Anyone who has been paying attention to the political news knows that Medicare for All is the centerpiece of Sen Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Elect Bernie, the promise goes, and he will provide everyone free healthcare insurance, courtesy of the government.
However, as Fox News notes, a lot exists about Medicare for All that Bernie is not telling us and some of what he is saying about it is patently false. Crippling taxes, joblessness for healthcare professionals, and rationing would be features of Bernie’s system.
First, and most obvious, are the taxes. The costs of Medicare for All would be measured in the tens of trillions of dollars per decade. That money has to be paid for from somewhere. Bernie claims that the taxes would be more than offset by lower healthcare costs. As it turns out, Sanders is being fast and loose with the truth when he makes that claim.
“Paying for ‘Medicare-for-all’ would require a host of new taxes. Before he ‘forgot’ how much it would cost, Sanders proposed funding his plan with everything from a new 4 percent tax on every American household to a new 7.5 percent payroll tax. He claims Americans would pay less for health care, even with these new taxes. That’s unlikely. An analysis from Emory University professor Kenneth E. Thorpe found that 70 percent of working, privately insured households would pay more for health insurance under ‘Medicare-for-all’ than they currently do.”
We have real-world examples of how much government-run healthcare costs with the systems that exist in Canada and Great Britain. The average Canadian family of four pays $13,000 in taxes for that country’s government healthcare system. A similar family in Great Britain pays 5,000 pounds. Both costs have skyrocketed during the past two decades with more increases to come. Since Bernie plans for his system to pay for prescription drugs and other items not covered in Canada, the tax burden for Americans will be even greater.
Ah, claims Sanders, but those enormous taxes would be offset by cutting costs in the American healthcare system. However, Team Bernie has not figured out that collecting all of those taxes will place an administrative burden on the IRS. And those cost savings will come at the costs of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the healthcare sector. Taking care of those people will cost money.
The huge tax burden will be accompanied by a decrease in quality.
“And then there’s the disruption ‘Medicare-for-all’ would foist upon patients. Government-dominated systems the world over do not provide unfettered access to free, high-quality health care. They respond to the impossible task of treating an unlimited number of patients with limited resources by rationing care. That results in long wait times. Some 4.5 million people in the United Kingdom were waiting for specialist treatment as of March 2019 — an increase of 40 percent over the last five years. More than 11 million Britons waited more than three weeks for an appointment with a general practitioner, according to the most recent government data. Nearly 3 percent of the Canadian population was on a waitlist for treatment last year. “These wait times add to the cost of ‘free’ health care. Absence and reduced productivity of sick workers cost the United Kingdom around 23 billion pounds each year.”
In other words, under Bernie Sanders’ system, Americans are going to have to wait their turn to go to the doctor. Most Americans, especially with private insurance, can see a general practitioner practically at will, at the very most within a day or so. Under Bernie’s “free” healthcare system, people who have the sniffles or an unexplained ache or pain are going to have to wait for weeks. Then, if a specialist is needed, say an oncologist or a cardiologist, they will have to wait even more. One can just imagine how much cancer or a heart condition will progress while all that waiting takes place.
Bernie Sanders, according to Politico, is surging in the polls, largely thanks to defections from Elizabeth Warren, the other “progressive” in the race. Bernie’s ideas may be damaging, but the candidate is considered more “authentic” than with Warren or the establishment candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bernie’s surge has proven to be concerning to the Democratic establishment, including former Obama officials. It is not that they are too concerned about the damage that Medicare for All would wreak. Democrats like the power such a system would bring to Washington. They are concerned that American voters will reject that system and the man who proposes it. Such a development means four more years of President Trump, something Democrats are horrified about more than anything in the world.