(This post was originally posted 3/18/19.)
(Author’s note: As we enter the last few weeks of the presidential campaign, there are several campaign issues which have been previously addressed in this blog. These include Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare, socialism, school choice and others. In the next few weeks I will be re-posting many of my previous posts on these issues as a review for voters. For this limited time I will be posting six days a week instead of the usual twice a week. These earlier posts will be intermingled with new posts on current topics.)
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 healthcaredelivered 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 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
- Governmentrestrictions on costly new treatments and technology
- Huge tax increasesthat will lower take-home pay for everyone
- Higher healthcare costsfor most patients and the government
- Lower quality healthcare and long waiting timesdue 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!