On Wednesday, President Trump authored an op-ed slamming “Medicare for all.”
According to him, if Democrats succeed in implementing their single-payer proposal, “costs will spiral out of control. Taxes will skyrocket. And Democrats will seek to slash budgets for seniors’ Medicare, Social Security and Defense.”
He’s absolutely right. Voters would do well to heed his warning.
Lately championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the ill-conceived socialist dream of “Medicare for all” is gaining steam. Sixteen Democratic senators have co-sponsored the legislation. And a whopping 123 House Democrats, representing more than 60 percent of the minority party, support a related bill. Moreover, many candidates running for office have embraced the idea.
A government takeover of the health system would be a fiscal nightmare. “Medicare for all” would cost the federal government an additional $32.6 trillion in spending over its first 10 years, according to a recent analysis by Charles Blahous at the Mercatus Center. Even if the government doubled the amount of federal income and corporate tax it takes in every year, it still wouldn’t be able to foot the bill.
The true cost would likely be much higher. Sanders’ plan assumes billions of dollars in savings by reducing administrative costs and negotiating better deals for prescriptions. And it presupposes that reimbursement rates for doctors would be substantially reduced to current Medicare rates, which are about 40 percent lower than what private insurers pay.
Providers are already struggling with paltry reimbursements from government programs. Next year, more than eight in 10 hospitals will lose money while treating Medicare patients. Hundreds of doctor’s practices, clinics, and hospitals would go out of business if these cuts were enacted.
It’s ridiculous to think that health professionals would simply accept these cuts without a fight.
“Medicare for all” would result in massive tax hikes and a wave of hospital and clinic closings. And with the increased burden on taxpayers will come lengthy waits times, rationed care, and doctor shortages. As President Trump is arguing, voters simply can’t afford to take the plunge.