And would those lost jobs disproportionately affect women? Even worse, low-income women?
From Bernie’s Sept. 13, 2017, editorial in the New York Times titled, ‘Why We Need Medicare For All’:
The reason that our health care system is so outrageously expensive is that it is not designed to provide quality care to all in a cost-effective way, but to provide huge profits to the medical-industrial complex. Layers of bureaucracy associated with the administration of hundreds of individual and complicated insurance plans is stunningly wasteful, costing us hundreds of billions of dollars a year. As the only major country not to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry, we spend tens of billions more than we should.
Few, if any, dispute that.
But, if you are looking to attack Bernie’s MFA plan, how about this angle?
Last week Monica Potts wrote for Vice that Bernie’s plan would kill jobs held by women:
Last week, when Bernie Sanders unveiled his new plan for single-payer healthcare in America, one of the biggest sins he laid at the feet of the insurance industry was its wastefulness.
Ok, so far so good. But, what’s this?
But all of that bloated spending does something else single-payer fans would do well to grapple with: It creates jobs. Often, these are good jobs, especially for people with a modest education. And what happens to those people—who are mostly women—is something Democrats and progressives need to get a handle on if single-payer is ever going to get real traction in Washington.
Uh oh, doesn’t Bernie care about the lost jobs? Doesn’t Bernie care about women?!
from a 30,000 foot perspective, it seems well and good that wasteful jobs are killed off if economic energy is better spent elsewhere, a kind of creative destruction with a progressive bent.
Well, that doesn’t sound good, right?
Yesterday, Jacobin published a piece by Matt Bruenig that pushed back on Ms. Potts’ assertions:
Implementing Medicare for All would cause some job loss. But it would be more manageable than you might think.
Matt begins his rebuttal to MFA’s critics, like Monica Potts, by laying out how many people separated from their jobs last year:
In 2016, 60 million people separated from their job at some point during the year. That is equal to 42 percent of the American workforce.
Of those 60 million people, “20 million people were fired from their job, representing around 14 percent of the total US workforce.”
Although it is hard to come up with a precise estimate, the likely number of jobs made redundant by the switch is a few hundred thousand over the course of a few years, in a country where 1.6 million people are dismissed from their jobs every single month.
Matt goes on to highlight how Rep. John Conyer’s HR 676 addresses those job losses:
(e) First Priority In Retraining And Job Placement; 2 Years Of Salary Parity Benefits.—The Program shall provide that clerical, administrative, and billing personnel in insurance companies, doctors offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, and other facilities whose jobs are eliminated due to reduced administration—
(1) should have first priority in retraining and job placement in the new system; and
(2) shall be eligible to receive two years of Medicare For All employment transition benefits with each year’s benefit equal to salary earned during the last 12 months of employment, but shall not exceed $100,000 per year.
Phew, maybe Medicare For All might not be so disruptive to millions of low-income women after all?
Maybe MFA won’t ‘kill’ the jobs of so many of the Democratic base?
Maybe we should take care to implement MFA wisely, follow Rep. John Conyers’ lead, and make sure we take care of those negatively affected?
I think it’s way past time that we try.