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As Americans fret about socialism, a peek at France

I’ve mostly taken this week off, resting up to face the last of this horrid winter. But I break silence briefly just to pass along a New York Times version of a point I’ve made a couple of times before — namely that the rest of the world, and I especially refer to the rich democratic nations of the world, do not have a fainting spell every time the word socialism gets mentioned (even though the Republican fearmongers are counting on such a fainting spell to re-elect their current darling in 2020).

In his Thursday column, Times columnist Roger Cohen takes us to the suffering of France. Two of France’s recent presidents (Valery Giscard d’Estaing and François Hollande) were Socialists. I spell that with a capital S because that wasn’t their closet ideology — that was the name of their party (Giscard won two terms).

France, as you know, is a hellhole, but mostly because the pastry is too rich, not because the people are too poor or deprived of basic liberties. Here’s Cohen’s excellent overview of the hellscape:

France has one of the world’s most elaborate social protection systems. The ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product, at 46.2 percent, is the highest of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. In the United States, that ratio is 27.1 percent. Look no further to grasp Franco-American differences.

This French tax revenue is spent on programs — universal health care, lengthy paid maternity leave, unemployment benefits — designed to render society more cohesive and capitalism less cutthroat. … Socialist presidents have governed France for half of the past 38 years.

The country has paid a price for its social solidarity, particularly in high unemployment. But France has prospered. It has a vibrant private sector. It is a capitalist economy, among the world’s seven largest. Its socialism is no European exception. The Continent decided after World War II that cushioning capitalism was a price worth paying to avoid the social fragmentation that had fed violence.

The parties that produced Europe’s welfare states had different names, but they all embraced the balances — of the free market and the public sector, of enterprise and equity, of profit and protection — that socialism or its cousin social democracy (as opposed to communism) stood for. Socialism, a word reborn, has none of the Red Scare potency in Europe that it carries in the United States. It’s part of life. It’s not Venezuelan misery.

And yet, because some Democrats now actually use the S-word to describe themselves (although the party has never nominated anyone that does), Republicans are hoping to turn the election into a referendum on socialism vs. freedom, truth, justice and the “American Way,” as the opening of the 1950s “Superman” show used to term it.

But if you can stand to get past the scare words, you’ll find that the “democratic socialists” are not talking about borrowing any examples from Venezuela or Stalinist Russia. They’re talking about hellholes like Sweden, Canada and France, where everyone can see a doctor when they need one.

I’ll try not to write about this baloney for at least a month.

The full Cohen column is here.

Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/14/2019 - 02:51 pm.

    Slight correction: Giscard was not a Socialist. I think you mean his successor, François Mitterrand.

    • Submitted by Elisabeth Hansard on 03/07/2020 - 10:38 pm.

      This article is really glossing over the truth. My family is French and let me tell you the citizens are suffering. Go to the grocery store and all products are much more expensive and much smaller portions. Their fuel prices are beyond high. Students graduate and can’t find a job and have to live at home. They go back for more schooling.

      But, the medical system is the real portal into a broken nation. My grandmother was admitted on a Friday and around 11am needed a doctor. There were none to be found. For that matter, there were no nurses, zero staff. The reason? 35 hour work week with no overtime. I finally found the one doctor on duty for the entire hospital. As we were racing back to my grandmother’s room he said that after lunch on Friday no one comes back and you better not have a heart attack in France after 11am Friday till Monday morning.

      Please don’t sugar coat the truth. Americans are in for a shock if they go the way of Europe. Why do you think all Europeans dream of coming to America for school, work and medical treatments?

  2. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/14/2019 - 03:00 pm.

    First of all, since he’s been taking time off, the author is to be excused for being unaware of the current events in France (riots, protests) that indicate the French may at last have had their fill of Socialism.

    Secondly,this is the United States; we don’t do Socialism (please spare me the cops and fireman bromides). The rest of the world is free to do as they want, wish them best of luck and sure, we’ll be available to send in food and water when things go off the rails…assuming the Socialist dictator du jour allows them into the country.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/14/2019 - 05:12 pm.

      Now, READ Cohen’s column.
      BTW, that column was written March 8; the Yellow Vest movement has been active for at least 15 weeks.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/14/2019 - 05:14 pm.

