Having stacked the deck in favor of Medicare for All, a new report comes up with a price tag: By 2031, the federal government would be spending an additional $4.2 trillion a year. For reference, the amount is slightly more than the total the U.S. government expects to spend this year.
The U.K.’s government-run healthcare system, the National Health Service, turns 70 this month. There’s not much to celebrate. The NHS is collapsing. Patients routinely face treatment delays, overcrowded hospitals, and doctor shortages. Even its most ardent defenders admit that the NHS is in crisis.
States are testing the waters with Medicare-for-all type plans while waiting for federal solutions. The cost of single-payer plans could be the biggest hurdle.”Medicare for all” is becoming a rallying cry in state elections, with state legislators coming up with their own versions of single-payer healthcare despite, or possibly because of, the stagnation of similar ideas at the federal level.
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Candidates who advocate single-payer on the campaign trail are increasingly balking once they actually get their hands on the levers of power. That’s because single-payer is cost-prohibitive. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool leftists admit as much, after they take office and have to figure out how to pay for their campaign promises. Single-payer’s champions generally paint a lovely picture of health care utopia. Patients go to see the doctor of their choice whenever they like, get treatment, and leave the clinic without paying a cent. No copays, no deductibles, no cost-sharing, and no referrals—health care is “free” at the point of service. In reality, health care doesn’t magically become free; people just pay for it outside the doctor’s office, in the form of higher taxes.
House Democrats are launching an official Medicare for All Caucus in an effort to promote a single-payer health care bill. The caucus, which was officially announced on Thursday, comes as an increasingly larger number of Democrats warm to the idea. The idea, championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), is now favored by many potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. The caucus will launch with about 60 members and will be led by Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA), Debbie Dingell (MI) and Keith Ellison (MN), with more expected to sign on in the coming weeks.
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More than half of American adults want to transition to a single-payer healthcare system, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted earlier this year. Most of these people have no idea how challenging such a switch would be — or the trade-offs it would entail.
Even the pied piper of single-payer, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., recently admitted “there will be pain” in the process of implementing his proposed “Medicare for all” plan.
Just consider the economic devastation single-payer would sow. In 2016, the health insurance industry employed more than 460,000 folks. A government-run insurer might hire some of these workers, but tens, if not hundreds of thousands of them would surely lose their jobs.
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Obamacare, which Republicans spent months trying but failing to overturn, will play a starring role again in Congress this summer, this time helping determine the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats said Tuesday they plan to make the confirmation of Kavanaugh a fight over the future of Obamacare, which is under a lower court challenge that is winding its way toward possible consideration by the Supreme Court.
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