QUICK READ: Bernie Sanders embarrassed himself on national TV last night admitting that he had no idea how much Medicare for all would cost. It’s clear from national polls that people don’t like the idea of not having a choice when it comes to healthcare but they do want relief from high health insurance costs that are eating paychecks.
There is nothing more dangerous than an idea with any substance. Medicare for all has been a rallying cry for Sanders supporters because they are pissed that insurance companies are making record profits while their company-sponsored health insurance continues to skyrocket.
Last night on 60 Minutes Mr. Sanders admitted he had no idea how much Medicare for all would cost or where the money would come from in an era of record deficits. It was, to say the least, embarrassing.
Health care costs $10,739 per American in 2017. Middle-class and poorer Americans clearly cannot afford these costs, nor can their employers. Although research indicates that people are happy with their company-sponsored insurance they aren’t happy with raising deductibles and higher premiums.
Covering all Americans under Medicare for All could potentially add another 189 million people to the government’s payrolls, which would swamp the current government approval and payment system—especially since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require prior approval for many medical tests and procedures. More importantly, the Medicare and Medicaid payment system is almost entirely based on fee for service, wherein hospitals, physicians, and pharmaceutical dispensers are paid for services rendered. Naturally, this can incentivize doctors and hospitals to require more office visits, do more procedures, and conduct more tests to get paid more.
So what’s the answer? There are no simple solutions to healthcare costs that are out of control. Making all health insurance companies and PBMs non-profit is a start but unless Americans are willing to forgo a “pill culture” in favor of taking better care of themselves costs are going to continue to climb.
Mr. Sanders plans sound great as campaign slogans but have no substance,