'Medicare for all' would not be Medicare

In a brilliant column, Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman explains why the far-left’s fantasy of “Medicare for All” is in fact a cruel nightmare.

Bernie Sanders’ “Medical for All” proposal, which Elizabeth Warren co-sponsored and Joe Biden has endorsed, Chapman writes, “…is to Medicare what a tiger is to a house cat. They have obvious similarities, but it would be dangerous to confuse the two.”

To begin with, their plan is extravagantly generous. In his vision, Sanders boasted in the debate: “Premiums are gone. Copayments are gone. Deductibles are gone. All out-of-pocket expenses are gone.” Medicare, by contrast, has those features, which serve to restrain not only federal spending on health care but all spending on health care. Medicare for All would also cover things that Medicare doesn’t — vision care, dental care, hearing aids and long-term care….

The second consequence would be to stimulate consumption of medical care. If the cost of seeing a doctor, getting an X-ray or trying some mildly promising therapy is zero, the demand for such services will jump. That would lead to yet another effect: longer wait times for appointments — because the immediate supply of doctors and dentists would remain the same.

How well I know this. Just yesterday I was shopping for supplemental Medicare insurance that would cover some (non-preventative) dental work that needs to be done. Ha.

Chapman is required reading for anyone who thinks that simply expanding Medicare has a ghost of a chance of providing health care for all.



My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • Speculation is fun, but Social Security was a bold idea at its inception. And like Medicare-for-all skeptics at the present moment, there were skeptics a-plenty when the original Medicare was proposed. Especially those who thought it was far too left, or too expensive, or too generous, or too whatever.

    BTW, wouldn't the money spent on endless military adventures and saved by proportionate taxation on the uber-wealthy be more than enough to pay for the health of all Americans? Or is that too much to ask?

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