Commentary

Medicare for All Promises Are Just Like Obamacare’s – A Pipe Dream

Twila Brase
By Twila Brase | March 5, 2019 | 3:07 PM EST

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.T.) touts "Medicare for All" (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Many on the left are touting Medicare for All and free health care for everyone. There’s just one problem – it won’t work.

Anything that’s considered free eventually becomes difficult to access. Proponents of Medicare for All are expecting doctors and hospitals to line up to be a part of a national health care system that limits care to control costs. Medicare for All promises are just like the promises of Obamacare, which was never designed to keep those promises. Medicare for All may promise coverage for everything, but it can guarantee access to nothing. It’s Obamacare all over again, but worse.

No new taxes, no deductibles, no premiums, no copays, no out-of-pocket costs? Can they promise no rationing of care or access to a physician when you need one? No. It’s a pipe dream.

Last week, progressive members of Congress unveiled the bill that would “transition the U.S. healthcare system to a single-payer ‘Medicare for All’ program funded by the government in two years,” Reuters reported. The legislation would eliminate the age threshold of 65 and “would not require any beneficiaries to pay premiums or deductibles and would not charge patients co-pays or out-of-pocket costs after receiving care. It does not include new or increased taxes or other additional revenues to pay for the healthcare overhaul.” The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said the bill could be funded by a tax on millionaires and billionaires, employer premiums and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.

Several health care organizations are already looking into the bill and finding major flaws. For example, the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said the bill “will hurt patients, consumers, and taxpayers: Americans will pay more, to wait longer, for worse care. Let’s focus on real solutions that deliver real results, not a one-size-fits-all government system.”

The 120-page “Medicare for All Act of 2019” begins with this statement: “There is hereby established a national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health care and health-related services, in accordance with the standards specified in, or established under, this Act.”

Stop there. First, Medicare for All is not health insurance. It’s a government program. Second, the protection against health care costs is limited to services that meet the standards established by the Act.

Twila Brase, R.N., has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.” She is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a national, patient-centered health freedom organization that exists to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights.

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