The socialist threat best known as Sen. Bernie Sanders wants a single-payer health care system, and here is what that means: adding monstrously to our unbelievable entitlement debt, endangering the economy, doing away with our freedom to choose our own health care plan and helping to make our future a flop.
It is all very simple, you see, because you get rid of health insurance companies and let the government take over and then do what it does best: Spend money to the point of crisis. You will get everything free — no co-pays, no premiums, no deductibles — except that you won’t. There is this thing called taxes, remember?
The Urban Institute, taking a look at an earlier Sanders adventure into this mindless utopianism, figured the cost would be about $3 trillion a year because, well, everything would be covered for everyone. So that comes to more than $30 trillion over a decade, and the taxes Sanders had in mind? They would come to $15 trillion, the institute concluded.
Sanders, during his campaign, was figuring on taxing just about all income at least 2.2 percent to pay the bills that would be lowered whether the hospitals, clinics, drug companies and doctors liked it or not. Employers? Hand over 6.4 percent, please. And Sanders’ hated rich? Get ready to wander around homeless, ladies and gentlemen, at least if the plan doesn’t get as much as needed, and it wouldn’t have.
Whatever tax ideas he settles on this time around, they won’t be enough unless income is more or less forbidden, and the next solution, of course, will be rationing. Even though Sanders is calling his plan Medicare for all, you can figure the elderly who get most of it now will get less of it under this scheme. Some people, after all, are going to have to get less care, and the elderly have lived a long time and tend to be those chosen for sacrifice in such schemes.
It might be noted, too, that less money to hospitals, doctors and drug companies will also mean fewer hospitals, doctors and life-saving drugs, which the dreaded Big Pharma produces more than anyone else in the world. The squeeze will be on, and you just may have to wait in line until death renders patience.
Keep in mind, by the way, that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are already adding enormously to our national debt, despite references to technical issues that obscure the fact. By 2026, our entitlements, joined with the interest on the debt, will consume every cent of federal tax revenues if left unadjusted, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Still, supposed freebies win elections, politicians tend to be opportunists and 16 confused Democrats are already holding the socialist’s hands on a disaster that would make Obamacare look like a success.
Obviously, it has been no such thing. The Democrats made it impossible for insurance companies to make an adequate profit in the program, deductibles and premiums went way, way up, companies dropped out, and the call was for subsidies on top of subsidies on top of subsidies.
The Republicans also have a lot to answer for. They were negligent over the years in not coming to terms on workable solutions, although they finally considered a Senate measure that would then have gone to a conference with the House with all kinds of right answers conceivably emerging. A vote by Sen. John McCain inexcusably ruled out that possibility.
Some alert GOP senators and House leaders, however, are at it again, with the chance of coming up with something solid. That could be crucial in preventing Sanders-style thinking that could give us both health and economic tragedies through the belief that nothing good ever happens without ever bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government that actually does the opposite of what it promises.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.