Update: This press release was updated in November 2019 to reflect additional signatures added since the letter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
253 Economists Endorse Medicare for All Ahead of House Budget Hearing
WASHINGTON, DC – May 21, 2019 – 253 economists have signed a public statement supporting Medicare for All. The letter calls the current health care system “exorbitant and wasteful” and asserts that “the time is now to create a universal, single-payer, Medicare for All health care system in the United States.”
“America’s health system turns our survival over to greedy companies with the market power to set outrageously high prices. 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,” said Jeffery Sachs, world-renowned professor of economics at Columbia University.
The letter has been sent to Members of Congress ahead of the House Budget Committee’s hearing on Medicare for All on May 22. It is spearheaded by National Nurses United, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, Business Initiative for Health Policy, Progressive Democrats of America and Progressive Caucus Action Fund.
In the letter, the economists underline the savings of the multi-payer insurance system in the United States, especially compared to other countries. “Public financing for health is not a matter of raising new money for health care,” the letter states, “but of reducing total health care outlays and distributing payments more equitably and efficiently.” Economic analyses by the Mercatus Center and the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, for example, have projected the Medicare for All would reduce total national health care costs by hundreds of billions of dollars each year while simultaneously guaranteeing safe, therapeutic health care for every person in the United States.
“For patients, the effects would be life-changing,” said National Nurses United President Jean Ross. “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.”
The statement says that “implementing a unified single-payer system would reduce administrative costs,” and that “combined with public control of drug prices and a dramatically simplified global budgeting system, a sensible Medicare financing system would reduce healthcare costs while guaranteeing access to comprehensive care and financial security to all.” Medicare for All is the only proposal in Congress that would streamline administration through a single public payer and introduce these public controls on drug and hospital prices.
“This letter illustrates how Medicare for All is really a win-win,” says Cathy Albisa, Executive Director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. “It would lower the nation’s health care costs over time while guaranteeing everyone the care they need and financial security. The only real losers are the big health care companies profiting off of our sickness and health.”