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Kudlow Slams 'Medicare for All,' Current System 'Pretty Good'

By    |   Wednesday, 24 April 2019 06:12 PM

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow blasted proposals by some Democrats to expand government health-care coverage to all Americans.

“Medicare for All” would expand government-administered coverage to most of the population and rewrite the businesses of U.S. health insurers, hospitals and doctors.

While it’s a longshot to become law despite the backing of some contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, the proposal had the power to recently upend health-company stock prices.

Kudlow recently told the National Press Club that the current American health-care system was "pretty good" and "people are pretty satisfied with it."

The current employer-based system "ain't perfect, it needs reform. But it's still pretty good," said Kudlow, who worked as Reagan’s budget deputy between 1981 and 1985.

The veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser attacked the idea of Medicare for All. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and several other candidates running for the 2020 Democratic nomination want to expand a version of the program to provide free health care to all Americans.

Kudlow touted the benefits of private health insurance.

He said any Medicare for All plan would slash millions off economic growth. "With universal Medicare, and other giveaways, people that don't want to work, subsidies here, loan forgiveness and this and that, everything's free," Kudlow said.

Medicare has taken a central role in the debate about the future of American health care. Republicans and some executives in the health-insurance industry warn that such a proposal could disrupt the economy and force roughly half the American population from the employer health plans they currently have, Bloomberg reported.

The prospect of Medicare for All replacing private insurance, however remote, helped send health stocks tumbling last week. The selloff followed an upbeat earnings report by UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest and first health-insurance company to report first-quarter results.

UnitedHealth Chief Executive Officer Dave Wichmann said Medicare for All would be a “wholesale disruption of American health care” that would destabilize the nation’s health system and incur a severe economic cost.

Medicare provides government health insurance to about 60 million Americans who are over 65 or disabled, at a cost of about $700 billion last year. The part of the program that pays for hospitalization, known as Part A, relies on a trust fund replenished by dedicated payroll taxes. As expenditures from that trust fund exceed tax revenue, the amount available for Medicare to pay hospitals gradually decreases.

Under a single-payer health care system, Kudlow reportedly claimed, "180 million people would lose their private health insurance, principally through business ... completely sacrificing the efficiency of what is still a pretty good" health care system, Kudlow said.

"It ain't perfect, it needs reform. But it's still pretty good, and people are pretty satisfied with it," Kudlow said.

"I don't know what the right amount of health care spending is," Kudlow said. "If you live in a prosperous economy and incomes rise... People may choose more health care. It's a free choice, and I like that a lot," said Kudlow, assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the White House’s National Economic Council.

"I think idea of just taking [employer-based health insurance] away is the most remarkable government confiscation plan I've ever heard," he said. "By and large we get our insurance from businesses, and we are making it easier, I might add," said Kudlow, who served as the Trump campaign's senior economic adviser.

"You know, I think the basic parts of the system are OK. We can do better, but not if the government runs it, I don't buy it," Kudlow said.

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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow blasted proposals by some Democrats to expand government health-care coverage to all Americans.
kudlow, medicare, health, care, insurance
Wednesday, 24 April 2019 06:12 PM
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