The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

We should reduce foreign aid and spend the money on free single payer healthcare.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 391 times Debate No: 106744
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You have to take care of home first.


As a proponent of free single payer healthcare, I believe that we have to represent the costs of our program honestly; we cannot afford to lose credibility on a matter so important, when millions were still uninsured under the ACA, when health care markets may get thrown out of whack by the fact that there is no longer an individual mandate. I agree with Pro, it is imperative that we replace our broken system with Medicare for all.

In 2016, the total amount of foreign aid that the Obama Administration proposed in it's budget was 42.4 billion dollars, out of a total budget of 4.5 trillion dollars. In other words, it was less than 1% of the total budget. [1] To take a popularly known example of a Medicare for all Proposal, Bernie Sanders' 2013 bill for a Medicare for all program would cost roughly 1.4 trillion dollars. [2] If we completely eliminate our foreign aid budget, we still will not be able to pay for Medicare for all. Our foreign aid, while imperfect in some respects, still has many positive impacts on the lives of some of the World's poorest people; it includes considerable assistance for economic development and, paradoxically given the thrust of Pro's argument, health care spending that is limiting the spread of HIV AIDS in many impoverished countries throughout the world. Our ability to contain health contagions in other countries probably enhances the health of people living here in the United States. Moreover, to put this into perspective, the U.S. consumes around a quarter of the World's fossil fuel resources, to name just one example of how relatively good we have it, despite only making up around 5% of the World's population. [3] What we should really do (for a start) is to reallocate our foreign aid; cutting provisions that are wasteful or even harmful while revamping the programs that work and that help people living in the Global South. We might as well do this, as the total costs of foreign aid are too negligent to be used to pay for any major domestic undertakings, including Pro's proposal; since we're only spending 1% of our budget on helping people in other countries, we might as well make that help count.

To reiterate, reducing or even eliminating those expenditures will not come close to paying for Single Payer. There is a way to pay for a Single Payer program, and it is basically how we already pay for Medicare --- Payroll Medicare taxes. We essentially have to do three things to pay for a Medicare for all program: 1. We'd have to increase payroll taxes; 2. We'd have to give the government more authority to buy medications from drug companies and services from hospitals in bulk, to reduce price gauging. 3. We'd have to eliminate the private insurance market. The key thing to keep in mind about increasing payroll tax is that it actually will cost less to pay higher payroll than to pay health insurance premiums, especially when out of pocket expenses (under the status quo) are factored in. This is because of the immense cost savings of the program. Opponents of single payer love to cite governmental bureaucracy as a problem, and it can be a problem, but the overhead costs of bureaucracy in the Social Security Trust, and Medicare are actually very small. The costs of bureaucracy that are associated with corporate health insurance are higher; there are people working for the health insurance companies who are responsible for advertising, people who (prior to regulations on pre-existing conditions) were responsible for finding reasons NOT to insure people. Private sector health insurance is highly inefficient, and our health care sector is considerably larger (at roughly 17% or one sixth of our total economy) than health care sectors in other industrialized countries that have public universal health care. Their systems cover more people, have slightly higher life expectancy rates, and do all of this for less money. Those cost savings would get passed on to tax payers who, to reiterate, would no longer have to pay any more constantly inflating premiums in exchange for a bit more (in the 2013 Sanders bill it was a 2.2% increase on the average taxpayer, and a 6.2% increase on employers) in payroll Medicare taxation.

You see, that's how to sell the program, on it's actual merits, it's actual costs, and it's actual benefits. Pretending that reducing foreign aid can be a viable way to finance free health care for over 300 million people is not the way to go about it.
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