Robert Reich: The Washington Post is lying to you about Bernie Sanders

A new editorial claims Sanders' proposal would reduce the quality of American healthcare. The notion is ludicrous


Robert Reich
February 2, 2016 12:33AM (UTC)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

Yesterday the editorial board of the Washington Post charged that Bernie Sanders’s health-care plan rests on “unbelievable assumptions” about how much it would slash health-care costs without affecting the care ordinary Americans receive.

The Post claimed that countries with the kind of single-payer plans Sanders likes “ration care in ways that federal health programs in the United States … do not.”

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We can debate specific numbers, but the Post’s unstated assumption – that the quality of health care received by Americans is superior to the quality received by, say, Canadians, from their single-payer, mostly publicly-funded system – is not borne out by evidence.

Despite the fact that Canada spends only 10.4 percent of its GDP on health care in contrast to 16 percent of GDP in the United States, Canadians enjoy lower rates of infant mortality and longer life expectancy than citizens of the United States.

True, Canadians typically wait longer to consult specialists and get non-emergency surgery than we do. But a higher share of Canadians get medical attention when they need it. Even after the Affordable Care Act, some 26 million Americans – about 10 percent of the population – still lack health insurance, and millions more rarely see a doctor because they can’t afford ever-increasing co-payments and deductibles.

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The Post goes on to attack Sanders for failing to have a “plausible” plan for plugging looming deficits as the American population ages. I’m curious to know which candidate, of either party, has a plan that satisfies the Post’s definition of plausible deficit-reduction.

Nonetheless, a major reason future deficits loom large is the expected surge in Medicare costs as 77 million boomers need medications and treatment. In this respect as well, a single-payer system  – capable of using its full bargaining power to attain lower prices for pharmaceuticals – will yield substantial benefits.

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Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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Aol_on Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton Robertreich.org Single-payer Health Care Washington Post

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