By Deane Waldman, MD MBA - 07/12/19
Deceptively labeled Medicare-for-All, Democrats’ plan for single payer healthcare, is nothing less than poison–hemlock for healthcare. It will “federalize” our system, what is called nationalization in socialist countries. Medicare-for-All would exacerbate the three basic problems Americans face in healthcare: overspending, un-affordability, and inadequate access. Adding insult to injury, Medicare-for-All, H.R. 1384, is unconstitutional.
First, the evidence of poison, then the antidote.
Calling Sanders’ plan “Medicare-for-All,” is the height of dishonesty. Section 901(a)(1)(A)of H.R. 1384 abolishes the Medicare program and Section 701(d)takes all the money in the Medicare Trust Fund.
Washington has been fixing US healthcare for more than fifty years. Their “fixes” have brought us to the current brink of disaster. Medicare (1965) will be insolvent by 2026. Medicaid (1965) fails to deliver care needed by medically vulnerable Americans. EMTALA (Emergency Medical Transport and Labor Act of 1986) created the unfunded mandate that is forcing our rural hospitals to close. UMRA (Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995) failed to live up to its name–the unfunded mandate continues to plague us. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996) obstructs doctors’ ability to communicate. And the disingenuously titled “Affordable” Care Act (2010) doubled the cost of insurance while reducing access to care.
Americans mistrust federal politicians. Congressional approval ratings have been 20 percent or lower for years. In 2014, Congressional approval achieved an unenviable record, an all-time low of nine percent. Would you choose a store where 91 percent of the employees ignored you? Americans are well aware of Washington’s broken promises and repeated failures. It is unlikely that the public would have faith that suddenly Washington has a plan that will work.
Fiscal reality dooms Medicare-for-All. Two reliable price tags are $32.6 trillion and $40 trillion. By comparison, Obamacare was cheap at only$1.76 trillion. To put these numbers in perspective, $40 trillion is just under half of the combined GDP of all nations on earth.
Professor Blahous ($32.6 trillion calculation) estimated that paying for Medicare-for-All would double the federal tax burden of every American. This is fiscal insanity, especially as close to half of all U.S. healthcare spending goes to the bureaucracy and thus produces no care!
Medicare–for-All runs afoul of American founding principles as well as the U.S. Constitution.
Our country was established by rejecting government tyranny and its government-dictated entitlements. The founding fathers replaced them with freedom and personal responsibility. Medicare-for-All creates universal entitlement (Sect. 102 of H.R. 1384), limits Americans’ freedom of choice to what Washington allows (Sect. 103), rejects personal responsibility (Sect. 202) as well as any profit motive (Sect. 614), and imposes central economic planning (Sect. 611-614) with both price and wage controls. If this sounds like a reprise of the U.S.S.R., it is.
The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows. “The powers not delegated to the United States [federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Healthcare was not delegated to the federal government. With five doctors as signatories to the Declaration of Independence and many more physicians as members of the Constitutional Convention, the founding fathers did not simply forget about healthcare. Washington was never supposed to have authority over healthcare.
US healthcare is failing the American people. Democrats’ Medicare-for-All is poison that will accelerate healthcare’s demise. Republicans have no viable alternative proposal, and for good reason. Both parties want to retain and extend their control of healthcare. Yet, it is federal control that is causing healthcare failure. Rather than another Washington-generated, Washington-centric fix-that-fails, what we need is de-federalization. The cure for sick healthcare is to remove Washington. Return authority to where it belongs–with We the People in their states. This is called StatesCare
Rhetorical questions: Who knows better how to provide care for state residents: the residents of that state or denizens of the Washington swamp? Why should the same federal healthcare mandates work in Rhode Island as in Montana, each with one million residents? Do we really want to waste more than $1 trillion a year on federal bureaucracy? This is healthcare spending that produces no care?
If 28 million Texans want market-based medicine; and 6 million residents of Washington state want their version of universal healthcare; and 39 million Californians want single payer, by what authority does the District of Columbia deny 73 million Americans the right of self-determination?
Why Read This Article:
Medicare-for-All would be lethal poison for US healthcare. The antidote is de-federalization, also known as States Care, where the American people in their states decide their healthcare
By Deane Waldman, MD, MBA, author of "Curing the Cancer in U.S. Healthcare"
Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Pathology and Decision Science, and holds the “Consumer Advocate” position on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, and Adjunct Scholar (Healthcare) for the Rio Grande Foundation.
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