The Democrats are finally making their play: they’re moving toward single-payer healthcare.
On Monday, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) announced that he would support Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-Loonbagia) single-payer healthcare bill that would supposedly guarantee “Medicare-for-all.” He explained, “This is something that’s got to happen. ObamaCare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won’t rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care… you should not be punished because you are working-class or poor and be denied health care. I think health care should be a right to all.” This is Booker’s latest attempt at moving to the hard left in order to prep for a presidential run. He now joins California Senator Kamala Harris among the would-be 2020 candidates who have embraced Sanders’ plan.
This was no shock. First off, Sanders demonstrated that you simply cannot run too far to the left in a Democratic primary – no such category exists. Run too far toward the center, and a self-proclaimed socialist like Sanders will outflank you. Second, this shows that Democrats were lying all along when they stated that Obamacare was not the first step toward nationalized health care.
And even Medicare-for-all isn’t the last step. That’s because there are several problems inherent in the scheme. It’s dramatically expensive – so expensive that even California hasn’t attempted a state version. On the federal level, Medicare-for-all would cost a whopping $13.8 trillion just for the first decade. Medicare is already $58 trillion underfunded. According to the Tax Foundation, “Sanders’s plan would have reduced the U.S. GDP by 9.5% and after-tax income for all Americans by an average of 12.8% in the long run.” Beyond that, Medicare does not clearly increase quality of care. That’s because the reimbursement rates are so low that many doctors won’t take new patients at all. Unless you’re going to dramatically escalate taxes or ration care, Medicare-for-All isn’t a solution.
The only way a Medicare-for-All scam would work is if it became a universal program of last resort, and then citizens were expected to buy supplemental private health care on their own. That’s how much of Europe handles this problem. But that’s politically unpalatable too, because then citizens cover a larger share of their own insurance costs. It’s not universal healthcare – it’s universal basic care, and you’re screwed if you need anything more unless you buy it.
The Democrats could embrace an expansion of Medicare Advantage, a program by which the government allows you to buy subsidized private health insurance. Instead, they’ve sought to cut it, claiming that it creates inequality in the marketplace, because private companies bid under Medicare Advantage, whereas the public option is pegged to a particular pricing formula.
Democrats aren’t even interested in constructing the best possible system. They’re interested in a race to the bottom. But at least they can pander for votes. And that’s all that matters, right?