Medicare for All: No One Wins
“Medicare for All” is not a new idea; however, it’s gaining momentum amongst many Democrats— even amongst many who have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2020 presidential election. Unfortunately, their voter base won’t fully understand what they’re giving up if they get “Medicare for All.”
Once the government is paying for the entire nation’s health care, watch your tax bill soar. A single middle-class guy currently paying a 24 percent marginal tax rate will get clobbered with a life-changing 60 percent rate instead. Say goodbye to your standard of living.
Worse, say farewell to the standard of medical care you’ve come to expect. “Medicare for All” will pay doctors and hospitals at reduced rates, forcing them to operate under conditions of austerity. Hospitals will have to jam more beds in a room and spread nursing care thinner.
On paper, “Medicare for All” guarantees hospital care, doctors’ visits, even dental, vision and long-term care, all paid for by Uncle Sam (Sec. 201). The hitch is that hospitals will have too little revenue and more patients than ever.
Here’s why: Currently, Medicare shortchanges hospitals, paying them less than the full cost of caring for seniors, as the American Hospital Association reports. Hospitals accept the low payments because they can shift the unmet costs onto their younger, privately insured patients.
Under “Medicare for All,” no cost-shifting is possible. Private insurance is outlawed (Secs. 107 and 801) and everyone is in the government system. Hospitals get shortchanged on all of their patients. The rates will be 40 percent less than what they could get from private plans, calculates economist and former Social Security trustee Charles Blahous.
Under Medicare-for-all, doctors will be paid 30 percent less than private insurance would pay them, according to Blahous. To keep their doors open, they’ll have to see more patients per hour. Since seniors have more complex medical problems and require more time, doctors will avoid them like the plague.
According to Congressional Budget Office data, raising $32 trillion in tax revenue would require adding 36 percentage points to the marginal tax rate of every federal income taxpayer in the United States. Not just the rich — everyone. The single woman earning $82,500 and the couple earning $165,000 would see their rates soar from 24 percent to 60 percent. Ouch.
What these Democrats do not tell you is that with “Medicare for All,” no one benefits. Eliminating private insurance and going to a one-size-fits-all system heavily funded by the taxpayers would lead to higher taxes, low-quality health care, and higher wait times to see a doctor. Taking the control of healthcare out of the hands of big government and establishing a free market system would ensure quality health care and coverage that wouldn’t become a burden for taxpayers.