Editorial: Democrats pushing for socialized health care

In a speech in Illinois this past week former President Obama called “Medicare for all” a “good new idea.”

He said, “It’s harder for young people to save for a rainy day, let alone retirement. So Democrats aren’t just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage, they’re running on good new ideas like Medicare for all, giving workers seats on corporate boards, reversing the most egregious corporate tax cuts to make sure college students graduate debt-free.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders actually has such a bill pending that would nationalize and socialize the U.S. health care system and claims he has 16 Democratic senators supporting it. Sanders has argued that the United States spends almost three times as much on health care per capita as the British, who have a socialized system.

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said in August she supports an eventual move to a “Medicare-for-All” but that it is not immediately plausible.

“I applaud the concept, I understand what they’re trying to do at the end of the day, which is get us to the day where we have health care that everybody has and they can afford,” she said in an interview with the online news site The Nevada Independent. “And what it looks like, you can call it whatever you want, but we’ve got to take incremental steps along the way and bring everybody along.”

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller meanwhile is said to be leaning toward supporting a move by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who would take money spent under the Affordable Care Act and give it to states in the form of block grants.

As for Medicare for all, a recent George Mason University’s Mercatus Center study found Sanders’ plan would add $32.6 trillion to federal spending in its first 10 years and costs would steadily rise from there. Doubling corporate and individual income taxes wouldn’t cover the costs.

The proposal also would amount to a roughly 40 percent cut across the board in payments to doctors and hospitals, a devastating blow to the economy. With rural hospitals already going out of business, image how many more would have to close and how many doctors would retire or change professions.

As if the costs were not enough, that aforementioned British socialized health system earlier this year was forced to cancel 50,000 non-emergency surgeries due to hospital overcrowding. Emergency room waits were said to be as long as 12 hours.

You don’t have to pay as much for something you don’t get.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Obama calls for Medicare for all. (Getty Images pix)

 

22 comments on “Editorial: Democrats pushing for socialized health care

  1. Reziac says:

    Twenty years ago, the emergency room waits in SoCal were already at 8 hours, provided you got there during check-in (7-8AM) after which you probably would not get seen at all. Of course 98% of the people there were illegal aliens, so an ICE uniform would have greatly improved matters.

  2. Bruce Feher says:

    Socialize Politicians!

  3. Anonymous says:

    “A vast majority — 70 percent — of Americans in a new poll supports “Medicare for all,” also known as a single-payer health-care system.

    The Reuters–Ipsos survey found 85 percent of Democrats said they support the policy along with 52 percent of Republicans.”

    http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/403248-poll-seventy-percent-of-americans-support-medicare-for-all

  4. That’s why the Founders refused to create a democracy.

  5. Steve says:

    People thought the ACA was “free healthcare for all” Once they found out ACA required them to spend SOME of their own money, the individual mandate turned into the devil incarnate.

    I bet most respondents thought single payer means “free healthcare for all” too. I bet, once they find out how much that “free” stuff will cost them, that 70% drops fast to about 30%, those being the ones who really would get the “free” stuff. (Paid for by the rest of us)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thomas maybe an explanation as to the role of a representative is appropriate; are they to do what their constituents want them to do or not?

    And if not, then what separates their role from that of a nomenklatura?

  7. They should do what is best for constituents and face the consequences.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  8. Deleted says:

    What is representative about that?

  9. Rincon says:

    Mercatus Center? Really? From Wikipedia: “The Mercatus Center, part of George Mason University, is one of the best-funded think tanks in the United States…The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. According to financial records, the Koch family has contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason University, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center, a nonprofit organization.”

    If you swallow their work, I have some Greenpeace “studies” Are you interested?

    The study as reported, was ridiculous even if accurate. The claim was that Medicare for all would cost $32.6 trillion in federal money. Fine. Now how much LESS would the citizens spend on insurance premiums, copays, drugs, and direct costs? Without that information, the study is completely worthless.

    I also have to argue that a 40% cut in pay to doctors and hospitals (who came up with THAT figure?) would not be devastating to the economy at all, since their patients would likely pay 40% less for their health care – or are you intimating that socialized health care would cost more than our present system? That would be a highly questionable claim since we pay 40% more per person than any advanced country that has so called socialized medicine

  10. How would you like a 40 percent cut in pay? Ask any doctor.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we could pay them in chickens?

  12. Rincon says:

    Firstly of course, I have not received an answer to my question: Who came up with the 40% figure?

    But even if true, according to Forbes, the average orthopedic surgeon in this country makes $519,000 per year and cardiologists a guaranteed average base salary of $512,000. Take away 40%, and they only make a measly $311,000 or so. I guess you don’t think they could live with that, but I do. And yes, I know that general practitioners make only $190,000 or so. That,s why there are so few of them. Keep in mind though, that whoever came up with the 40% figure, if it’s even true, probably didn’t mention that the countries with socialized medicine also socialize education to a much greater extent than we do, so school loans aren’t nearly the issue that they are here. They weren’t comparing apples to apples.

