Don Berwick Comes Out In Favor of Medicare For All

Former Obama official and health care improvement guru says it will make US health care less expensive and simpler

Don Berwick, the health care improvement expert and former acting CMS administrator in the Obama administration, came out in favor of Medicare for all in an op-ed piece in USA Today  yesterday.

Berwick, who as head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, was an advocate for and popularizer of the Triple Aim, wrote that Medicare for all would help control spending and make American health care simpler by "easing the onerous burdens of billing for doctors, endless paperwork for all health care professionals, and navigating the confusing coverage system for patients and families.

As acting CMS administrator during the Obama administration, Berwick said he saw the ACA as an "essential step forward." Now, though, he says that covering all Americans through "a single-payer, federal insurance program" would be "a wiser path."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the current front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been under pressure to release her plan for how she will pay for her Medicare-for-all proposal. Warren has said she will do so soon.

Berwick, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Massachusetts in 2014, said in his opinion piece that it was a myth that Medicare for all must raise taxes on the middle class families.

"Medicare for All’s cost to families, no matter how it is funded, should be compared with what those same American families will spend on health care if we do nothing," he wrote. "And as things stand now, the trajectory of their health care spending is looking increasingly painful."