Congressional Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, now Democrats want to take this destructive policy a step further. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has come together with other Democrats to promote a single payer system, despite the consistent proof of failure. Republicans must work quickly to dismantle Obamacare or they will be stuck defending it against a system far worse.
Sanders has introduced a bill into the Senate that provides Medicare for all Americans as the nation’s primary health insurance program.
The problem with this idea of a single payer system for health insurance is that we already know it does not work. Sanders’ own state of Vermont is clear evidence of this fact. In 2014, Vermont attempted to be the herald of single payer success, but as Governor Peter Shumlin soon realized — the state could not afford it. When he announced he would no longer be attempting to implement the program, he noted the 11.5 percent tax to businesses and 9.5 percent premium hike to individuals “might hurt our economy.” The Vermont legislation had received approval from the state legislature before the financing element was included. When state representatives realized the plan would not be the cost saver they had been promised, support fell dramatically.
As Jack Mozloom, spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business told Politico, “If cobalt blue Vermont couldn’t find a way to make single-payer happen, then it’s very unlikely that any other state will. There will never be a good time for a massive tax increase on employers and consumers in Vermont, so they should abandon that silly idea now and get serious.”
Nonetheless, three years later California attempted the same system. Last week, the plan failed California just like it did Vermont. The California legislature also passed a bill with no funding mechanisms put in place to pay for a large, statewide Medicare for all plan. As the New Republic of June 30 reported, when analysis came out showing the plan would cost $400 billion to implement, $200 billion which would be of new spending, legislators began backtracking. A smart decision considering this price tag is twice as much as the entire state’s budget.
Consistently, states realize no matter how much they may want a single payer system, it is not economically feasible.
In California, the state already faces a $1.6 billion budget deficit this year and the state faces unfunded liabilities of almost $1 trillion. As the Daily Wire’s Aaron Bandler makes clear, “Given that the Tax Foundation has already ranked California as having the sixth-highest tax rates in the nation, the ensuing tax rates from implementing a single-payer health care bill system would be even more onerous and cripple the state’s economy. The problem with creating utopia is that reality eventually kicks in and the attempted utopia turns into a living nightmare, which is why states that have tried to implement single-payer have failed to do so.”
The single payer system has failed in the most liberal states in the country. If anyone was going to make the system work, one would think it would be a state like California where Democrats maintain supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature. They could write this law any way they wanted, yet they still could not write it in a way that made it economically feasible.
Despite clear dependable proof, even from his home state, Bernie Sanders is still pushing “Medicare for all” agenda.
As Betsey McCaughey of the New York Post writes, “BernieCare guarantees you hospital care, doctors’ visits, dental and vision care, mental health, and even long-term care, all courtesy of Uncle Sam… But read the fine print. You’ll get care only if it’s ‘medically necessary’ and ‘appropriate.’ Government bureaucrats will decide, and they’ll be under pressure to cut spending… Limiting costs will mean also limiting how many mammograms, colonoscopies, hip replacements and other procedures Americans are allowed.”
We see this across the world. The Harvard Business Review found in August, Britain’s National Health Service, one of the oldest single-payer systems in the world, is experiencing a funding crisis. The report notes that wait times are at an all-time high; patients are expected to wait 18 weeks just for a specialist referral, patients regularly wait up to 15 months for a cataract removal surgery (a 30-minute procedure), and most emergency rooms cannot even meet their goal wait time of 4 hours. The government, just like in California and Vermont, cannot actually afford to give every citizen the care they deserve.
Luckily, Republicans in Congress are stepping up their efforts to create another option.
This week U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham(R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy(R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and former Senator Rick Santorum came together to offer a plan which removes the individual and employer mandates of Obamacare while providing states with block grants to take control over their healthcare system plus waivers to get out from under the law’s crushing regulations.
As Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning explains, “[The Cassidy-Graham bill] is the last best chance for Republicans to keep their basic promise to repeal and replace Obamacare… It increases flexibility for the states and respects them through its common-sense block grant formula, giving state legislatures a key role in offering lower-cost health insurance alternatives to their citizens. States are also empowered to apply for waivers from Obamacare regulations, allowing insurers to offer similar lower-cost alternatives to consumers.”
If Republicans do not repeal and replace Obamacare now, they risk defending it later against the single payer system Sanders and the left want to create. Despite proof of failure, the left still wants to rally behind a Medicare for all plan; it is the job of Republicans in Congress not to give them that opportunity.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government