Fareed Zakaria’s criticism of the new progressives for dishonesty is well-taken (Sun Journal, Feb. 24). Progressives risk alienating anyone whose sympathies lie any closer to the center than their own, but who might otherwise be persuaded.

However, Zakaria’s rejection of Medicare-for-all is based on the common misconception that it would require $3 trillion of new money. People are already spending that much for health care. The same resources would simply follow new pathways to a single agent, the government, that would pay private providers. Medicare-for-all is social insurance, like current Medicare, not socialized medicine.

Transition to Medicare-for-all needn’t be as disruptive as Zakaria fears. Medicare-for-all would build on an existing program that for 50 years has been shown to work well. Providers already bill Medicare for many of their patients and would actually see administrative costs reduced. One could lower the eligibility age for adults in steps, say by five years every two years. Newborns would be enrolled from birth. (However, the savings to be achieved would not be fully realized until the entire population was covered.) If deemed necessary, Medicare-for-all could first be tried, with federal cooperation, in one or two willing states. Lessons learned could be applied in scaling up to a full national program.

Medicare-for-all offers much, and public support for it is growing. However, support for new ideas will dwindle if the public is misinformed by those promoting them.

Michael Bacon, Westbrook