Democratic hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has finally put a price tag on her version of ‘Medicare for All’. At the beginning of the month, we learned that Warren’s government-run healthcare system carries the titanic price tag of $52 trillion. And titanic might be an apt metaphor to describe this sinking fiscal ship—Saturday Night Live got it right when they mocked the Warren plan, quipping, “When the numbers are this big, they’re just pretend!”
“When the numbers are this big, they’re just pretend!”
It was Senator Bernie Sanders who ushered in the Democrats’ fascination with socialized medicine. “I wrote the damn bill,” he emphatically told his colleagues at a Democratic presidential debate. As a socialist who insists his policy platform should not be confused with all that chaos in Venezuela, Sanders’ enthusiasm for medicare knows no bounds. He has promoted the concept with as much vitality as any 78-year-old millionaire socialist can muster.
But at least he has been honest about what we can expect from his version of universal healthcare—it will demand an increase in taxes from everyone and that, “absolutely,” it will be available to illegal immigrants. Warren, meanwhile, offers a typically mendacious solution that is meant to signal fiscal responsibility: make it free and have someone else pay for it.
What Medicare for All will really mean, however, is substandard healthcare for all and security for none.
CANADA FAILS AS PROOF OF CONCEPT FOR SOCIALIZED MEDICINE
Many advocates of socialized medicine point to Canada and Europe as proof that you can have both guns and butter in a mixed economy. In doing so, they ignore the key difference between these countries and the position the United States holds in the world. As the only real and democratic global superpower in the world today, the U.S. must maintain a credible and effective defense force, not to mention the best-equipped—thoroughly financed—armed forces in the world.
Unable to tackle the increasing expenditures for its nationalized Medicare program, Canadians have been left with a substandard medical system
So while in principle, the government has about as much business running health care as it does selling shoes, and in practice, the alarming cost of Medicare for All will inevitably deplete funding for one few sectors where the government does belong: national defense.
Socialist Bernie Sanders relishes in pointing to Canada as a shining example of how a democratic nation can adequately finance universal medicare. Sanders continually refers to how “innovative” the Canadian health care system is. But while the U.S. spends 3.5% of its GDP on defense, Canada spends less than 1%. In fact, Canadian social spending for much of the last half-century has been at the expense of its military. Through the latter part of the Cold War, it shamelessly lived under the nuclear umbrella of the United States. Meanwhile, its leaders—like the current prime minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau—had the nerve to whine about living in the shadow of the United States.
After all that, unable to tackle the increasing expenditures for its nationalized Medicare program, Canadians have been left with a substandard medical system that often forces its beleaguered recipients to leave the country for effective, timely treatment. Moreover, the average Canadian household pays more than $12,000 in taxes for the privilege of enjoying this wholly inferior health care system that is replete with long wait times for the most elementary of medical procedures.
So if we want Medicare for All, we should not deceive ourselves that we can retain the integrity of America’s world-class medical service and maintain capable armed forces that the whole world—including Canada—relies on.
INCENTIVIZING A SYSTEM WHERE THE BUCK NEVER STOPS
Warren is over-exerting herself, insisting that “costs” for health care will go down for the middle class. But notice how she refuses to say “taxes?” She steadfastly refuses to talk about that subject as it pertains to the middle class. She ultimately believes that the rich will pick up the tab for all of America’s lifestyle decisions. She insists as much when pressed on taking payroll taxes for granted.
Warren’s assurances are emblematic of the hypothetical fiscal gymnastics that characterizes virtually all left-wing policymakers.
It is remarkable to watch Warren describe how she intends to deliver her nationalized medicare at no added cost to Americans. And although she talks about placing levees on financial transactions, and promises that payroll taxes on employers will deliver the necessary funding, Warren’s assurances are emblematic of the hypothetical fiscal gymnastics that characterizes virtually all left-wing policymakers. Employers are expected to happily comply with Warren’s expectations and pay for her health care scheme, and there is no guarantee that they will do so without passing on the additional cost to their employees, whether in the form of lower wages or fewer benefits. Something ultimately has to give.
She’s also admitted to another cost to her pipe-dream of a policy: at least two million lost jobs will be lost as a result of private health insurance being phased out. But hey, the Trump presidency created six million new jobs, so what’s the big deal? And besides, as Warren argues, those folks can always get another job with the insurance industry, right?
Ultimately, the Warren and the Democrats are circling the drain on the same issues: how to finance their utopian worldview without compromising on the health, security, and financial independence that Americans so dearly cherish.
LEARNING FROM HISTORY THAT SOCIALISM FAILS
Polls have indicated that Americans don’t mind a universal health care scheme so much as they mind paying more taxes for it. That’s rather like hoping to finish a marathon by only running a hundred-yard dash.
As socialist experiments have proven time and time again, the government does not promulgate plenty; it creates shortfalls.
Expecting the government to deliver an essential service—unless its services they’re well equipped and structurally obligated to provide (policing, military, or the courts)—is almost always a pipe dream. Do not assume that the government and overpaid bureaucrats can do the job of providing healthcare better than the private sector. As socialist experiments have proven time and time again, the government does not promulgate plenty; it creates shortfalls.
Collective farms in Soviet Russia brought famine and death to millions, while socialism in Venezuela has brought empty store shelves and starvation. And so Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ will bring America a dearth of doctors, a shortage of bed space, long wait times for the simple to the live-saving operations, and ever-escalating expenses that will be routinely passed on to the overtaxed users of this system.
That same system that will tell its taxpayers it’s free—with no military to ensure that freedom.