‘The time is now:’ Over 200 economists send a letter to Congress endorsing Medicare for All

"We encourage Congress to move forward with implementing a public financed Medicare for All plan to achieve the equitable and affordable universal health care system that the American people need."

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Image Credit: Molly Adams/flickr

In advance of today’s hearing at the House Budget Committee on Medicare for All, more than 200 economists have written an open letter to Congress endorsing Medicare for All as the solution to our greedy healthcare problems.

“It’s a sure winner – except for the profiteers,” says professor of economics Jeffrey Sachs, who’s name is one of the 209 signatories.

Citing evidence on how other countries around the world have been successful with publicly finances healthcare systems, the letter states:

Evidence from around the world demonstrates that publicly financed healthcare systems result in improved health outcomes, lower costs, and greater equity. As of 2017, the U.S. spent $3.3 trillion annually on healthcare. This equaled 17 percent of U.S. GDP, with average spending at about $10,000 per person. By contrast, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Spain and Italy spent between 9 – 11 percent of GDP on health care, averaging $3,400 to $5,700 per person. Yet average health outcomes in all of these countries are superior to those in the United States. In all of these countries, the public sector is predominant in financing heath care.


“Medicare for All will give us a system already proven in other countries: much lower costs with less hassle and worry,” says Saches.

The letter concludes, “We encourage Congress to move forward with implementing a public financed Medicare for All plan to achieve the equitable and affordable universal health care system that the American people need.”

Today the House Budget Committee will hold a congressional hearing on single-payer healthcare to discuss Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act of 2019. The bill already has 108 co-sponsors,

Read the full letter below:

As economists, we understand that a single-payer “Medicare for All” health insurance system for the U.S. can finance good-quality care for all U.S. residents as a basic right while still significantly reducing overall health care spending relative to the current exorbitant and wasteful system. Health care is not a service that follows standard market rules. It should therefore be provided as a public good.

Evidence from around the world demonstrates that publicly financed health care systems result in improved health outcomes, lower costs, and greater equity. As of 2017, the U.S. spent $3.3 trillion annually on health care. This equaled 17 percent of U.S. GDP, with average spending at about $10,000 per person. By contrast, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Spain and Italy spent between 9 – 11 percent of GDP on health care, averaging $3,400 to $5,700 per person. Yet average health outcomes in all of these countries are superior to those in the United States. In all of these countries, the public sector is predominant in financing health care.

For these reasons, the time is now to create a universal, single-payer, Medicare for All health care system in the United States.

Public financing for health is not a matter of raising new money for healthcare, but of reducing total healthcare outlays and distributing payments more equitably and efficiently. Implementing a unified single-payer system would reduce administrative costs and eliminate individuals’ and employers’ insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If combined with public control of drug prices and a dramatically simplified global budgeting system, a sensible Medicare financing system would reduce healthcare costs while guaranteeing access to comprehensive care and financial security to all.

As such, we support publicly and equitably financed health care through a Medicare for All system at the Federal level, as described in H.R. 1384 and S. 1129. We encourage Congress to move forward with implementing a public financed Medicare for All plan to achieve the equitable and affordable universal health care system that the American people need. Signed,