      Well, apparently we (USA) don’t democracy either, the present inhabitant, did not get the majority vote. And perhaps, you can cite something in the constitution that say we don’t do socialism? Last check there is that phrase in the preamble “promote the general Welfare”. While you are at it, please provide the section(s) in the constitution that say’s America is required to be a corrupt free market system if you would be so kind.

    • Submitted by David Lundeen on 03/15/2019 - 06:09 am.

      Socialism is alive and well here in the United States. Look no further than the US military, and our tax code. Socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/14/2019 - 03:23 pm.

    There is a long, proud history in the United States of the country losing its collective marbles over anything perceived as “foreign.” The fainting spells over “Socialism” are just another example of that, but there is something else at play.

    Stripped of all labels, socialism–or socialist policies–tend to be popular. The right-wing is tired of hearing about it (a sure sign they have no effective rebuttal), but it is a very real popularity. The only difference between today and past years is that people are losing their reflexive fear of socialism. Despite the efforts of right-wing hysteria mongers and their ill-informed (but well-meaning, I’m sure) enablers, the public understands the difference between authoritarian socialism and democratic socialism.

    Examples like Sweden, Norway, Canada, etc. show that socialism is not the first step on the road to serfdom. The upheaval in France shows what happens when a “centrist” government decides to step back from the policies of the past. Unfortunately for the right, people seem to be better informed than they might like.

    • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 03/14/2019 - 08:56 pm.

      Am I the only one tired of hearing about the perceived socialist paradises of Canada, Norway and Sweden? Let’s talk about China, Cuba, Venezuela, the former (and soon to be present) Soviet Union. They are examples of faithfully implemented, not failed socialism.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/15/2019 - 10:09 am.

        Did you miss the bit about distinguishing between authoritarian socialism and democratic socialism?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/15/2019 - 10:22 am.

        “Am I the only one tired of hearing about the perceived socialist paradises of Canada, Norway and Sweden?”

        In other words, you don’t want to hear anymore about examples that run counter to your premise. That’s too bad.

        “Let’s talk about China, Cuba, Venezuela, the former (and soon to be present) Soviet Union.”

        Speaking for myself, I’m sick of hearing about them, but what the heck. One more time.

        “They are examples of faithfully implemented, not failed socialism.”

        Well, I guess you told me.

        On the subject of being sick of hearing about things, I’m sick of having to explain this yet again: Those are authoritarian dictatorships and kleptocracies. They are not democratic socialist countries.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/15/2019 - 12:50 pm.

        Also, can you explain why Canada and Sweden have rejected the government in Venezuela and recognized the opposition leader as the legitimate president? That would seem to undermine the “faithfully implemented” argument.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 03/18/2019 - 06:48 pm.

        “Faithfully implemented”?? Are you serious? The soviet Union, China, etc., all corrupted states where powerful insiders seized control and made a very, very “unfaithful” phony version of communism, or socialism, that was mostly for show.

        In other words, put posters on all the walls, put up statues, create propaganda galore, but in fact the systems were setup to favor a class of insiders who ran things with an iron hand, and NOT to benefit “the people”.

        IMO, any political system is only as good as the people running it – are they honest people with integrity and good intentions, or crooked people with low integrity looking to bend the system to benefit themselves and their network of family/friends.

        France, Canada, Norway, Sweden, etc. IMO have enough good people running things to have a fairly “faithful” implementation of the idea of the socialism – and so they are pretty decent places to live.

        It is only the bloated American ego that makes far too many think that by default we do pretty everything “better”, when in fact, in so many areas we’re second rate or much worse (e.g. – education, healthcare).

  4. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 03/14/2019 - 04:28 pm.

    “where everyone can see a doctor when they need one (E. B.)”

    Obamacare solved that problem many years ago. At least we were told it would solve that problem.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/14/2019 - 05:03 pm.

      Is that why Republicans are hell-bent on repealing it?

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 03/14/2019 - 09:10 pm.

        It seems like the Dems want to replace Obamacare and the GOP (some) want to get rid of Obamacare.

        At least we all agree – Obamacare has failed.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/15/2019 - 12:10 pm.

          No, we can’t agree on that. Obamacare has succeeded in reducin the number of uninsured Americans to a great degree.

