Senator Elizabeth Warren kicked off the 2020 Democratic presidential primary late last month by announcing she’d created an exploratory committee, the first step in any serious presidential campaign.
This month, Sen. Kamala Harris followed suit and declared her candidacy. Other contenders — including Sen. Cory Booker, Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and former Vice President Joe Biden — may launch their own campaigns in the weeks to come.
One topic is certain to dominate their campaigns — government-run, single-payer health care. Support for Medicare for All is apparently now required to become a member in good standing in the Democratic Party.
Voters shouldn’t fall for progressives’ empty promises of “free” care for everyone. Single-payer has led to outrageous costs and abysmal care everywhere it’s been rolled out. The United States would be no exception.
Sens. Warren, Harris, and Booker have all supported single-payer health care since at least 2017, when they endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’s radical “Medicare for All” bill.
Democrats All In On Single-Payer
Of course, they weren’t the only mainstream Democrat to back the Sanders proposal. Twelve current Democratic senators, in addition to the trio of presidential candidates, co-sponsored the measure. More than 120 House Democrats have endorsed similar legislation.
It’s easy to see why these politicians are jumping aboard the single-payer bandwagon. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a majority of Americans — and an overwhelming share of Democrats — support Medicare for All.
But support collapses once people realizes how much Medicare for All will cost — about $32 trillion over its first decade, according to an analysis of the Sanders plan conducted by the Mercatus Center’s Charles Blahous. Even doubling the amount that the government collects in individual and corporate tax would still be insufficient to fund the program.
When told that Medicare for All would entail tax increases, voters’ opposition to it jumps from 43% to 66%.
Americans also tend not to realize how disruptive Medicare for All would be. Almost half believe they’d be able to keep their current health insurance under a national health plan.
Medicare For All
But Sanders’s Medicare for All Act, introduced in the last Congress and sure to be reintroduced in the new one that convened this month, would outlaw private coverage of anything the federal health plan covers. Those currently insured by Medicare or Medicaid would also be swept into the new one-size-fits-all government plan.
And that one-size-fits-all plan would inevitably provide atrocious care. Just look at the health care system in Canada, which bears the closest resemblance to what Sanders and company have in mind for the United States.
In 2018, the median wait for treatment from a specialist in Canada after referral from a general practitioner was 19.8 weeks, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank. In some provinces, waits are even longer. In New Brunswick, the median wait for specialist treatment following a general practitioner’s referral exceeds 45 weeks.
Or look at the United Kingdom’s government-run system, the National Health Service. The NHS is so mismanaged that flu season is now an annual “winter crisis.” Authorities canceled about 25,000 surgeries at the last minute between January and March of 2018 to free up hospital beds for flu patients.
That same winter, as many as 100,000 patients were forced to wait in the backs of ambulances for 30 minutes or more before they were let into an emergency room. Almost one-quarter of those patients waited at least an hour.
The situation hasn’t improved much since last winter. This past November, 54,000 British patients waited more than four hours for a hospital bed after being admitted.
NHS Providers, the trade group for hospitals, mental health facilities, and community and ambulance services in the NHS, reports that there are 100,000 job vacancies for health professionals nationwide.
Democrats are ignoring the bleak realities of single-payer health care and instead trumpeting the policy as a gift to American patients. Sen. Warren even says Medicare for All “can give every single person in the country access to high-quality health care.”
But Sen. Warren and her ideological fellow travelers are really offering an absurdly expensive government entitlement paid for with higher taxes that exacerbates our nation’s doctor shortage and yields longer waits for rationed care. Claiming otherwise amounts to a promise that’s impossible to keep.