  1. Randy Albelda, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
  2. Carolyn B. Aldana, Professor Emeritus, California State University, San Bernardino 3 Mona Ali, Associate
  3. Professor of Economics, SUNY New Paltz
  4. Larry Allen, Professor of Economics, Lamar University
  5. Jack Amariglio, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Merrimack College
  6. Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director and Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  7. Peter Arno, Senior Fellow & Director Health Policy Research, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  8. Michael Ash, Professor of Economics & Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  9. Glen Atkinson, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno
  10. M V Lee Badgett, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  11. Ron Baiman, Assistant Professor of Economics, Benedictine University
  12. Dean Baker, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  13. Radhika Balakrishnan, Professor, Rutgers University
  14. Nina Banks, Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University
  15. David Barkin, Distinguished Professor, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana
  16. Charles Barone, Professor Emeritus, Dickinson College
  17. Deepankar Basu, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  18. Lourdes Beneria, Professor Emerita, Cornell University
  19. Peter H. Bent, Assistant Professor, American University of Paris
  20. Suzanne Bergeron, Professor, University of Michigan Dearborn
  21. Cyrus Bina, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, University of Minnesota (Morris Campus), and Fellow, Economists for Peace and Security
  22. Josh Bivens, Research Director, Economic Policy Institute
  23. Robert A. Blecker, Professor of Economics, American University
  24. Peter Bohmer, Faculty in Economics and Political Economy, The Evergreen State College
  25. Howard Botwinick, Associate Professor of Economics, SUNY Cortland
  26. Roger Even Bove, Ph.D. in Economics, West Chester University (retired)
  27. James K. Boyce, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  28. Robert Brenner, Director, Center for Social Theory and Comparative History, UCLA
  29. Michael Brün, Instructor, Heartland Community College
  30. Antonio Callari, Professor, Franklin and Marshall College
  31. Al Campbell, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Utah
  32. Martha Campbell, Associate Professor of Economics, Emeritus, SUNY Potsdam
  33. Jim Campen, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston
  34. José Caraballo, Professor, University of Puerto Rico
  35. Scott Carter, Professor of Economics, The University of Tulsa
  36. James F Casey, Associate Professor of Economics, Washington and Lee University
  37. John Dennis Chasse, Professor Emeritus, SUNY College at Brockport
  38. Robert Chernomas, Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba
  39. Kimberly Christensen, Economics Professor, Sarah Lawrence College
  40. Douglas Cliggott, Lecturer, Economics, University of Massachusetts
  41. Nathaniel Cline, Associate Professor, University of Redlands
  42. Richard Cornwall, Professor Emeritus, Middlebury College
  43. James Crotty, Emeritus Professor, University of Massachusetts
  44. Dr. James Cypher, Professor of Economics, Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Mexico, and Emeritus Professor, California State University
  45. Omar Dahi, Hampshire College
  46. Anita Dancs, Associate Professor of Economics, Western New England University
  47. Paul Davidson, Emeritus Professor Chair of Honor, University of Tennessee
  48. Charles Davis, Professor of Labor Studies, Indiana University
  49. Carmen Diana Deere, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of Florida
  50. George DeMartino, Professor, JKSIS, University of Denver
  51. Firat Demir, Professor, University of Oklahoma
  52. James G. Devine, Professor of Economics, Loyola Marymount University
  53. Geert Dhondt, Associate Professor, John Jay College, CUNY
  54. Peter Dorman, Professor of Political Economy, Evergreen State College
  55. Richard Du Boff, Professor Emeritus, Bryn Mawr College
  56. Marie C. Duggan, Professor of Economics, Keene State College
  57. Amitava Krishna Dutt, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of Notre Dame
  58. Nina Eichacker, Assistant Professor, University of Rhode Island
  59. David P Ellerman, Visiting Scholar, University of California at Riverside
  60. Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  61. Thomas Ferguson, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston
  62. Ellen Fitzpatrick, Professor, Merrimack College
  63. Sean Flaherty, Professor of Economics, Franklin and Marshall College
  64. Nancy Folbre, Professor Emerita of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  65. Mariko Frame, Assistant Professor of Economics, Merrimack College
  66. Dania V. Francis, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  67. Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  68. James K. Galbraith, Professor, University of Texas at Austin
  69. Barbara Garson, Author, Money Makes the World Go Round
  70. Armagan Gezici, Associate Professor of Economics, Keene State College
  71. Helen Lachs Ginsburg, Professor Emerita of Economics, Brooklyn College/CUNY
  72. Mwangi Wa Githinji, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  73. Art Goldsmith, Professor of Economics, Washington and Lee University
  74. Neva Goodwin, Co-director, GDAE, Tufts University