          Many Democrats–myself included–would have preferred single payer over the neoliberal compromise that is Obamacare. Given the political realities of the time, however, it probably was the best that was going to happen.

          We both know that the Republicans–all of them–want to get rid of Obamacare, or say they want to. They have abandoned the idea of “repeal and replace,” and have settled on trying to repeal. The idea of expanded access to health care just doesn’t seem to resonate with them.

          Of course, we all know that repealing Obamacare is not about health policy. It’s about getting rid of something with Obama’s name on it. Although the public approval of the ACA is growing, it infuriates Republicans that the signature achievement of the Islamofascist Kenyan usurper remains in place. Nevertheless, opposing Obamacare is an essential position for any Republican to take. It’s a part of the Holy Trinity/Devil’s Tritone of Republican politics: A Republican must oppose abortion, gun control and Obamacare. Failure to mouth this opposition will result in being slain at the passages of Jordan, if not actually primaried from the right.

          Yes, it’s a hopelessly simplistic way of doing things. The Republican Party has exchanged ideology and principles for reaction and outrage.

        • Submitted by Janis Froehlig on 03/15/2019 - 12:15 pm.

          It didn’t fail for a whole lot of self-employed artists I know, many of whom are now without the coverage they had. The smart ones broke the rules and stock-piled their meds. They broke the rules, therefore they’re the ones who broke the system, right?

          They need some kind of medical coverage to prevent their financial ruin and keep them functional. In other words, there is productivity to be had where it might not otherwise be. Businesses don’t want to provide that latitude to produce, funny thing, not even medical insurers who purportedly do that as their business because it doesn’t show up on their bottom line. Apparently, you don’t either.

          What we have is people’s lives literally dependent on their boss’s opinion of them. It’s corporate feudalism. There simply is no room for ethical behavior at work, on the whole. It’s all sucking up. It’s fake. It’s fundamentally dishonest. It’s literally robbing people of their freedom to not work for one of the big corporations. I call it corporate communism.

          It wasn’t Obama’s idea to let privatized profit-mongering in on the process. Please read this, and understand the history and who’s-who of the process around the Affordable Care Act.

        • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 03/18/2019 - 09:00 pm.

          And our healthcare system was such a wonderful success before Obamacare?

          NO IT WASN’T, and huge groups of the population had no health insurance at all, and their plan was to go to the emergency room and have the public pickup the tab. Yeah, great plan, that was working SO well…

          Here’s a fact to think about – we’re the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have national health insurance, and we pay more than TWICE AS MUCH PER CAPITA as those other developed countries, for a POORER HEALTH OUTCOME RESULT.

          So rather than buying into this hysteria about how national health care is socialism and the worst thing in the world – we should all realize that that’s just BS that the powerful insurance lobby has spent tons of money to brainwash us with – via all the money given to republican candidates for decades.

          We have national defense, national food inspection, national weather service, the list of nationally administered programs goes on and on and those are all FINE with republicans.

          Yet somehow, healthcare is supposed to be a magical exception, where having it setup as a national program, just like all the others I mentioned, is somehow going to be the end of the world!

          We’ve been indoctrinated, the private health insurance lobby bought and paid for generations of congressmen and senators to sell the message over and over that national health care is just plain evil, and that’s just BS pedaled because insurance companies like running the show and making the big profits.

          National health insurance is the only logical way to go, and the most efficient as well, with the lowest administrative costs.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/14/2019 - 05:09 pm.

      More people have medical insurance and can afford to see a physician than before the A.C.A., which of course was a political compromise.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/15/2019 - 11:26 am.

      Can’t ever remember having the luxury of seeing a doctor on demand, 24-7-365, that’s looking back near on 70 years. What by the way the reason for all those magazines in the “waiting rooms” and appointment schedulers? Last check we do not have socialized medicine. Don’t like your medicare, go buy a private supplemental plan. .

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/15/2019 - 11:07 am.

    Indeed, France is known around the world as a “hellhole.” I’m sure that’s why so many Americans spend so much money every year to visit Paris, Marseilles the Provence region, &c. “Look, Martha, that woman who serves food at a restaurant can actually take time off from work to get health care for her ill child without losing her job or her apartment!!”

