The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
The Aug. 17 guest opinion by Drs. Eve Shapiro and Paul Gordon (“We’re doctors and we’re debunking myths about Medicare for All”) gets more than a few things wrong about the recent push to undermine our entire health care system in favor of a more heavily government-controlled one.
While a lot of the talking points are great on paper, that’s not how “Medicare for All” — or any other version of government-run health care, including Medicare “buy-in,” a public option, or single payer — would work in reality.
First off, the authors are mistaken or simply wrong when they say that Medicare for All would only be “government-financed” and “not government-controlled.”
Ultimately, someone will have to decide what treatments, procedures and prescriptions would have to decide what gets covered under Medicare for All and what doesn’t— no system is going to end health care rationing.
Under Medicare for All or single payer, those decisions would be made by the ones financing the system — which would be the government.
The authors of the piece also seriously underestimate the tax burden a government- controlled system would have on the majority of Americans. As is popular, they seem to suggest that “possibly other taxes on the wealthy and financial transactions” along with a “progressive tax” would cover the costs of Medicare for All.
In reality, as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found, a Medicare for All system would cost roughly $30 trillion — requiring a 60% increase in federal spending and “the equivalent of tripling payroll taxes or more than doubling all other taxes.” Sounds a lot more serious when you put it that way, doesn’t it? There is no good way to finance a Medicare for All or single payer without levying significant tax increases on the middle class.
Even proponents of these risky schemes have failed to produce credible financing mechanisms to fund them.
After running on Medicare for All — or single payer — for four years, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan still includes only the vaguest of details about how he would finance such a system.
Those details are basically just five pages of “financing options, such as a new tax on ‘extreme wealth’.”
Again, simply saying the rich will pay for everything is not a true financing plan.
One thing the authors fail to mention — perhaps because there’s no good way to gloss over this as with their other “points” — is that under Medicare for All or single payer, Americans will have significantly fewer choices.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, Medicare for All would eliminate all the choices currently available under Medicare. In fact, even the name Medicare for All is misleading at best and outright deceitful at worst as the program would actually abolish Medicare as we know it.