If Medicare for All (MFA) is the answer, then what is the question? It is obviously about how Americans can become more dependent on an exploding and careless federal bureaucracy.
At the Democratic debate on Tuesday evening, Bernie Sanders pushed his tried if not true canard that MFA is the solution to America’s health care problems. In support of MFA, the Washington Post published a glowing story about this allegedly definitive research proving Sanders’ claims to be correct. Jeff Bezos’ left-wing paper cited a just-published article in the U.K. medical journal Lancet, by Galvani, Parpia, Foster, Singer and Fitzpatrick (three Ph.D.s and one MPH—all infectious disease specialists), “Improving the prognosis of health care in the USA.” The article’s claim is:
“Although health care expenditures per capita is higher in the USA than in any other country, more than 37 million Americans do not have health insurance, and 41 million more have inadequate access to health care. Efforts are ongoing to repeal the Affordable Care Act which would exacerbate health-care inequities. By contrast, a universal system, such as that proposed by Medicare for All, has the potential to transform the availability and efficiency of American health-care services.”
Case closed, right?
This epidemiological research unabashedly aims at resurrecting the need for and efficacy of the Obama’s failing ACA via Sanders’ MFA. It neglects to account for the fact that many U.S. citizens voluntarily dropped their ACA coverage because it was too expensive or gave them health care options they didn’t need nor want, like fertility services for older women. The US National Library of Medicine-- National Institutes of Health argues that:
“The ACA has widened the gap between providing patients the mechanism of paying for healthcare and actually receiving it. The ACA is applauded for increasing the number of insured, quite appropriately as that has occurred for over 20 million people. Less frequently mentioned are the 6 million who have lost their insurance. The effort to improve quality has led to the creation of dozens of new agencies, boards, commissions, and other government entities. In turn, practice management and regulatory compliance costs have increased. Structurally, solo and independent practices, which lack the capability to manage these new regulatory demands, have declined. The ACA has gained a net increase in the number of individuals with insurance, primarily through Medicaid expansion.”
Nowhere are such caveats brought up in this “compelling” research study. In addition, it never addresses the fact that many of the people who dropped out of the ACA did so because of its excessive costs, or the fact that it replaced involuntarily their existing employer-based health insurance.
The Sanders case for MFA is supported by a chart from the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis. Again, putting an analysis of the future of U.S. health care in the hands of experts in infectious diseases and neglect data from medical economists is decidedly problematic. Socialized medicine countries like the United Kingdom, where the Lancet is based, promotes its proclivity for their National Health System—the grand compromise between universal health care coverage and quality. It is the reason why wealthier Brits choose private doctors for their care. The one-size-fits-all MFA goes against popular free will inherent in health insurance choice in America.
Millions of Americans dropped out of ACA coverage because it prevented them from continuing an insurance plan they liked. Millions more were forced to pay far higher prices for coverage they would not voluntarily purchase; there remains a deep base of unhappiness with Obama’s law that will carry over to the MFA.
Several other reasons underscore why Sanders’ MFA is not a good fit in this country. First, Medicaid is a workable and appealing health care program for poorer communities and anyone short on money. As Victor Davis Hanson has revealed in his Mexifornia, by going to emergency room facilities where they aren’t required to pay for their care, illegal immigrants and poor legal migrants take ample advantage of Medicaid to meet their health care needs at virtually no cost to themselves. Second, as with any socialist program, MFA usurps the rights and preferences of the individual for what government thinks is best. Third, it expands exponentially the size of government and its reach into our private lives.
We overthrew British rule back in 1776 to be free of their tyranny and corruption. Why would we want to regain it? In the Pennsylvania Journal, Ben Franklin once admonished: “Don’t tread on me!”