    The fact that not everyone is happy with their current situation (yellow vests, &c.) is a generic human condition not exactly confined to France, or Europe, or South America, or societies with more socialist economic systems than ours, for that matter. Nowhere in what affluent Americans like to think of as “the civilized world” can an individual or family go bankrupt because of medical expenses – except in the United States, where the much-vaunted “free market” has repeatedly shown that it cannot provide even access to health care for everyone, much less the actual care. The ACA has brought a modest improvement, while lining the pockets of insurance company shareholders, but even with the ACA, our health care system as a whole is more expensive, less effective, and at least as time-consuming and inconvenient as what you’ll find elsewhere.

    Pointing to Russia or Cuba as examples of socialism is simply silly, and a nice illustration of how far removed from reality the fearmongering from the right tends to be. There’s still very little that’s totally off-base with Marx’s criticism of late 19-century capitalism – it’s the implementation of a solution to capitalism’s ruthlessness that went far, very far, off-track, and the dictatorship that resulted in a country with zero history of citizen participation in their own government was tragic in every sense.

    Many Americans, especially those who like to think of themselves as “conservative,” tend to conflate economic systems with political systems, and while they’re related, they’re not synonymous, as Eric’s examples illustrate.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/15/2019 - 08:54 pm.

      It’s worth pointing out that neither Russia nor Cuba (or China and North Korea either, for that matter) had ever had a truly democratic government before their Communist revolutions.

      An authoritarian government replaced another authoritarian government (the Tsar, Batista, Chiang Kai-shek, Japanese colonization).

      The social democracies in the rest of the industrialized world came about through evolution, not revolution.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/16/2019 - 09:45 am.

        Actually, Russia VERY briefly had a (sort of) democratic government (the Kerensky government in 1917) before the Bolsheviks staged their counter-revolution. Kerensky wasn’t in control long enough to really know what sort of system would have developed.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/17/2019 - 05:14 pm.

          It was something like eight months, so really not enough time to transition from a nearly absolute monarchy to a democracy.

          The successful Eastern European countries have taken much longer to transition from dictatorship to democracy. Not all of them have succeeded, and some have regressed.

  6. Submitted by Janis Froehlig on 03/15/2019 - 11:11 am.

    What’s frustrating to me is that we’re still stuck on things like “Scare Words” and not comparing, say, Venezuela and Sweden, to see (with all our amazing AI and top thinkers) what works and what doesn’t about various implementations of Socialism. You’d think American ingenuity would be first in analyzing available data in useful ways. We aren’t even (proverbially) using understandable variable naming conventions, much less documenting our processes. We are simply seriously lacking in transparency, both at work and in our politics, I’m guessing because we have yet to realize it doesn’t just magically happen.

    Here we are stuck in this emotional overwhelm, both clinging to and pointing our fingers at propaganda. How you do that with both parties, er, thumbs in your arse is quite a feat.

    There’s a smarter way to do this, folks. Let’s find it.

  7. Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/15/2019 - 12:30 pm.

    It has already been said nicely by others. But may I join by again pointing there is a differences between democratic socialism and authoritarian communism and dictatorial capitalism to which we are rapidly moving to for that matter. The first portion headline to the piece reading,”As Americans fret about socialism,…..” is a tad misleading. As more people become informed about exactly what democratic socialism is and grasp the concept that many policies of what democratic socialism is have already been implement into our way of life, people are wanting more. But the oppositional forces and I use “opposional” with it’s clinical definition want to take away what has already put in place. And the npbehind forces are instituting this take-away dynamic are mostly the very wealthy who want even more.

  8. Submitted by Michael Ofjord on 03/15/2019 - 02:24 pm.

    Eric, you better do an extremely good job. Then, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, that Russia is not France or Canada or Norway and that democratic socialism is not authoritarian socialism. Then repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat and you might get through to a small percentage. I have lots of relatives in Scandinavia and the UK, and they are not being told what doctor to see and nobody, nobody is going bankrupt paying medical bills.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/16/2019 - 09:47 am.

      Russia under Putin and the Oligarchs (a heavy metal group 😉 is more capitalist (in the worst sense) than we are.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 03/18/2019 - 06:54 pm.

        LOL, good point Paul! Under Putin, Russia has given up even the phony pretense of being run “for the people” that they had under the old USSR.

        It’s a totally corrupt, crime-family run state – one that Trump is trying to emulate here.

