David Bruining

Medicare For All Doesn't Work For All

Medicare For All Doesn’t Care At All

Democrats discuss Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill last year. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats discuss Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill last year. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

As the presidential race for 2020 kicks off, the Democrats’ only standpoint is Medicare for All.  Many believe that healthcare is a universal right and should be protected as such by law. These keepers-of-healthcare like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Hillary Clinton will become bête noires for anyone who likes spending money or enjoys keeping more than half of their paycheck.  But the problem is that not even half of Americans have heard of the Medicare for All platform, let alone understand it.  To put it simply, it took the United States 242 years to accumulate the monstrative $20 trillion debt we bear today; the minute that Medicare for All is passed, the US debt will skyrocket 163%.  So here’s what Medicare for All really is:

 
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Medicare was established in 1965 and structured to expand.  At its best, Medicare offered universal healthcare coverage for those over the age of 65, covering the areas of hospital and medical insurance.  In 1972, it encompassed people with disabilities. Drug benefits (Part D) was added much later, around 2006. At first, Medicaid (also signed into effect in 1965) only gave insurance to those on cash assistance.  Today, it covers a much greater group: low-income families, pregnant women, all people with disabilities, and people who need long-term care. What’s more, a state can make custom any area of Medicaid in order to best serve its populous–just raise taxes!  On the road to 2020, sitting Democrats in Congress and the select few that are running for President are in favor of an even more in depth expansion to what is covered under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. “With their eyes on 2020, [Democrats] have introduced at least eight plans for expanding health coverage beyond Obamacare’s gains,” Politico reported.  Thousands of blue-checkmark journalists and narrative news sources, with hundreds of millions of followers between them, praise the M4A system saying that it is simply an ethics issue.  In August 2017, Kamala Harris became the first Senate Democrat to support Sanders' Medicare for All bill. “It’s just the right thing to do,” Harris said at the time, according to The Washington Post.  Sure, emotionally it seems like the just thing to do.  But, it is certainly not the fiscally right thing to do, nor the logically right thing to do.  

The desirability and possibility of the M4A passing in Congress relies heavily on the cost for the United States and the burden it will throw onto the taxpayer.  A recent study and paper was written by Charles Blahous and published by The Mercatus Center, in cooperation with George Mason University, that outlined the complete cost of Medicare for All and Sanders’s dream.  In the highly unlikely event that every expectation Senator Sanders has panned out becomes reality–and I mean every expectation–, the bill would lower American health care spending by $2 trillion between 2022 and 2031.  This assumes the sponsors’ goals of dramatically reducing payments to health providers, in addition to substantially reducing drug prices and administrative costs.  The paper clearly and explicitly states that this case is extremely unlikely; it could only work if it was implemented perfectly.  Adding to the whole socialism-works-great-on-paper debacle. The Medicare for All supporters ran to the pulpits, shouting that they finally found ‘proof’ for all the arbitrary claims of cost savings.  Senator Sanders released a video and tweet proclaiming: “Medicare for All will lead to a $2 TRILLION REDUCTION in national health expenditures over 10 years. … That’s trillion with a ‘T.’”  Those same blue-checkmark journalists spread this falsehood like wildfire. Unsurprisingly, not one journalist paid attention to the paper’s overarching finding: Medicare for All would increase the federal government expenditures by at least $32.6 trillion in those same 10 years; personal and corporate income taxes would need to be more than doubled to close a gap that wide.  The expected 2022 income taxes for both parties is $2.343 trillion, so taxes would need to increase 117% solely to cover Medicare, nothing but Medicare.  (Numerous mainstream media outlets’ fact-checking powers have confirmed that Blahous’s forecast of saving $2 trillion was only if Sanders’s expectations were fully implemented and with unflagging validity.)  The next two years will be an important time for Democrats and Democratic-Socialists to coalesce around the Medicare for All legislation and somehow convince hard working Americans that this monstrosity of a tax burden is anywhere near worth it.  Needless to say, trying to get the Middle Class on board for the largest tax increase in US history will be difficult. Democrats better bring an umbrella to the parade because any sensible American is going to rain on it.

The Medicare for All legislation would expand the services of healthcare entitled to the Federal Government and grotesquely increase the demand for healthcare insurance.  Not only would the government be responsible for hospital and medical insurance, but now also dental, hearing, and vision benefits (to name a few). This legislation cannot guarantee the quality of these treatments and benefits, nor can it know how the providers will react to such a change.  Which brings the morality of Medicare for All into question. Most likely, the private healthcare sector would completely and unequivocally be left in ashes–eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs along with 18% of GDP.  Even more so, provider reimbursements that are offered under the current healthcare system would be cut.  Medicare for All would almost force hospitals to close and leave many doctors and nurses with the sadening reality of being forced to leave their professions.  If you are in favor of Medicare for All, you have no choice but to deal with that uncomfortable reality. The only upside to Medicare for All is the feeling that you helped someone–but only if you ignore the fact that thousands of lives will be destroyed and the American dream shattered for almost every taxpayer.