The question is not whether a rapidly expanding caucus of Congressional Democrats want to impose a fully government-run healthcare scheme upon the entire country -- ripping an estimated 150 million people away from their existing plans and arrangements, in favor of a government monopoly. We already know that to be the case, with single payer becoming a litmus test for candidates who wish to advance within the national party. The question is whether these people would actually vote in favor of their own proposal if it were brought up for a vote by House Republicans. Just yesterday, the vast majority of lower chamber Democrats voted "present" on a resolution voicing support for ICE, a key immigration enforcement agency; less than ten percent of Democrats voting supported the measure, with nearly twice as many voting against it:
133 Democrats refuse to vote “yes” or “no” on a motion supporting ICE, for fear of alianting their base. Instead, they voted “present.” 34 progressives vote no (they want to abolish ICE) and 18 more pragmatic minded Ds voted “yes.”— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) July 18, 2018
This came after the GOP scrapped plans to force Democrats to weigh in on their own members' legislation to abolish ICE, as the authors of the bill vowed to oppose their brainchild. Similarly, a year ago, Senate Democrats decided to vote en masse against a single payer healthcare bill several of them publicly favored, preferring not to give Republicans a talking point. It seems as though Congressional leftists -- whose numbers may well swell after November -- have adopted a strategy of telling their base what they intend to do while refusing to go to the mat for their controversial or radical ideas...until, that is, they're in charge. But if and when they regain power, the single payer train will start revving up:
NEW: Over 60 House Democrats are forming a Medicare for All Caucus https://t.co/caywHf7HDJ— Colin Jones (@colinjones) July 18, 2018
After years on the fringe, Medicare for All is becoming a central plank of the Democratic Party. Dozens of Congressional Democrats are set to announce the formation of an official Medicare For All Caucus on Thursday, according to a source familiar with the plan. The caucus is expected to have over 60 founding members, or approximately one-third of all the 193 House Democrats with more expected to sign on in the coming weeks. More could join following the 2018 midterms with many Democratic challengers embracing Medicare for All.
Since we're going to end up having this argument at some point, I'm never going to stop making the following points about "Medicare for All:"
(1) In order for that policy to become a reality, leftists will need to figure out how to come close to paying for it. Some Democrats pretended to be deficit hawks over the 2017 tax cuts -- which, on paper, 'cost' about $2 trillion (yes, deficits are again ballooning, and both parties are to blame for this irresponsible outcome, which is not the fault of tax reform). Single payer healthcare would cost taxpayers an estimated $32 trillion, or roughly eight times what the federal government spent in total last year, and approaching double the size of the entire US economy. None other than the hard-left chairman of the Democratic National Committee has confirmed that making this math work would require gigantic tax increases on working and middle class Americans. A former hard-left DNC Chair has admitted the same thing:
"The only problem is -- and this is initially going to seem like heresy from a progressive is -- the truth is everybody needs to pay more taxes, not just the rich."
Considering the lengths to which Democrats went in order to falsely claim that tax reform was a tax increase on the middle class (it was the opposite), I'm not sure how they intend to convince tens of millions of Americans to pony up huge new sums of money to Uncle Sam to fund an unaccountable, abuse-riddled, innovation-crushing, bureaucrat-administered system. The feds can't even pull this off for veterans, a sliver of the population whose care we all agree should be stellar. Liberals want to take the VA mess and inflict it upon more than 300 million people.
(2) Those pushing "Medicare for All" hope that you won't realize that Medicare as it exists today is going broke and will be insolvent within a matter of years. It's reasonable to look at Medicare's finances and decide that the program must be reformed in order to be saved. It's reckless to look at Medicare's finances and decide to do nothing, for fear of angering certain voters in the near term. It's insane to look at Medicare's finances and declare that the program cries out for a massive expansion. Fiscal madness is a growing fad within the Democratic Party. But even nutty aspirations have their limits, as policymakers in California and Vermont discovered the hard way.
(3) Setting aside the crushing costs, enormous tax increases, and systemic failures of government-run healthcare, the imposition of single payer would be shockingly disruptive to the existing system. This time, the slogan could be, "if you like your plan, tough luck. You can't keep it, and neither can anyone else who isn't already on a government plan." Well over 100 million Americans would have their plans torn away, invalidated and superseded by a sprawling, kafkaesque federal regime. Those who cannot afford expensive supplemental coverage on top of their heavy new tax bills will be stuck in a government program that may not even improve their health outcomes, based on the tragic, documented failures of Medicaid. What a deal.