A new study Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center estimates “Medicare for All” would cost $32.6 trillion in federal spending in its first decade, with costs increasing year after year.
The study parallels similar analysis last year by the liberal Urban Institute that also said “Medicare for All” would cost $32 trillion for the first decade.
“Medicare for All” is a health scheme of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who may run again in 2020.
Last year 16 Democrat senators, including three presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Corey Booker of New Jersey co-sponsored Mr. Sander’s “Medicare for All” bill. In the House, 117 Democrats, a Democratic Caucus majority, signed on.
“Support for the bill is now something of a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls,” says Investor’s Business Daily.
Saying his incredibly radical and impractical plan might be implemented in four years, Mr. Sanders said he would propose separate legislation to pay for it. If implemented, it would force government to take complete control of health, which would become single payer, require a huge tax increase and end the private medical insurance industry.
Writing about this last year, we said California and New York dabbled with single payer health insurance until they discovered abolishing private health insurance and enrolling their residents in such a system would cost $400 billion and $226 billion, respectively, more than double both states’ budgets.
In 2014, Mr. Sanders’ home state of Vermont dropped plans for a statewide single payer system because it would have required a new payroll tax of 11½%. And in 2016, Colorado voters rejected single payer that would have required a 10% payroll tax.
We quoted David Mordo, legislative council chairman of the National Association of Health Underwriters, in July 2017 saying supporters of single payer health insurance claim it would eliminate wasteful spending and improve the quality of care. However, the reality is single payer systems ration healthcare, slow the development of life saving drugs and medical devices and restrict economic growth.
At The New York Times, health policy guru Margot Sanger-Katz said: “Nearly any single payer plan would require substantial disruptions in the current health care system, upending the insurance arrangement of the 156 million Americans who get their coverage from work, changing the way doctors, hospitals and drug companies are paid, and shifting more health care spending onto the government ledger.”
Last year, an IBD editorial said, “There is no industrialized country in the world that has a government-run health care system as vast on the one Sanders proposes.”
While plenty of other countries “guarantee” health care to citizens and pay most of the costs with tax dollars, it said “none promises first dollar coverage for all health without limits. Even Sanders’ beloved Canadian single payer system doesn’t cover prescription drugs, home care or long term care, vision or dental.”
Every one of the countries Mr. Sanders points to as models for the U.S., said IBD, relies on out-of-pocket spending to cover a significant portion of their health costs, ranging from 27.7% in Switzerland, 15% in the United Kingdom and Canada, 13.7% in Denmark to 12.2% in the Netherlands.
Noting Mr. Sanders’ plan would eliminate prices entirely from health care, IBD said last month that “the only way to control health spending would be to slap stiff price controls on doctors, hospitals and drugs, or ration care.”
Which would cause “chronic shortages of doctors nationwide. Hospital overcrowding would be epidemic. Waits for everything from hip replacements to cataract surgery to cancer treatments would be extensive. Drug innovation would come to a virtual standstill. And there would be endless fights over the size of the government’s health budget, along with massive amounts of waste, fraud and abuse.
“Because this is precisely what’s happened in countries that have already gone down the ‘Medicare for All’ road.”
Single payer systems don’t just cap spending on drugs. They also insist on artificially low reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors, and in many cases this doesn’t cover the cost of providing certain treatments and procedures. Were single payer implemented in the U.S., it would drive healthcare providers into bankruptcy and cost jobs.
Because single payer systems control costs by limiting access to healthcare, forcing patients to wait indefinitely for lifesaving medicines and, in many cases, treatment. Health care abroad doesn’t come close to U.S. health care.
But the biggest problem says IBD is socialized medicine and the underlying assumption “government central planners can manage trillions of dollars’ worth of resources better than hundreds of millions of people making trillions of decisions every day in the free market.”
Central planning doesn’t work, says IBD. It failed miserably where tried: in the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba and now Venezuela.
It adds Mr. Sander’s plan is “a dangerous delusion and Republicans, independents and any remaining sensible Democrats should fight against it with every ounce of energy.”