        Not a democracy at all, and not socialism or communism either.

        Just a crime-lord state, run for the benefit of Putin and a collection of crime-families, similar to how the mafia in the US has crime families that network with and support each other where it’s to their advantage to do so..

  9. Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/15/2019 - 04:54 pm.

    I dont fret ever, but looking at France’s economic track record maybe we all should. 9-11% unemployment for a decade. Growth rate 1.6% pretty consistanty. Average folks rioting in the streets because they cant afford to live there(gas,rent, etc too high). I could go on, socialist policies have had extreme consequences there, why duplicate it here?

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/15/2019 - 08:34 pm.

      Come on TS, how about a little support for your 2 perspectives, not just words. You just throw junk out here: Pretty simple, been ~ 8-9% since 2010. The US hit 10% in 2009 about the same as France,
      Healthcare US is ~ $10K per capita, France ~ $5K (1/2 price. Evidently from some arm chairs, getting the same healthcare for 1/2 price is a really bad deal! Growth rate ~ 1.8 vs US 2.3, (Thank you Mr. Obama!) and yes theirs bounces around pretty similar to what ours does. But hey India 6.9, China 6.6, looks like America is really sucking wind relative to those guys. Last check China is socialistic based on earlier comments.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/16/2019 - 07:59 am.

        Facts you dont care to hear are junk? Things are so bad there economically that people are rioting in the streets, they cant afford the basics in life, so we should envy them? By the way, yes our growth rate is better, but obsma left office with historicaly the worst ave growth rate of any president. We are getting better, France’s economy getting worse.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/16/2019 - 08:35 pm.

          Well TS, please show some facts not just troll rage, got a whole internet out there to pull them from! You got real numbers and you say they are junk, and provide what to support your right wing propaganda, stuff the horses left in the yard? Where is it they can’t afford basics? Relative to what?
          “The official poverty rate is 12.3 percent, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 estimates. That year, an estimated 39.7 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure. According to supplemental poverty measure, the poverty rate was 13.9 percent”

          Poverty in France reached its lowest rate in 2004 with 12.6 percent of the French population earning less than 60 percent of the median income. In 2015, 14.2 percent of the French population was living below the poverty line, which means that their income was less than 60 percent of the median income.” So your claim is .3% is a humongous difference, should we compare the number of people? France 67.19M people, US 327.2M people, with a little (fake math) we have ~ 31.7M more folks living in poverty in the US vs France. So that is your definition of success?

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/15/2019 - 09:01 pm.

      The difference is that France actually counts all its unemployed. The U.S. government uses three measures. There’s U3, which is the “official” one, and which is at historic lows. Then there is U5, which includes discouraged workers. U6 counts discouraged workers and adds people who can find only part-time or temporary work when they would rather be working full time.

      When everyone who would like to work but can’t find a full-time job is counted, the U.S, unemployment rate (U6) is 7.3%.

      The youth unemployment rate, people ages 16-21 who are not in school or a training program, is usually a couple of points higher than U6.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/18/2019 - 09:36 am.

      How many people in France file bankruptcy because of medical bills?

      How many people in France have put themselves into debt for the rest of their lives in order to finance a post-secondary education?

  10. Submitted by Chas Dalseide on 03/15/2019 - 09:18 pm.

    Why don’t you study Saskatchewan?. They went pretty strong into socialism in the 1930’s during the economic collapse. Mining, Forestry, Utilities, Insurance, Railroads, etc., were all government-owned. In the years since, outside financial interests have pretty much red-lined the province, basically stymying business outlets for small farmers. Elevators concentrated many miles away, Livestock markets closed, etc. Minimal manufacturing. But, they remain quite loyal to the Queen. There are histories and biographies that record the times.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/16/2019 - 09:57 am.

      Saskatchewan Population ~ 1.16M , Hennepin county population 1.25 M, twin cites metro 3.6M not sure what the comparison would be apropos to.

  11. Submitted by Dave Carlson on 03/16/2019 - 11:51 am.

    OK… I commented on an earlier MinnPost article about the dreaded Socialism and there were no responses, so here it is again:

    I have read all these replies and have not seen any reference to the private insurance industry. Isn’t this model based on rather Socialistic principles? We all pay in annual premiums and only directly benefit if we need to make a claim… so basically we are funding the misfortunes of others (and certainly the already very robust insurance industry).

