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Everyone seems to be afraid when they hear that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s "Medicare for All" plan will cost more than $42 trillion over 10 years.

That may be true, but that’s not all of the story. That $42 trillion will be instead of, rather than in addition to, what we are already spending on our health care. And for many people, it will be less than what we will spend under our current for-profit system. All we are arguing about is who we are paying our premiums to.

Yes, some folks say that this will raise our taxes. This is only true if you say that all payments to the government are taxes. You will be paying your insurance premiums to the government instead of to an insurance company, and if you can get your employer to pay them for you, go for it.  If you want to call them taxes, fine. I call them insurance premiums.

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So don’t be afraid of any big numbers a candidate’s health plan will cost. That’s only one number. We will be paying it anyway. So all we have to worry about is how much more a for-profit plan will cost. Worrying about one number without knowing the other is just dust in your eyes.

Thomas H. Hurst, Fitchburg

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