Intelligence Squared

Wednesday, October 9 at 2:00 pm

Replace Private Insurance With Medicare for All

As the nation gears up for the 2020 election, Democrats are promising bold new changes to the American health care system. One idea championed by many on the progressive left is “Medicare for All,” or a single-payer system, which would do away with private health insurance for most forms of care. Advocates of this plan promise that nationalizing health insurance will cut costs by reducing overhead and promote overall health by giving all Americans access to preventive health care. And in doing so, the United States will join the ranks of many other developed nations that have already mandated a national insurance program to guarantee medical care as a basic human right. Their opponents argue Medicare for All is a political non-starter that would force Americans off employer-based plans, reduce incentives for doctors and providers, increase bureaucracy and inefficiencies in the system, and lead to worse care overall, all the while inflating the already swelled federal deficit. Should private health insurance exist? Or is it time for Medicare for All?

The Debaters:
Dr. Adam Gaffney
President, Physicians for a National Health Program
Dr. Gaffney is a pulmonary specialist at Cambridge Health Alliance at Harvard Medical School and is president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). He is also chair of the Massachusetts chapter of PNHP and co-chair of the Working Group on Single-Payer Program Design, which developed the “Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform,” recently published at the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Gaffney is a prolific writer and blogger on health policy, frequently appears on radio, and is the author of “To Heal Humankind: The Right to Health in History.” 

Joseph Sanberg
Co-Founder, Aspiration & Chair, CalEITC4Me
Joseph Sanberg is a progressive entrepreneur who works through both the public and private sectors to improve public policy with the aim of ending poverty and making people’s lives better. Sanberg has been one of the nation’s leading advocates for the earned-income tax credit (EITC) for low-income families, and in 2015, he successfully lobbied legislators in his home state of California to create the state’s first EITC. A founding investor of Blue Apron, Sanberg also serves on the board of the Economic Innovation Group and the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

Nick Gillespie
Editor-at-Large, Reaso
Nick Gillespie is editor-at-large of Reason, the libertarian magazine of "free minds and free markets," co-host of the Reason Podcast, and principal interviewer at Reason TV. A two-time finalist for digital National Magazine Awards, he is co-author, with Matt Welch, of “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America.” His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time, and he is a frequent guest on CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and other networks.

Sally Pipes
CEO & President, Pacific Research Institute
Sally C. Pipes is president and chief executive officer of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a San Francisco-based think tank founded in 1979, where she is also the Thomas W. Smith fellow in health care policy. Prior to becoming president of PRI in 1991, she was assistant director of the Fraser Institute, based in Vancouver, Canada. She is a frequent contributor to major news sources, including the bi-weekly health care column “Piping Up” for Forbes.com. Pipes is a prolific author on healthcare trends and policy, including “Miracle Cure: How to Solve America’s Health Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn’t the Answer,” “The Truth About ObamaCare,” and forthcoming “False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All.”

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