Medicare for All

subject: You are a smart, deep thinker about healthcare,

which is what made your interview with Pramila Jayapal so disappointing. 

Dear xxxxxxxxx,

I would wager large sums of money that you know more about health insurance and healthcare than Pramila Jayapal.

I would do this because I’ve read your work for years.

If, however, my only exposure to you was your recent interview covering Medicare-for-All, I never would have guessed you possessed a decorated healthcare-reporting resume.

Now, I don’t know what your goal was in that interview. If it was to let someone present a plan without much pushback, you succeeded. (And yes, I remember that you asked follow-up questions about the co-pays and how to pay for the potential legislation.)

But as an expert on the topic, you are qualified to do so much more than that.

Like to point out that as much as everyone, including Pramila, loves to tout “preventative” medicine as an obvious way to save money, there is a dearth of evidence supporting the notion.

Or that while it plays well politically to only demonize drug manufacturers and insurance companies, Pramila ignores the obvious reality that if we want to truly bring down costs, we have to pay providers less. Which, actually, Medicare does remarkably well in many areas. But, if Medicare-for-All tried to reimburse all providers at Medicare prices for all services, there would be an outright revolt. I’m not saying this breaks her proposal; I am saying that the provider reimbursement portion of Medicare-for-All is so vital that it deserves serious attention during a sixty-minute interview.

I also think it would have been interesting to tease out the difference between health and healthcare – to point out that access to healthcare has very little to do with health. If our country misses this point, we will, regardless of the payor type, probably spend ever more money enriching hospital empires without actually getting healthier.

Anyway, I respect your work and look forward to your continued coverage of this essential issue.