    And what about government programs like FEMA? I think most of us support giving aid to disaster victims, but in a total free-market hands-off government, wouldn’t they be left to fend for themselves? Shouldn’t the disaster aid recipients have been covered by their own insurance (see above paragraph)?

    As many have pointed out, the semblances of socialistic programs and services benefit our culture, and is part of the important function of government to promote the general welfare of all.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/16/2019 - 06:09 pm.

      OK, DC, you broke the code for Auto insurance, Life Insurance, Home Insurance, pet insurance, appliance Insurance, etc. etc. etc. collect from the many to pay to the few, (statistics/actuarial tables). When someone can make a profit, its called free market, when someone can’t make a profit its called socialism, A lot of folks can not grasp finance, Price = cost/1-Gross margin. In short they cannot gasp that not having to pay a profit margin is less expensive than paying one. But everybody theoretically loves to buy at cost, the issue is they don’t know what what is the real cost, notr do they care, it hurts their politics/ego to much.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/18/2019 - 10:14 am.

      For those who like to call themselves “conservative,” or who insist that they believe wholeheartedly in a mythical “free market,” these are inconvenient facts.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/19/2019 - 11:14 am.

    I don’t see anyone fainting in the US either. In general the reaction to the media’s attempts to provoke some kind of response with all of this talk about “socialism” is…. Meh.

    The problem is that the US media and Republicans simply don’t know how to talk about social programs that serve the public in the first place… so they get hung up on whether or not social programs are “socialism”.

    At the end of the day the similarity between most US reporters, media “analysts”, “Centrists” Democrats, and Republicans, (all basically captured by the general concept of neoliberalism) is that they just don’t know how to discuss social programs, they just can’t get their heads around the idea of programs that serve a social economic function rather than generate profit for some individual or company.

    Most American reporters, analysts, and politicians simply don’t know how understand or discuss programs that don’t deliver profits to anyone. The question isn’t whether or not something is “socialist”, the question is whether or not it works, and serves it’s constituents, but they don’t know how to evaluate that. The problem isn’t simply that neoliberals reflexively reject programs that yield no direct profit, it’s that they don’t even know how talk about public programs.

    I’ll just give you quick example: Yesterday I was listening to MPR and they were trying to discuss the “cost” of Medicare for All… and they simply couldn’t do it in any coherent way. Look, the national health care plan Sanders’s is discussing isn’t new, and it’s not difficult to find descriptions of it. I’ve a got book from the Physicians for Social Responsibility on my bookshelf with a copyright of 1994. The economics haven’t actually changed beyond the astounding growth of health care costs.

    So these guys on NPR are trying to figure out how much a national health care plan costs and they’re worried about the two million workers in the private insurance sector who get laid off. Anyone who is remotely familiar with these proposals knows that when you add 288 MILLION people to the Medicare rolls you’re gonna have to hire more people to process all those people and claims. Also anyone familiar with the system knows that private companies ALREADY administer Medicare plans in most of the states. Blue Cross Blue Shield administers most of MN’s Medicare for instance.

    So no, you’re not going “lose” 2 million jobs, even if private insurers go out of business because Medicare will have to ramp up to service 288 million more people, that’s 40 million MORE people than are currently serviced by ANY insurance. And we can expect the number of claims to increase by the millions because millions more Americans will actually be seeking health care. Most of the people working for private insurance companies will be recruited to work for expanded Medicare/Medicaid. The biggest job losses in the private insurance industry would be executives and marketers, but there aren’t two million of those in the industry.

    It’s not that NPR is hostile to MFA, it’s just that they don’t know how to evaluate something that functions outside of a typical Wall Street model. It’s like when they say: “It’s gong to raise taxes!” without mentioning the fact that your new Medicare tax replaces your current private insurance premium, and is 40%-60% less expensive than your current premium. And you get irrevocable, comprehensive, nationwide coverage.

    They just can’t get their heads around public programs that provide public services instead of business models that generate revenue for owners.

    It’s unfortunate because we need to be able to have rational conversations about government programs, and it’s really really difficult to have those conversations because of this bizarre barrier between public and private sectors.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/20/2019 - 10:00 am.

    The kids aren’t afraid of “socialism”

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