Senator Bernie Sanders says Medicare is so popular that everyone should have it.
But, as you might have anticipated, there's a catch.
Medicare for All requires the destruction of–well–Medicare as we know it. It would be supplanted by something that might not be quite so popular once the public gets to know it.
Health insurance expert Betsy McCaughey explains in a must-read column in the New York Post:
Truth is, Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation actually abolishes Medicare and Medicare Advantage, as well as employer-provided coverage, union plans and plans people buy for themselves.
Every person will be forced into a mandatory, government-run system with the phony name “Medicare for All.” Whether you want it or not. The quality of your medical care will plummet.
Medicare for All will plunge hospitals into financial distress, exposing patients to dangerous medical shortages and forcing pay cuts on health care workers. New York hospitals and their workforce will get clobbered the worst.
McCaughey argues that President Trump is correct when he says that Medicare for All would not only eliminate Medicare for older Americans but would put hospitals out of business. Sanders calls the President a liar.
McCaughey has turned up evidence for the President's claims–namely she has found the evidence by reading Senator Sanders' Medicare for All legislation (supported by 16 Democratic Senators and 123 Democrats in the House). Here is what she found:
Four years after Medicare for All begins, all private insurance will be banned (Sec. 107), and Medicare and other government health programs will be terminated, just as Trump said. Everyone, including illegal immigrants, will be enrolled in the new government program (Sec. 106). Newborns will be automatically enrolled at birth (Sec. 105).
On paper, the new program guarantees hospital care, doctors’ visits, even dental, vision and long-term care, all paid for by Uncle Sam. Here’s the hitch: Hospitals will be forced to operate under conditions of extreme scarcity, with too little revenue and more patients than ever.
Right now, Medicare shortchanges hospitals, paying them less than the full cost of caring for seniors. But hospitals accept the low payments, because they can shift the unmet costs to younger patients who have private insurance that pays more.
But in the new scheme, hospitals will be paid at Medicare rates for all their patients, not just seniors (Sec. 611). With everyone on Medicare for All, no cost-shifting will be possible. The rates will be 40 percent less than what hospitals could get from private insurance plans. The severe short-changing will throw hospitals into crisis. Meanwhile, demand for care will surge, because it’s free to all comers.
Doctors, paid 30 percent less than private insurance pays, will have to see more and more patients just to keep afloat. Older patients take more time, so doctors will avoid older patients.
Unlike in the U.K., where people can buy private insurance to avoid the National Health Service nightmare, Americans would be stuck with government health care. Private insurance would be illegal under Medicare for All.
Ironically, what Senator Sanders is proposing is the destruction of Medicare, replacing it with a system that, while oh so intellectually satisfying to progressives, will provide vastly inferior medical services.