    Besides (referring to new graduates here), aren’t you the one who says that businesses have the God given right to work their employees for peanuts because those employees can always seek alternative employment? Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. According to your ethical code, you seem to feel that if a business underpays their employees, it’s just dandy, but if government does the same, it’s some kind of tragedy. You don’t see the hypocrisy in this?

    If the medical community doesn’t want this to happen, they have the power to prevent it. All they have to do is stop gouging the patients, but they won’t.

    They could start with say, posting their prices, setting up more medical schools to increase the supply of doctors, and desisting from performing unnecessary and even harmful procedures (for example, according to one major study, 44% of cardiac bypass surgeries should not have been performed https://www.nytimes.com/…/44-of-heart-bypass-surgery-is-unneeded-study-suggests.htm). Perhaps the health care industry could stop lobbying Congress to keep Medicare from negotiating the prices of drugs with pharmaceutical companies or insurance companies could stop lobbying government to prevent direct competition across state lines, or maybe have drug companies charge Americans the same price that they charge people in other countries, but they won’t. They could also aid in creating reasonable rules of business ethics and enforce them, such as not allowing doctors to refer patients or send lab samples to businesses that they own, but they won’t. Bribery by medical companies also needs to be controlled, but that won’t happen either. According to Time Magazine 4 artificial knee manufacturers paid over $800 million to 6,500 physician “consultants”. Who knew that knees needed so much “consulting”?

    There are scads of other ways to reduce medical costs as well, but the medical industry, like Conservatives, have fought mightily, and successfully so far, to keep our medical costs 40% higher than those of any other nation. So on that basis, my compassion for any potentially underpaid doctors is near zero. Screw ’em. After all, turnabout is fair play.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny Rincon that Thomas has such objections to government instituted cuts to money paid by the government to physicians when he’s typically pounding the table for cuts to the payments made by the government to others.

    And whatever people may think of attorneys, when the subject of cutting the amounts attorneys can receive for the services they provide to clients when a physician commits malpractice “tort reform”, conservatives are all for it.

  14. Steve says:

    Taking service providers out of the private sector, moving them to public sector status, is what lowers their pay under Sanders proposal.
    Claims spending would remain unchanged overall are laughable as people would increase demands for service under a “no cost to the patient” system.
    Medical costs didn’t start skyrocketing until government started to “fix” things.

  15. Jim Dunlap says:

    Thomas, Our representatives are there to pass legislation that protect our natural rights which include life, liberty and property. They are not there to do as the people want which is correct. They are limited by constitutions at the state and federal levels so that they do not do as the people want.

  16. Rincon says:

    Thank you Thomas, for providing that panoply of links. As expected, your citation is accurate, as they almost always are. Unfortunately, the 40% less figure doesn’t take some complicating factors into consideration.

    First, a far greater share of physicians’ cost of education is born by the state, meaning a physician can make substantially less for the same standard of living. In addition, Paperwork costs physicians somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of their revenue so once again, a smaller salary can produce an equal standard of living. I remember that Duke University’s hospital has twice as many billing employees as doctors for example.

    A much more realistic way to project costs is to climb out of the theoretical echo chamber and see how it works in the countries that are doing it. I checked the salaries of Australian doctors. Indeed.com say they average $144 per hour, which equals $104 per hour in US dollars (the Australian dollar is low at present). This equals somewhere around $200,000 USD a year for a full timer. Not so bad. Keep in mind also that Australians generally get 4 or more weeks a year of paid vacation time as well.

    I have a physician friend who says he’s willing to try socialized medicine so that he can work as a doctor again instead of the part time paper shuffling gig that he does now. Otherwise, he’s an adamant free marketer.

  17. Rincon says:

    I don’t see how our Constitution prevents our representatives from giving the voters what they want. As a matter of fact, they better if they want to get reelected (unless there is collusion between the two parties). Natural rights? Natural is the tendency of the strong to dominate the weak. Looking into history, I find the rights, among others, of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to be anything other than natural. They are among mankind’s greatest engineering achievements.

  18. Rincon says:

    “Claims spending would remain unchanged overall are laughable as people would increase demands for service under a “no cost to the patient” system.”

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem in Australia, or any of the other advanced countries. The fact is, they pay 40% less than we do. The real world disagrees with your theory.

  19. Steve says:

    Talk to Vermont.

  20. Rincon says:

    ..and, you’re saying, pay attention to little Vermont while ignoring the successes of the rest of the advanced countries. Australia along with others, runs a better system, period. Why do Conservatives refuse to learn from the experience of others?

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