The Medicare for All Trap

 

You know you’re onto the truth when even the opposition pundits agree with you.

The mainstream media is so in love with the Democratic Progressive movement they won’t tell the public the truth about Medicare for All. But less biased liberal journalists are now speaking out.

William A. Galston, a reliable defender of liberal ideology for The Wall Street Journal, is honest enough to declare, “Medicare for All is a Trap” in his recent column. He puts it this way, “A political party is asking for trouble when it embraces a position on a high-profile issue that most Americans oppose.”

Galston, unlike most mainstream media journalists and progressives, has done his homework. He looked beyond the polls used by Medicare for All supporters, that claim up to 70% approval, to the details that show support for this socialized medicine proposal drops precipitously when people understand what it really means. For instance, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll of voters of both parties reported 56% approval of Medicare for All, but support dropped to only 37% when people were told it would mean elimination of private health insurance.

Early Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand all declared support for Medicare for All. But recent candidates Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown have declined to endorse the plan and others considering running, like John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet have also expressed concerns.

Galston says the dilemma for Democratic candidates is that polls of only Democratic voters show they still favor Medicare for All when they are told it will eliminate private health insurance. They even continue their support when told it will “require most Americans to pay more in taxes.” Yet the electorate as a whole will not support these ideas.

Therefore, Democratic presidential candidates must decide if they are going to tell their supporters the truth or simply support the ideas they like, even if it means defeat in the general election. Galston says, “If Democrats back single-payer healthcare, it could assure Trump’s re-election.”

Since Galston’s column was published, Senator Bernie Sanders, the avowed socialist and author of Medicare for All, has announced his presidential candidacy. His entrance into the race will put even more pressure on other candidates to declare their support for Medicare for All. This is exactly what Galston fears.

He recommends Democrats focus on improving and protecting ObamaCare rather than promoting Medicare for All. He suggests an alternative plan might be “Medicare Open to All”, which would enable everyone to buy into Medicare if they choose, but keep their private health insurance if they prefer. There is polling that seems to support this idea.

The rub for Progressives is opposing the elimination of private health insurance and higher taxes. Their ideology always favors more government control and more taxes to support that government. They’ll have to admit this approach isn’t the best if they want to win wider support in the general election. That may be “a bridge too far” for them to accept.

What’s Wrong With Medicare For All? – Part V

 

In previous posts of this series, Part I addressed the false claims of supporters of Medicare for All that it would provide universal access to healthcare. In Part II I continued with more discussion on access to healthcare and the claim that this would eliminate approval of medical treatments. Part III addressed the impact on increased taxes and healthcare costs for patients and the government.

In Part IV I talked about the impact Medicare for All will have on the quality of healthcare delivered in America if this government-controlled system is enacted. Poorer healthcare outcomes can be expected, as experienced in every other country with socialized medicine. In Part V, I will discuss how popular this system will be.

Support Depends Upon Words and Understanding

If you listen to Democratic pundits who support Medicare for All, you’d think the whole country loves this idea. Every declared Democratic candidate for president thus far supports it including Senators Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren. Of course Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders originated the idea and may run again for president. It has almost become a litmus test for Democratic presidential candidates. Liberal Democrats Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg were both excoriated by Democrats when they expressed opinions Medicare for All is unreasonable and unaffordable.

Supporters point to recent polls like the January Kaiser Family Foundation poll that found 56% of Americans favor “a national health plan, sometimes called Medicare for All, where all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan.” Only 42% opposed the idea when so worded.

Karl Rove, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says support drops quickly when people hear about its possible effects. Support dropped to 37%, with 60% opposed, when respondents were told it would “eliminate private health insurance companies” or “require most Americans to pay more in taxes.” Support fell to only 32% when respondents were alerted it would “threaten current Medicare.” And it crashed to 26% if those polled heard it would lead to “delays in people getting some medial tests and treatment.” Since all of the above are true, it can be deduced that real support for Medicare for All is only about 26% of the population.

Labeling also matters. In a November 2017 Kaiser poll that did not mention negative effects, “Medicare for All” drew a 62% favorable rating. But labeling the same idea “single-payer health insurance” dropped support to only 48%. Support dropped further if it was labeled “socialized medicine” – 44% favorable and 43% negative.

Supporters of Medicare for All are trying to keep the public in the dark. They know these polling numbers, too, so they prefer to talk about Medicare for All but avoid saying “single-payer healthcare” or “socialized medicine.” They also don’t want to talk about the real cost of this proposal.

Sanders refuses to say how much it will cost. His acolyte, Rep. Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, calls fiscal concerns “puzzling.” She told Jorge Ramos of Univision last November, “You just pay for it. We’re paying more now!” Then she later tweeted that two-thirds of Medicare for All could be paid for by cutting wasteful Pentagon spending. The total Pentagon budget is about $700 Billion – only about 20% of the estimated annual cost of Medicare for All! Clearly, her math falls far short of reality.

These and other supporters of Medicare for All are pushing this idea because they are either ignorant of the truth, unconcerned about real healthcare improvements, or willing to demagogue the issue for political gain. The supporters of this proposal are grossly exaggerating the benefits and grossly underestimating the costs and its impact on taxes and healthcare access.

The American people will not accept this idea when they become fully informed of its repercussions. Since the mainstream media cannot be trusted to inform the people, it is incumbent on Republicans to make this a campaign priority.

November Election Results

In the recent November mid-term elections, Medicare for All was a hot topic. It was a useful idea to support in Democratic primaries where enthusiastic progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley and Kara Eastman beat a centrist Democrat in Nebraska.

