How to pay for Medicare For All

There is a lot of talk lately about how to pay for Medicare For All (M4A), if we can get it passed. First of all, ask yourself how often there is a question of how to pay for M4A when we want to start another endless war or pay for a tax cut for the rich — there are always funds for those things. Isn’t it time we support our citizens instead of either the rich or the war machine?

Here’s another thought, and I take this from Lindsay Koshgarian from the National Priorities Project. What if we could imagine another way entirely? In 18 years, the U.S. has spent $4.9 trillion on wars with no end in sight. That is almost $300 billion per year. Although we can’t unspend the $4.9 trillion, imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years. And, closing just half of the U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion. Why do we need a base in Aruba?

Other areas where we could save money to fund M4A are:

  • Cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion;
  • A total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion;
  • Ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion;
  • Production cuts for the F-35, a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the GAO, saving $17.7 billion;
  • A shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, service members and their families, to M4A’s annual budget.

A Data for Progress poll of more than 1,000 people found that 73 percent of Democratic primary voters ranked numerous issues, including economic challenges and the climate, as more important to them than national security and military funding. “There is a clear appetite for progressive reforms to U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Data for Progress.

Koshgarian acknowledged, “Remaking the U.S. military as a truly defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and ATM for private contractors, will require major changes, but that is no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, health care, education and all that makes our lives better.”

Think about it, and vote in your own self-interest.

Sharon Roben Findling



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