiteers.”
“Medicare for All will give us a system already proven in other countries: much lower costs with less hassle and worry. It’s a sure winner—except for the profiteers.”
—Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University
In their letter (pdf), the economists highlighted the fact that the United States spends far more on healthcare than other industrialized nations while achieving significantly worse results—a crisis they say can be remedied by transitioning to a single-payer system.
Improved health outcomes, lower costs & greater equity
“Evidence from around the world demonstrates that publicly financed healthcare systems result in improved health outcomes, lower costs, and greater equity,” the letter states. “For these reasons the time is now to create a universal, single-payer, Medicare for All healthcare system in the United States.”
The economists’ endorsement of Medicare for All comes just 24 hours before the House Budget Committee is scheduled to hold just the second-ever congressional hearing on single-payer. The panel will discuss Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Wash.) Medicare for All Act of 2019, which currently has 108 co-sponsors.
National Nurses United (NNU), which has been leading efforts to build grassroots support for Medicare for All nationwide, urged Americans to call members of the Budget Committee and let them know “we’re counting on their support.”
“For patients, the effects would be life-changing,” NNU president Jean Ross said in a statement Tuesday. “A Medicare for All system would guarantee the care we need throughout our lifetimes and patients would no longer have to deal with debilitating premiums, out-of-pocket costs, hospital bills, and drug costs again.”
Read the economists’ full letter with a list of all those who signed:
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