But Medicare for All did not fare as well in the general election, according to Sally Pipes, writing in Forbes. She notes 111 Democratic candidates in House races backed Medicare for All but only 19 won their elections. Just eight flipped their districts from red to blue. So Medicare for All supporters won just one in five House seats flipped by Democrats. Five of the eight seat flips were in true-blue California, where only one in four voters is registered Republican. Two seat flips happened in Pennsylvania districts that had been redrawn to make them Democratic strongholds. Presidential candidates might want to review these results more carefully before going too far out on a limb to support Medicare for All.

The Truth About Medicare for All

In summary, the truth about Medicare for All is it will result in:

  • Universal healthcare insurance but reduced access to healthcare
  • Government control of all healthcare treatment approval
  • Government control of all healthcare payments to providers
  • Government restrictions on costly new treatments and technology
  • Huge tax increases that will lower take-home pay for everyone
  • Higher healthcare costs for most patients and the government
  • Lower quality healthcare and long waiting times due to rationing

 

We have the best quality healthcare in the world. Why would we want to ruin it by implementing Medicare for All? Actually, most Democrats, according to the latest Kaiser poll, would prefer to focus on passing improvements in ObamaCare. Only 38% preferred to focus on passing Medicare for All, while 51% thought it more important to improve and protect ObamaCare.

Improving ObamaCare or replacing it with market-driven reforms that protect treatment of pre-existing conditions while lowering healthcare costs makes much more sense than single-payer healthcare, socialized medicine or Medicare for All. By any name you choose, it represents a disastrous choice for our country!

What’s Wrong With Medicare For All – Part IV

 

In previous posts of this series, Part I addressed the false claims of supporters of Medicare for All that it would provide universal access to healthcare. In Part II I continued with more discussion on access to healthcare and the claim that this would eliminate approval of medical treatments. Part III addressed the impact on increased taxes and healthcare costs for patients and the government. 

In Part IV we will talk about the impact Medicare for All will have on the quality of healthcaredelivered in America if this government-controlled system is enacted.

Healthcare Outcomes

Everyone wants the best healthcare – and preferably at the lowest price. Unfortunately you can’t have it all in this world. You can have great healthcare if you’re willing to pay for it – or you can settle for poor healthcare if that’s all you can afford. Healthcare is no different in that respect than any other commodity.

However, when it comes to our health, no one wants second best. We feel “entitled” to the best. America is the envy of the world when it comes to providing the best medical treatments. Many of the world’s richest individuals come here for their healthcare – because they can afford it. But our concern should be for everyone.

I have a personal friend worth billions who lives in Canada. Knowing he is stuck with a single-payer healthcare system, I asked him where he gets his healthcare. His answer was the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic – both world-class healthcare institutions in the U.S. But just in case he has to go to his local hospital in Toronto, he makes generous donations to them periodically to be sure he can get prompt treatment. The rich can always get around the system.

The same will be true in America if Medicare for All is implemented. The rich will always be able to get quality healthcare. But what about the average American?

Here is the grim reality – socialized medicine will always produce lower quality healthcare outcomes. Here is an excerpt from my book, The ObamaCare Reality, taken from the chapter on Socialized Medicine:

The problem of poor access to healthcare is so well known in Britain that the press refers to the NHS as a “postcode lottery”. This refers to a person’s chances for timely, high-quality treatment depends on the neighborhood or “postcode” in which he or she lives. The Guardian sums up the situation with this statement, “Generally speaking, the poorer you are and the more socially deprived your area, the worse your care and access is likely to be.”

Some studies bear out this impression:

  • Nonelderly Britons living in areas with the worst-performing hospitals were 42 percent more likely to die on any given day than the average for Britain as a whole.
  • The nonelderly population living in regions with the best-performing hospitals were 24 percent less likely to die than the average for Britain as a whole.
  • Overall, the study found that if health care inequity were merely decreased to 1983 levels, some 7,500 premature deaths among people younger than sixty-five could be avoided each year.
  • One study found that if the proportion of cancer-related illnesses and deaths were the same in Britain’s lowest socioeconomic groups as in the most affluent, there would be 16,600 fewer deaths from cancer each year.
  • The British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that the premature death rate for working-class men is 58 percent higher than non-working class men; the BHF estimates that more than 5,000 working-class men under the age of sixty-five die of coronary heart disease each year in Britain because of variations in health care access for different socioeconomic groups.

 

This excerpt from the NHS in Great Britain is representative of every socialized medicine system. Quality is sacrificed to control costs by rationing of care.

Recently the NHS was again in the news as Britain is experiencing a flu epidemic. Sally Pipes, writing in Forbes, says the flu season has pushed the 70-year-old NHS to the brink of collapse. The chronic failures of Britain’s state-run system should disabuse Americans of the notion that more government control is the answer to our healthcare problems.

“Long waits are inherent in any healthcare system dominated by the state. When governments make care “free,” they remove any financial incentive for patients to moderate their consumption of care. To keep a lid on costs, governments restrict the supply of care – by limiting funding for the construction and maintenance of clinics, restricting access to cutting-edge treatment and technology, and skimping on staff.”

Here are some alarming statistics about the NHS today:

  • There is a current shortage of 100,000 doctors, nurses and staff
  • Last winter NHS cancelled 50,000 non-emergency surgeries to divert resources to flu patients
  • In the first week of 2019, 12,000 patients waited 30 minutes or more in ambulances before being admitted to the hospital emergency department.
  • Nearly 30,000 patients died last year waiting for treatment
  • Sickest Britons are seven times more likely to die than the sickest Americans (source – University College London and Columbia University)

 

There can be no doubt that Medicare for All will produce poorer healthcare outcomes than our current healthcare system. Such a system is not worth sacrificing our health even to save money – but this will cost so much more!

(In Part V I will talk about the popularity of such a system.)