The Bloomberg Opinion editorial published in the Oct. 19 Press Herald, complaining about the future costs of Elizabeth Warren’s “Medicare for All” plan, sounds more like Republican fear-mongering, though some conservative Democrats fear-monger in the same way.

The per capita cost of health care in the U.S. exceeds $10,000. With a current population of 329 million, the cost of health care in the U.S. is about $3.3 trillion per year, and the cost goes up each year. On a per capita basis the U.S. spends 28 percent more than Switzerland and at least twice as much as other industrialized countries, and the U.S. doesn’t cover everyone. Our current health care system costs too much and serves too few.

Who pays? It is not the tooth fairy. We pay in taxes, co-payments, insurance premiums, lower wages, higher consumer prices and less-effective medical services. When put in proper context, Elizabeth Warren’s plan is not so expensive.

When we elect a Democratic president, universal health care will be a priority, but the exact form will depend on much more than the president’s wishes. I don’t know what product Congress might concoct, but I would like to see an expansion of the current Medicare plan with an almost-free base coverage and supplemental insurance. A simple expansion of Medicare promises flexible universal health care that does not throw the economy into turmoil.

Meanwhile, the public should be more worried about the current health care issues than about the costs of an unformulated plan 10 years down the road.

Peter Konieczko


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