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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Medicare for All Means Private Insurance for None

File under: healthcare in the 2020 debates

Hunt Lawrence and Daniel J. Flynn at The Spectator have a good analysis of the "Medicare For All" proposals supported by, so far, five of the Democrats who have announced they’re running:

Democratic candidates call healthcare a right in mantra-like fashion. Gillibrand, for instance, insisted “health care must be a right, not a privilege” at the rally last week reintroducing the Medicare for All bill. But in what kind of a country do you get to exercise a right only through the government?

Imagine if in affirming a right to free speech one added the caveat that one could communicate only through government-run publications, websites, and broadcast stations. Or, if the freedom of religion found expression only through the one true church established by the state. Or, if the right to transportation meant solely a ride on a smelly, sweaty city bus.

This makes a farce of any sane understanding of rights, as does the notion of a “right” to healthcare exercised through insuring that nobody possesses the right to obtain healthcare save from the state.

This all seems the stuff of Five Year Plans and Great Leaps Forward. Yet, five major presidential candidates — Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand — serve as sponsors in the Senate of the Medicare for All bill. The proposed legislation makes it “unlawful” for “a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act” and for “an employer to provide benefits for an employee, former employee, or the dependents of an employee or former employee that duplicate the benefits provided under this Act.”
. . .
As government’s role in healthcare expanded through such programs designed to relieve patients of financial burdens as Medicare Part D’s prescription drug subsidies and Obamacare, a funny thing happened: Prices skyrocketed. Rather than admitting that past panaceas did not do as promised, their backers insist that we do what failed only at increased levels.
. . .
Banning private insurance may prove a winning formula in a Democratic primary. But in a presidential contest, where pragmatism beats ideological purity, promising to take away the existing health insurance of most Americans seems as much a loser politically as it does as policy.

Government-run healthcare means no competition. Higher prices. Rationing. We have all seen what government-run healthcare looks like – and not just Obamacare. There’s the Veteran’s Administration hospitals (a 2017 report is here) and Indian reservations’ healthcare (a 2018 report is here). Full report at The Spectators is here.

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