Monthly Archives: August 2013

Friedman: $592 billion first year savings with ‘Medicare for All’

Gerald Friedman

Gerald Friedman

Even with the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health care remains a major political issue, and one that also deeply impacts the U.S. economy. Recent research by Professor Gerald Friedman on the prospect of expanding Medicare to cover all Americans is promising; it shows almost $500 billion in savings in the first year alone, and it would cover the almost 50 million Americans who remain uninsured. Friedman’s research was mentioned by the organization Public Citizen regarding a push by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to make ‘Medicare for All’ a reality. It was also mentioned by Salon‘s Adam Gaffney.

To Mark Medicare Anniversary, Lawmakers and Advocates Rally for Expansion of Program to Include Every American –

The new study, done by Gerald Friedman, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and released today by Physicians for a National Health Program, shows that upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.

Under the single-payer system envisioned by “The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act” (H.R. 676), the U.S. could save $592 billion – $476 billion by eliminating administrative waste associated with the private insurance industry and $116 billion by reducing drug prices – in 2014.

Your doctor copays are too high! – Salon

Yet, the United States already has more health care “consumerism” and cost sharing than other developed countries – and yet we have much higher costs. The truth is that there are safer and better-proven methods of cost control that we could employ, and which wouldn’t involve making a patient pay every time he or she gets sick.

We could, for instance, allow Medicare to directly bargain with drug companies over prescription drug prices, as other wealthy countries already do: by one estimate, the savings from this reform alone could range from $230 to $541 billion over ten years.

More ambitiously, we could work towards a “single payer system,” which could save billions through reduced administrative and clerical expenditures, while allowing costs to be directly controlled through global budgets and fee schedules. Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, recently estimated the savings of such a system at $592 billion annually.

Friedman: ACA exchanges will be ‘mess’ but not ‘train wreck’

Gerald Friedman

Gerald Friedman

UMass Amherst Economics professor Gerald Friedman was featured in a McClatchy article on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Known for his research on health care, Friedman believes that the opening of health insurance exchanges on October 1 will not be a “train wreck,” but it will be “a mess.”


Gerald Friedman, a health care economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, also was skeptical.

“It’s not going to be a train wreck. It’s going to be a mess,” Friedman said. “I’m sure there’ll be places where you get on the website on Oct. 1 and it’ll crash. . . . I think October is not going to be the White House’s best month.”

Their somber assessments about the enrollment phase of Obamacare reflect concerns echoed in several recent government reports.

Sacramento Bee – 8/13/13

The State (South Carolina) – 8/13/13

Fort Worth Star-Telegram – 8/13/13

Tampa Bay Times – 8/14/13

Sun Herald (Mississippi) 8/13/13



Pollin: US has lowest min wage, highest youth unemployment

Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and professor of economics, appeared on The Real News Network to discuss the low minimum wage of the U.S., which, when adjusted for inflation, is lower in 2013 than it was in 1968. Pollin also postulated that, if you corrected the minimum wage for both inflation and increased worker productivity, it should be closer to $25 per hour; the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.


Friedman: $1 trillion in savings in first year of single payer system

Gerald Friedman

Gerald Friedman

UMass Amherst Department of Economics Professor Gerald Friedman has completed a new study for the Physicians for a National Health Program that concludes upgrading Medicare and expanding it to cover all Americans would create $1 trillion in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for comprehensive health benefits for all U.S. residents and lower costs to most people and businesses. The report was unveiled in Washington, D.C. on the 48th anniversary of Medicare by advocates of a single payer health insurance system ( [Calif.], 7/31/13). Download the study.