Now is the Time for Trump to Move to Single Payer

Donald Trump met with the New York Times yesterday.

Trump was asked about his position on torture.

The Times reported that Trump suggested he had changed his mind about the value of waterboarding after talking with James N. Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, who headed the United States Central Command.

“He said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful,’” Trump said.

He added that Mattis found more value in building trust and rewarding cooperation with terrorism suspects: “‘Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I’ll do better.’”

“I was very impressed by that answer,” Trump said.

For torture.

Then against.

Against single payer.

Then for?

Like Obama, in a previous life Trump was for single payer. Then against it.

But Trump says he will repeal Obamacare.

The question then becomes — replace it with what?

A new movie makes the argument that now is the time for single payer.

The title of the movie?

Now is the Time.

The star of the movie is Gerald Friedman — the James Mattis of health care.

Imagine the next time Trump meets with the Times.

Will we get a report that goes something like this?

The Times reported that Trump suggested he had changed his mind about the value of private insurance companies after talking with Gerald Friedman, the University of Massachusetts economics professor who was publically trashed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“Friedman said — I’ve never found health insurance companies to be useful,’” Trump said.

He added that Friedman found more value in building trust with the American people and rewarding cooperation with doctors and nurses who want a single payer system.

“‘Give me Medicare for all, and I’ll do better.’”

“I was very impressed by that answer,” Trump said.

In the movie, Friedman emphasizes the economic benefits of single payer.

“If you bring a single payer system, through reduced administrative waste, lower prices of prescription drugs, you save 20 to 25 percent of current spending,” Friedman says.

“We save on administrative costs, drug prices, monopoly rents,” Friedman says. “The United States pays twice as much as other countries for drugs. How do you make a profit selling cell phones? Sell better cell phones at a lower price. How do you make a profit in health insurance? By driving away people who are going to get sick.”

“The term medical loss ratio is a wonderful demonstration of what is wrong with healthcare in this country,” Friedman says. “The term refers to the proportion of an insurance plan’s revenues that gets spent on care for patients. We can think of it as a care ratio. And we want it to be high. The insurance companies want it to be low. What we think of as the good thing spent on health insurance, they think of as the bad thing because it’s money taken away from profits which is what the system is about. Why should we assume that a for profit company will provide good healthcare?”

“Medicare’s loss ratio is 98 percent. HR 676, the single payer bill in the House, is better than Medicare. It does away with all the deductibles, all the co pays all the cost sharing and has a seamless drug program. There are no 500 drug plans coming at you — everybody gets full coverage. It’s way better than Medicare.”

Friedman says that instead of pounding on the theme — healthcare is a human right, — single payer activists should be going door to door explaining to people “how much they are paying for health care, how much they would be able to save, how much these doctors are spending on an administration that we will be able to get rid of.”

“They should send out notices every year to everybody by zip code — this is the average spending in this town, this is how much it would be with single payer, this is how much each individual will be saving.”

“We need to demonstrate lockdown ironclad how they will be saving money. That’s the kind of campaign we need to be doing.”

The economic argument for single payer is slam dunk and will win the day.

It’s the cigarettes and beer of the single payer movement.