By Todd Smith | The Caledonian Record
Over a hundred Democratic members of Congress, including Vermont’s Peter Welch, have joined in sponsoring a new “Medicare for all” bill even more sweeping that the one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The bill proposes to convert the entire U.S. health care industry into a government single-payer system in just two years. After that deadline, there would be no more commercial health insurance, except for what little is not included in the new regime. The Medicare you know would disappear as everyone would be swept into the new plan (except possibly VA-eligible veterans and Indians).
The plan would include long term care insurance and both vision and dental benefits. Undocumented immigrants would be eligible for free care.
The 107 sponsors neglected to explain what the bill will cost and how it might be paid for. The less extensive Sanders version was expected to cost $32 trillion over ten years. The House version will cost much more.
The sponsors say that the federal government will contain costs by enforcing a global budget, like Canada’s, which tells every hospital, nursing home, clinic, and medical practice how much they are entitled to spend … after which they get no more funds until the following year.
Are Americans ready for this industrial strength socialized medicine?
According to a recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, “56 percent of survey respondents said they favored a Medicare-for-all plan. However, support for the plan drops when Americans were faced with prospects of paying higher taxes to fund the system and the elimination of private health insurance companies (only 37-percent favorability for each scenario). When respondents were asked if they would still support the proposal if it threatened the current Medicare program, only 32-percent remained in favor.”
Even the very liberal Democratic leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has tiptoed away from an endorsement.
It is unfortunately just like Rep. Welch to sign on to an utterly unaffordable and unworkable left-wing pie-in-the-sky idea like this one. We hope when he comes back to Vermont he will explain this utopian plan to the people who will have to pay for it, and the people who won’t be treated when their provider comes to the end of its global budget.
Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record, where this editorial first appeared. He lives in St. Johnsbury.