George Graham

There’s No Free Lunch


I saw an estimate in the trillions for “Medicare for All,” and it got me thinking about the humbug that passes for political discourse these days.

I don’t care whether you’re a diehard conservative or a doctrinaire Socialist, you’ll probably agree there’s no free lunch.

The government has to find money from somewhere to implement any program, however necessary that program might be.

So if you decide to provide health care for every American, rich or poor, old or young, you will have to pay for it.

You can tax the rich, as Bernie Sanders suggests. Or you can borrow from future generations as Trump is doing right now to fund his favorite programs. Or you can have the people receiving the health care foot the bill.

I don’t like taxes. I don’t know anybody who does. And when you tax the rich, you have to be careful not to scare them – and their money – away.

Running up a huge National Debt can have really damaging effects on the economy. (We already owe more than $21 trillion!)

But there are other ways of raising money for public projects.

We pay for some of our roads by collecting tolls, for example.

Just about any public service can be funded by user fees. (And you don’t have to call on private interests to do it. You and I know “privatization” is a racket, right?)

I would make Medicare available to everybody – for a price. And I would charge only as much as it costs. I would also allow private insurers to offer competing health plans.

If government is as inefficient as some people claim, the private insurers should have no trouble making a profit. But competition from the government’s plan would put a brake on their greed.

(It might also moderate health care costs as the competing plans bargain with providers.)

Of course, some people wouldn’t be able to afford Medicare – or any of the competing plans – and they might not qualify for Medicaid, either.

Should we let them die? I don’t think so.

I wouldn’t be averse to taxing the rich to pay for those folks. It wouldn’t be a big deal. The rich would hardly notice it.

And my plan wouldn’t cost anybody trillions of dollars. Would it?

That bogus estimate

The pros and cons

Our National Debt

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for