  75. Ulla Grapard, Professor of Economics and Women’s Studies, Emerita, Colgate University
  76. Robert Guttmann, Augustus B Weller Professor of Economics, Hofstra University
  77. Robin E Hahnel, Professor Emeritus, American University
  78. John Battaile Hall, Professor of Economics, Portland State University
  79. Jay Hamilton, Assistant Professor, John Jay College
  80. Greg P. Hannsgen, Founder and Blogger, Greg Hannsgen’s Economics Blog, and Research Associate, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
  81. John T. Harvey, Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University
  82. Baban Hasnat, Professor of International Business, SUNY Brockport
  83. F. Gregory Hayden, Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  84. Carol E. Heim, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  85. John Forrest Henry, Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute, and Adjunct Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  86. P. Sai-wing Ho, Professor, University of Denver
  87. Joan Hoffman, Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY
  88. Barbara Hopkins, Professor, Wright State University
  89. Candace Howes, Professor of Economics, Connecticut College
  90. Eric Hoyt, Ph.D. in Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Research Director, Center for Employment Equity
  91. Joseph Michael Hunt, Instructor, Environmental and Health Policy, Harvard University
  92. Dorene Isenberg, Professor of Economics, University of Redlands
  93. Tae-Hee Jo, Associate Professor, SUNY Buffalo State
  94. Fadhel Kaboub, Associate Professor of Economics, Denison University, and President, Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity
  95. Stephanie A Kelton, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Stony Brook University, and Senior Economic Advisor, Bernie2020 Presidential Campaign
  96. Haider A Khan, John Evans Distinguished University Professor, University of Denver
  97. Mu-Jeong Kho, University College London, the University of London
  98. Marlene Kim, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  99. Mary C. King, Professor of Economics Emerita, Portland State University
  100. Charalampos Konstantinidis, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  101. Kazim Konyar, Professor of Economics, California State University, San Bernardino
  102. Brent Kramer, Adjunct Assistant Professor, City University of New York
  103. Patrick L Mason, Professor of Economics, Florida State University, and Director, African American Studies Program
  104. David Laibman, Professor Emeritus, Economics, City University of New York, and Editor, Science & Society
  105. Thomas Lambert, Lecturer, University of Louisville
  106. Anthony Laramie, Professor of Economics, Merrimack College
  107. Margaret Levenstein, Research Professor, Institute for Social Research and School of Information, University of Michigan
  108. An Li, Assistant Professor, Sarah Lawrence College
  109. Victor D. Lippit, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of California, Riverside
  110. James Luke, Professor of Economics, Lansing Community College
  111. Daniel MacDonald, Assistant Professor, California State University San Bernardino
  112. Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
  113. Allan MacNeill, Professor, Webster University
  114. Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, Full Professor of Economics, Winston-Salem State University, and Former Chief Economist, City and County of San Francisco
  115. Yahya M. Madra, Associate Professor of Economics, Drew University
  116. Theresa Mannah-Blankson, Assistant Professor of Economics, Messiah College
  117. Thomas Masterson, Director of Applied Micromodeling, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
  118.  Gabriel Mathy, Assistant Professor, American University
  119. Peter H Matthews, Dana Professor of Economics, Middlebury College
  120. Scott McConnell, Associate Professor of Economics, Eastern Oregon University, and Owner/CEO, Side A Brewing
  121. Elaine McCrate, Economics Professor Emerita, University of Vermont
  122. Terrence McDonough, Professor Emeritus, National University Ireland Galway
  123. Martin Melkonian, Adjunct Associate Professor, Economics, Hofstra University
  124. Peter B. Meyer, Professor Emeritus of Urban Policy and Economics, University of Louisville
  125. Thomas Michl, Professor of Economics, Colgate University
  126. John Miller, Professor of Economics, Wheaton College
  127. Katherine A. Moos, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  128. Tracy Mott, Professor, University of Denver
  129. Michele Naples, Professor of Economics, The College of New Jersey
  130. Daniel H. Neilson, Faculty in Economics, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
  131. Edward J. Nell, Emeritus Professor, New School for Social Research
  132. Julie A. Nelson, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  133. Reynold F. Nesiba, Professor of Economics, Augustana University
  134. John Casey Nicolarsen, Visiting Professor, Sarah Lawrence College
  135. Eric Nilsson, Professor, California State University San Bernardino
  136. Erik Olsen, Associate Professor, University of Missouri Kansas City
  137. Paulette Olson, Professor Emerita, Wright State University
  138. Lenore Palladino, Senior Economist, Roosevelt Institute
  139. Christian Parenti, Associate Professor Department of Economics, John Jay College CUNY
  140. Mark Paul, Assistant Professor of Economics, New College of Florida
  141. Eva Paus, Professor of Economics, Mount Holyoke College
  142. Karen A Pfeifer, Professor Emerita of Economics, Smith College
