Mavs’ Owner Mark Cuban Talks Universal Healthcare At SXSW

Mavs’ Owner Mark Cuban Talks Universal Healthcare At SXSW


This weekend was South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX. Amidst of all the bands and speakers, Mark Cuban appeared in a panel titled: “Is Govt Disrupting Disruption?

While Cuban and the other speakers covered a number of subjects, politics was a major focus of the discussion. Evidently, the appearance was so issue-oriented that described the SXSW panel as a thinly-veiled “trial balloon of ‘Mark Cuban: 2020 Presidential Contender’.”
Among the subjects covered were the future of AI:

“I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of… Whatever you are studying right now if you are not getting up to speed on deep learning, neural networks, etc., you lose. We are going through the process where software will automate software, automation will automate automation.”

President Trump [via CNBC]:

“The economic policies of his that are pretty much traditionally conservative I like…. But in terms of him personally, he’s the Zoolander president… His idea of efficiency is I would send him emails, his assistant would print it, he would write on it, and he would scan it. He doesn’t know how to use email… Just think how efficient he could be if he learned how to use a search engine.”

And, most importantly, Cuban’s support for some form of universal healthcare. According to, the Pittsburgh native told the audience:

while he believed many government regulations are bad, he had “evolved” on some healthcare issues and believed that America had taken on a liability and should guarantee that citizens have access for emergency or chronic medical problems.

“If a toilet falls out of a space lab and hits you on the head,” Cuban joked, you should be guaranteed healthcare. But he also made it clear that healthcare shouldn’t be guaranteed for every medical problem, and he thought the terms should be provided by a constitutional amendment.”

This position may seem to contradict his libertarian leaning, but it’s nothing new for the MicroSolutions founder. Cuban has advocated for socialized medicine several times in the past few years. In a 2015 interview with Business Insider, Cuban explained:

“When I think libertarian, it’s ‘as small of a government as we can get, right now — you just cut right through it and you make it [smaller] right now.’ That’s not real. There’s got to be a process. There’s got to be a transition. As a country, we make decisions. We make decisions that we’re going to provide healthcare, right? We don’t just let people die on the street. You can go into any hospital and they have to treat you… I’m a Republican in the respect that I like smaller government and I like less intrusion in some areas. But there’s sometimes where I think we have to intrude. I think there’s sometimes when you have to do things.”

The subject is of particular relevant right now as the Republican Party recently offered up their new “Obamacare” replacement bill, which has so far proved unpopular with Republicans and Democrats. The new bill has been criticized as a form of “Obamacare Lite” that “will price millions out of the health insurance market”.
While most people admit the ACA was flawed, so far no one has offered a truly viable solution. But that didn’t stop the Dallas Mavericks’ owner from offering up a few of his own suggestions on how to fix healthcare in the United States:
“The premiums that we are paying to insurance companies as individuals or as company coverage for these significant risks would go from the insurance companies to the IRS. Only the cost of covering the what’s left would continue being paid to the insurance companies.
It would not be hard to do the math. Every insurance company does this analysis already. The government does this analysis already. We all would end up paying  more in taxes, but less in insurance and healthcare costs over time.
There would be no mandates. There would be no individual penalties.  No tax credits. No subsidies. No offsets or deductions for buying higher end insurance. This will be single payer (yes I know it’s a dirty phrase in this country) for chronic physical or mental illness and for any life threatening injury.
Everything not covered by the above can be covered by insurance sold on the free market, managed by the states, sold across state lines, without government interference.”
Of course, no contemporary Q&A with Mark Cuban would be complete without him commenting on a possible presidential run in 2020. The entrepreneur says he hasn’t ruled it out as a possibility, but he remains unconvinced. Whether you’re a fan of Cuban’s ideas of not, at this point, he certainly seems like a better option than Trump.
[Photo via Flickr user Marc Levin]