Seems Democrats have very little of substance on their party platform, but one big topic, for many Democrats, is another shot at national healthcare, called “Medicare for All”. I’m not sure exactly what that means at this point, and I’m also not sure that the Democrats know either. According to The Economist,
First, though, Democrats need to decide what Medicare for all actually means. The details of health policy resemble brain surgery; the appeal of a slogan is that nobody need bother with the stultifying details. Some Democratic politicians and left-of-centre think-tanks have put forward more modest proposals under the aegis of Medicare for all. They include: allowing more people to qualify for Medicaid (government-provided insurance for the poorest), lowering the age requirements for Medicare and introducing a so-called public option, a state-run insurer to compete with existing private ones. These are more accurately labelled as “Medicare for more”, says Sara Collins of the Commonwealth Fund, a health think-tank. The virtue of these ideas is that they are incrementalist and would require less federal spending than a fully fledged single-payer system. Their chief shortcoming, as Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy at Harvard puts it, is that “terms like public option don’t raise the blood pressure of the public”.
As a result none of these proposals has received as much attention as the detailed plan put forward by Mr Sanders, which goes the full monty. Medicare would become the single payer of all insurance claims. It would be free at the point of use. Premiums, deductibles and other payments would be nearly eliminated. It would also up-end the health-care system by doing away with employer-sponsored insurance. The majority (56%) of working-age Americans are enrolled in these schemes; 71% of those covered by them say they are content. Unlike the other Medicare-for-all pitches, if you like your plan, you most certainly cannot keep it.
To fund all this, federal spending would need to increase by an estimated $32.6trn over ten years. If the government used its power to reduce the costs of drugs and of administration this could, according to an estimate by the Mercatus Centre, a think-tank, result in $2trn less health spending overall otherwise…
Efforts in Vermont, Mr Sanders’s own home state, stalled once it became clear that an 11.5% surtax on payrolls and premiums up to 9.5% of income would be needed to fund single-payer insurance. Public support drops sharply once voters are reminded that taxes would have to rise to pay for Medicare for all.
And Medicare, as it is run now, is certainly not free at the point of use for most of us. At least for now, full-blown national health care is unlikely to become a reality in the United States, nor should it, in my opinion. This is what PragerU says about it:
And here is just part of what The White House has to say in their “Fact Sheets”:
- Democrats are claiming seniors would not lose benefits under “Medicare for All.”
- In reality, popular Medicare Advantage plans enjoyed by more than 20 million seniors would be outlawed under the Democrat plan.
- Congressional Democrats are telling American seniors “Medicare for All” is not a threat, yet their radical plan comes with a price tag that would jeopardize seniors’ benefits.
- Their plan rations healthcare with additional and stricter government price controls.
- Their plan requires large payment cuts to doctors and hospitals, leading to hospital closures, fewer doctors, and less care for seniors.
- This would not be the first time the Democrats abandoned our seniors, having cut Medicare spending by $800 billion…
In a telling show of his lack of respect for American taxpayers, Senator Schumer did not even deny their plan would use taxpayer money to fund Government healthcare for illegal aliens.
Looks like another power grab to me. It sounds good – particularly if you are young, and your health care needs are modest – but the costs are politically minimized, while the loss of benefits and rationing of services are inevitable, just as they are in Canada, which has expanded the legality of privately provided and paid health services. This video by Stephen Crowder (himself a Canadian) shows what it can be like to get health care in Canada:
In my mind, there are several serious considerations:
- Cost. This means cost to provide services (government) and funding (taxes).
- Rationing of services. Who decides what and when they are provided, or not.
- Freedom of choice. Traded for equal access to all? No preference allowed based on income? Or as some Canadians believe, it isn’t “fair” that people could spend money to get superior care.
- Wait times. With rationed services (not enough equipment, beds, or physicians), how long are we willing to wait to get a needed operation, sit in the Emergency Room, obtain an MRI, or even a blood test?