The political debate over universal healthcare is not a new argument. In recent history alone we have the examples of Hillary Care, a program developed by Hillary Clinton while she was the First Lady that never came close to being implemented. Then there was Romney Care; the plan signed into law for the state of Massachusetts while Mitt Romney was the governor that cost the state millions of tax-payer dollars and is still being debated whether it was an improvement. And most recently Obama Care, also known in some circles as the Un-Affordable Health Care Act, which required the Democrats to change the rules of Congress in order to force this stepping stone to the single-payer system upon the American people.
The Affordable Care Act was written in a way that made it unsustainable. Many, like myself, believe this was done intentionally to lead to the American people to demand a fix so that the federal government could swoop in and save the day with full-fledged socialized medicine (or another step closer to it, at the very least). Regardless whether you believe it intentional or not, due to the continuous rising of premiums for less than adequate coverage and the IRS keeping what would have been otherwise income tax refunds to help cover the costs of “Marketplace” policies, Obama Care as it was written and implemented, was doomed to fail. (As many conservative voiced warned.)
The newest call by far-left politicians to push for is being championed by “Democratic Socialist” Sen. Bernie Sanders in what he calls “Medicare For All.” It was first pushed by the Vermont Socialist during his bid to become the Democratic Presidential nominee. He plans to extend the current Medicare program, which already has some finical issues, to cover everyone. There are a few problems with that plan, chief among them and easily provable to even the most stubborn advocate, would be the cost.
The George Mason’s Mercatus Center released a new study by a libertarian-leaning policy center that states it would cost the U.S. government $32.6 trillion over the course of the next ten years to make “Medicare For All” happen. To cover the new burden to the American tax-payers of extending Medicare benefits to the entire population would require a massive tax increase. This conclusion also aligns with a similar analysis performed by the Urban Institute. While many so-called Progressive politicians from both sides of the aisle believe that more government is always the answer no matter what the question would have no problems with raising our taxes, most of them also seem to believe that all of the money is theirs and we are lucky they let us keep any of it. So, I don’t think that they are the best judges of what is appropriate for our tax rate. However, according to this study, the government could double all corporate and individual income taxes, and it would still lack the required revenue to fund the program.
Now Sanders, who has long advocated a universal health care system, impugned the study’s credibility, citing the funding the Mercatus Center receives from the Koch Brothers. “If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all and achieve better health outcomes while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same,” Sanders said in a statement. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch Brothers response to the growing support in our country for a ‘Medicare for all’ program.” It is important to note that Sanders said this even though his office has not performed a cost analyst of their own on the plan he has championed. And his criticism of the study over the Koch Brothers doesn’t explain the findings of Urban Institute.
I would also point out a “misleading” thing in his statement. Sanders said that these other nations “achieve better health outcomes” than we do. I would love to know what standard Sen. Sanders is using to make that statement. When it comes to quality of service or wait times to be seen the current system here in the States far exceeds the norms in the nations that have socialized their national health care. The innovations in care and technology are at the cutting-edge here which improves outcomes as well. Whatever standard the Senator is using, all you must do is ponder the question of why those who can afford to travel to the U.S. from the U.K. and Canada come here for care do so when it could be provided at home. Why spend so much more on an outcome that is not as good?
It appears that the idea of “Medicare for all” is becoming something of a litmus test for 2020 presidential hopefuls for the Democratic party. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and other notable Democrats have expressed their support for the plan despite none of them have any good ideas about how to pay for it without vague comments about the wealthy paying their “fair share.” (Strange how the party that claims to be for the people is always quick to grow the government and increase the power of government in everyone’s life.) But why is it so important, as it has been for decades now, in the minds of some for the government to take full control of our healthcare? They will tell you it is because of the lack of access to care for the poor or the expense but is that it?
The reason someone like myself questions the intentions of those politicians who push for socialized medicine is because we have seen what happens in countries that nationalize their health care. We have seen the long waits for needed care that in some cases are not delivered because those in need die before they can be treated (yes, it happens). We have seen the failures of our own VA system which is not that dissimilar from the U.K. system. We have seen the availability of some treatments limited or restricted because of cost or lack of innovation. We have seen medical decisions taken out of the hands of doctors, nurses and the patients themselves and placed firmly in the hands of bureaucrats whose job it is to do cost analysis with no concern for the human being on the other side of that analysis.
I know that the Utopian dream has its appeal when you don’t think too long about the details. But socializing medicine is a wrong move for America. We need to be focused on finding ways of reducing the cost of providing health care without slowing innovation and without turning our healthcare workers into government employees. We need to promote growth in our economy to the point where all our citizens can afford their own care. We should never have an American Charlie Gard.
For those who have already forgotten, Charlie Gard was the infant boy from London, born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The British healthcare system threw in the towel and decided that there was nothing left to do but watch the baby die. His story gained international attention when his parents tried to remove Charley from the country to seek experimental treatments paid for by private donations from around the world. Both Italy and the United States even tried to bestow citizenship on young Charley in an effort to get him out of the British system, to no avail.
In the end, Charley Gard would most likely have died regardless. But what harm would there have been to try to save the child? What harm would have come in advancing the medical science that would have come from the data gathered during the treatment, getting us closer to a cure? The harm my friend was in challenging the state and its power over you and your children. The harm was in thinking that you as a parent would have more say over your child than the government, as Christopher Gard and Constance Yates found out the hard way while the whole world watched.
America is based on individual liberty for all. Freedom cannot thrive when the government has that much power over its citizens. Socializing anything is contrary to the very spirit of this nation. I know that I will be criticized for the examples I used here as being “worse case scenarios,” but if it can happen once then it will happen again; don’t let it be here.
“Medicare For All” is a socialist idea that, if implemented, will bankrupt our nation. Bernie, Cory, Kamala stop trying to turn America into Venezuela while making empty promises of free stuff. Stop trying to buy votes from people who don’t understand how economies work. Nothing is ever free, and there are far worse prices to pay other than just money.