  143. Lynda Pickbourn, Assistant Professor of Economics, Hampshire College
  144.  Bruce Pietrykowski, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan-Dearborn
  145.  Chiara Piovani, Associate Professor, University of Denver
  146.  Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)
  147. Devin T. Rafferty, Assistant Professor, Saint Peter’s University, and Founding Director, MS Finance Program
  148. Pratistha Joshi Rajkarnikar, Postdoc Scholar, Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University
  149. Michael Robinson, Professor of Economics, Mount Holyoke College
  150. John Roche, Associate Proferssor Emeritus, St John Fisher College
  151. Leonard Rodberg, Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College/CUNY
  152. Leanne Roncolato, Assistant Professor of Economics, Franklin and Marshall College
  153. Frank Roosevelt, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Sarah Lawrence College
  154. Jaime Ros, Emeritus Professor, University of Notre Dame, and Professor of Economics, National Autonomous University of Mexico
  155. Nancy E Rose, Professor Emeritus, California State University San Bernardino
  156. Trevor R. Roycroft, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Ohio University
  157. David F. Ruccio, Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame
  158. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor, Columbia University
  159. Gregory M Saltzman, Professor of Economics and Management, Albion College
  160. John Sarich, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  161. John Schmitt, Vice President, Economic Policy Institute
  162. Jeremy Schwartz, Associate Professor, Loyola University Maryland
  163. Elliott Sclar, Emeritus Professor, Columbia University
  164. Stephanie Seguino, Professor of Economics, University of Vermont
  165.  Mark Setterfield, Professor of Economics, New School for Social Research
  166.  Anwar Shaikh, Professor, New School for Social Research
  167.  Barry G. Shelley, Senior Lecturer, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University
  168.  Zoe Sherman, Assistant Professor of Economics, Merrimack College
  169. Heidi Shierholz, Senior Economist and Director of Policy, Economic Policy Institute
  170. Hee-Young Shin, Assistant Professor, Wright State University
  171. Nicholas Shunda, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Redlands
  172. Kellin Stanfield, Assistant Professor of Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  173.  Howard Stein, Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  174.  Jose A. Tapia, Associate Professor, Drexel University
  175. Linwood Tauheed, Associate Professor, University of Missouri Kansas City
  176.  Daniele Tavani, Associate Professor, Colorado State University
  177. Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Program Director and Associate Professor of Economics, Bard College, and Research Associate, Levy Economics Institute
  178. Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  179. E. Ahmet Tonak, Visiting Professor, Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  180.  Mariano Torras, Professor, Adelphi University
  181.  Andres Torres, Distinguished Lecturer, Lehman College (retired)
  182.  Mayo Toruno, Professor Emeritus, California State University San Bernardino
  183. Eric Tymoigne, Associate Professor of Economics, Lewis & Clark College
  184. Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  185.  William Van Lear, Economics Professor, Belmont Abbey College
  186. Ramaa Vasudevan, Associate Professor, Colorado State University
  187. Tanadej Vechsuruck, Assistant Professor, University of Rhode Island
  188.  William Waller, Professor of Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  189.  John P. Watkins, Professor of Economics, Westminster College, and Adjunct Professor of Economics, University of Utah
  190. David F. Weiman, Professor of Economics, Barnard College, Columbia University
  191.  Scott A. Weir, Ph.D. in Economics, Retired
  192. Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Associate Research Professor, Political Economy Research Institute
  193. Noé Wiener, Lecturer, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  194.  Robert B. Williams, Professor of Economics, Guilford College
  195. John Willoughby, Professor, Department of Economics, American University
  196.  Benjamin Wilson, Assistant Professor, SUNY CortlandL
  197. Lucas Wilson, Professor, Mount Holyoke College
  198. Valerie Wilson, Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity & the Economy, Economic Policy Institute
  199.  Andrew J Winnick, Professor Emeritus, California State University Los Angeles
  200. Jon D. Wisman, Professor of Economics, American University
  201. Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  202. L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics and Senior Scholar, Bard College and Levy Economics Institute
  203. Brenda Wyss, Associate Professor, Wheaton College Massachusetts
  204. Yavuz Yasar, Associate Professor, University of Denver
  205. Tai Young-Taft, Assistant Professor of Economics, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and Research Scholar, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
  206. June Zaccone, Associate Professor of Economics, Emerita, Hofstra University
  207. Ajit Zacharias, Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute
  208. German A. Zarate-Hoyos, Associate Professor, SUNY Cortland
  209. Gabriel Zucman, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

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