Health care dominated the two Democratic presidential debates last week. Among the most dramatic moments was when moderator Lester Holt asked the candidates to raise their hands if they supported outlawing private insurance and forcing everyone onto a new government-run, “Medicare-for-all” plan.
During each debate, only two candidates — Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Bill de Blasio on night one, and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris on night two — said they would. Hours later, Harris claimed she didn’t understand the question and walked back her support.
Wednesday in Congress, the Democrat Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing titled “Pathways to Universal Healthcare Coverage.” Democrats on the Committee will no doubt fill the committee room with lofty promises but don’t be deceived: in reality, Democrat slogans like “Medicare-for-all” come with a bitter pill to swallow: socialized medicine in America.
Enacting punitive patient access restrictions, economy-crushing taxes, and massive deficit spending has never improved patients ability to get a timely diagnosis and effective treatments in moments of need.
President Trump is expected to issue an executive order soon that could require insurers and hospitals to disclose the prices they’ve negotiated for various services. He hopes such transparency will increase competition and drive down health spending.
The health care industry is less supportive. The nation’s top health insurance lobby, for instance, claims the president’s plan is “bad transparency” that could actually cause prices to go up.
There’s a reason any mention of cost is notably absent from the recent CBO report on single-payer health care proposals. That’s because Democrats specifically asked for a report without cost estimates. They’re aware that the American public is unlikely to get behind their plan to outlaw private health insurance and launch a government takeover of the U.S. health care system. According to Emory University health economist Kenneth Thorpe, more than 70% of working Americans who have private insurance would wind up paying more for health care under a version of “Medicare-for-all” very similar to the one Sanders has introduced in the Senate.
Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., released a “2.0” version of his “Medicare-for-all” plan. The self-proclaimed socialist has long promoted the idea of universal health care, and in his latest version, he has found a way to expand his proposal even more to the left.
With each of the declared Democratic presidential candidates coming out in support of some expanded version of Medicare, one should ask, how much of Medicare is really in these plans? In researching the Sanders plan, one might find that there’s very little Medicare at all – as a matter of fact, as it relates to Medicare, it’s about marketing more than mechanics.
|The Trump administration has been pushing for lower drug prices, and some drug manufacturers have responded by lowering prices and providing greater access to life-saving treatments. However, there is a growing concern among health care providers that the middlemen who negotiate drug prices on behalf of insurers—known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—are actively working to keep prices high for consumers, presumably in an effort to increase their own profits. I run a free cardiovascular risk reduction service at a local clinic where we see many patients either suffering from, or at high risk for, heart disease. In collaboration with providers, I work to apply evidence-based medicine in the clinical setting and ensure any new treatment is financially sustainable for a patient—a task that can be made difficult by profit-driven insurance companies denying medication access and PBMs that keep treatment costs high.|
The American people – and just about all our elected officials – frequently and justifiably complain about the high cost of health care. But unless Congress acts, a tax increase on medical devices will take effect Jan. 1 and needlessly raise those costs even higher.
The 2.3 percent tax on medical devices was signed into law by President Obama and took effect in 2013. Fortunately, Congress passed legislation in 2015 and again in 2017 to temporarily suspend the tax. However, without further congressional action the tax will kick back in at the beginning of 2020.
“Medicare-for-all’s” advocates promise a health care system that’s free at the point of service – no co-pays, no deductibles, no coinsurance.
They tend to be less upfront about how they’d pay for it. Independent estimates from both the right and the left peg “Medicare-for-all’s” cost at about $32 trillion over 10 years. Doubling what the federal government takes in individual and corporate income tax revenue wouldn’t be enough to cover that tab.
That’s assuming “Medicare-for-all” is able to implement its financing strategy. The bill proposes reimbursing doctors and hospitals at Medicare’s current rates, which are 40 percent below what private insurance pays.
Last week, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled that ObamaCare – in its entirety – is unconstitutional.
ObamaCare’s defenders plan to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. The legal fight could drag on for years.
If the ruling is upheld, it’ll be a huge victory for the millions of Americans struggling with higher health care costs thanks to ObamaCare’s onerous regulations. It’s time for Congress to acknowledge ObamaCare’s failures and devolve authority for health policy to the states.
Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday suggested that adopting universal Medicare would actually boost the economy and put more money in Americans’ pockets, despite studies putting the cost of such a venture at tens of trillions of dollars.
Her comments came days after far-left progressives suffered a series of losses in major races in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo soundly defeated upstart “resistance” candidate Cynthia Nixon. Despite having Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement, Nixon lost in Ocasio-Cortez’s district by thirty percentage points.