Response to Robert Gebelhoff Editorial – Progressives can’t be trusted with Medicare-for-all

Gentle Reader –

Mr. Gebelhoff, an assistant editor and opinions contributor for the Washington Post, published the above-cited piece today, 3 January, 2019. I detail the URL for the piece below, and then detail a brief criticism laying out why I think he is off base in his analysis.

Article URL:

progressives can_t be trusted with medicare-for-all – the washington post


Mr. Gebelhoff –
1. The cost of MfA: we currently spend about $3.5 trillion yearly for health care. That’s government spending and what citizens must add in terms of non-coverage, co-pay, drugs, etc. That’s $ 35 trillion, give or take a few billion, over 10 years. About $3 trillion more than MfA costs. With MfA, there would be significant savings due to decreased administrative costs – one study puts these at 30 cents of every dollar spent for health care. That’s another $ 1.05 trillion yearly. Then there is the decrease in drug costs through negotiated prices. Further, there is Evidence Based Medicine which will decrease waste by no less than 20%, another $700 billion yearly.

2. So to the 10 yr cost of MfA $ 32 trillion subtract at least $ 17.5 trillion, leaving $ 14.5 trillion cost over 10 yrs. Then subtract what we pay now – about $ 35 trillion in a decade. That leaves a net positive gain of $ 20.5 trillion. It is less costly. And drug savings aren’t figured into these numbers.

The challenge will be in the transition; in what is covered and what isn’t; and a host of ethical and operational issues. MfA is a first step, not the end.

I would be pleased to discuss with you electronically or some other way if you wish.

PAYGO is a separate issue.

About AJ Layon

AJ Layon was, for 28 years, at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, in Gainesville, FL. For the approximately 10 years until September 2011, he was Professor and Chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF; In September of 2011 he became System Director and Co-Chairman of Critical Care Medicine in PA; this ended in 2017. He serves as a Physician in the Surgical Group with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders). While his interests are primarily related to health care, health care reform, and ethical issues, as a citizen of our United States and our world, he will occasionally opine on issues of our "time and destiny". You are welcome to respond to him at ajlayon@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter @ajlayon
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