We Need To Talk About How 'Medicare For All' Will Affect Jobs And Income

James Pethokoukis

“Medicare for All” plans, such as those proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, qualify as “big structural change,” to use Warren’s phrase. The elimination of private health insurance in favor of “free” government health coverage is certainly change that’s big and structural. Same goes for the all the tax increases and the payment of much lower rates to physicians and hospitals.

But those are the known big structural changes, or BSCs — at least the ones mentioned in candidate plans. But what about other BSCs that may be less obvious? Would, say, overriding drug patents affect the type of early-stage development done by biotech firms and funded by venture capital? Undercutting that innovation mechanism would qualify as a BSC.

Or how about this: The Washington Post points out that economists “have projected as many as 2 million jobs could be lost under a Medicare-for-all system that eliminated all private coverage.” That also qualifies as BSC. When a reporter recently asked Warren about the job loss issue, the senator responded, “So I agree. I think this is part of the cost issue and should be part of a cost plan.”

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