Let California become our 'single-payer' test case
The Obamacare repeal debate goes on. We may have a U.S. Senate plan coming out in the next couple of weeks.
Obamacare's implosion is also moving forward: "Iowa's Last Obamacare Insurer Asks For 43% Rate Increase For 2018"! Wasn't this thing called the Affordable Care Act?
The "single-payer" chorus is also singing 24/7. They argue that a "single-payer" program would be good for all concerned or put us on the right side of history, as they love to say.
Here is an idea. Let California become our single-payer test case. It is the only place in the U.S. where there are enough Democrats to pass it and not a single GOP vote that could stop it.
Why not let Governor Brown, Senator Harris, and the rest of California lead the way and prove to us that it is the way of the future?
According to an editorial in the Washington Post, the idea of universal care may turn out to be another one of those liberal dreams that always die when you calculate the potential costs. This is from the editorial:
The single-payer model has some strong advantages. It is much simpler for most people – no more insurance forms or related hassles. Employers would no longer be mixed up in providing health-care benefits, and taxpayers would no longer subsidize that form of private compensation. Government experts could conduct research on treatments and use that information to directly cut costs across the system.
But the government's price tag would be astonishing. When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed a "Medicare for all" health plan in his presidential campaign, the nonpartisan Urban Institute figured that it would raise government spending by $32 trillion over 10 years, requiring a tax increase so huge that even the democratic socialist Mr. Sanders did not propose anything close to it.
The advocates of public health care always chastise private insurance companies and the "profit motive." They overlook that public health care is not cheap at all, as the editorial goes on to say:
The public piece of the American health-care system has not proven itself to be particularly cost-efficient.
On a per capita basis, U.S. government health programs alone spend more than Canada, Australia, France, and Britain each do on their entire health systems.
That means the U.S. government spends more per American to cover a slice of the population than other governments spend per citizen to cover all of theirs.
Simply expanding Medicare to all would not automatically result in a radically more efficient health-care system. Something else would have to change.
My idea will never happen because even California knows that it can't afford a single-payer program. Or, as John Myers wrote recently:
Almost two of every three Californians in a new statewide poll said they like the idea of a single-payer, government healthcare system, but far fewer support the idea if it includes a tax increase.
We will probably never see universal health care in the U.S. The good news is that the numbers just don't add up. The bad news is that we will have to hear about it in every election cycle.