Why stop at Medicare For All?
Thus far, in the recent leftist fantasy rantings on health care, only the insurance component of that sector has been put on the table as being ripe for federal government nationalization. But why stop there? There seem to be two assumptions underlying this sudden and insane thirst for a Cuban- or Maoist-style industry takeover.
One assumption is cost. The previously mentioned candidates apparently believe that the federal government can spend money more wisely, fairly, and efficiently than the private market. Pointing out counterfactual examples by comparing the Post Office to UPS or the Veterans' Administration hospital system to private community hospitals has had, and will have zero educational impact on the thinking of Kamala Harris, etc., and on their ill informed supporters. Everyone knows the old adage that insanity consists of repeating the same behavior over and over, while expecting different results.
Another issue is envy. A preponderance of health care sector jobs involve relatively high pay. Physicians, employees of pharma, and medical device companies, and executives at every level within the supply chain earn enviable salaries, bonuses, stock options, and the like. The social justice crowd would love to bulldoze this landscape into their imagined level playing field.
In January of 2018, health care beat out manufacturing and became the largest employment sector in the country. If the entire supply chain were to be nationalized, imagine the number of jobs that could be doled out in patronage fashion to the well connected. According to numbers from the prestigious Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of U.S. workers employed in providing direct services such as doctors and nurses was 13,090,150 according to recent data. Add in 67,000 retail pharmacies and the entire medical supply chain comprising wholesale distributors, home health care providers, nursing homes, and physical therapists, and the scope of the opportunity begins to loom larger. In 2016, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry was valued at $450 billion. The U.S. market for medical devices is expected to top $173 billion by 2019. Just those two line items add up to a dollar amount in the same vicinity as the U.S. defense budget.
Presumably, many additional facets of the medical and health care industry are ripe for having private spending reallocated through government channels, thus taking money out of the hands of wealthy "fat cats" and spending it ever so much more equitably through compassionate government bureaucracy. Imagine every research scientist, surgeon, pharmacist, and nurse being a direct employee of the federal government and, in time to come, joining a public-sector union like teachers and sanitation workers do today. The reliable Democrat voting bloc will then become ever so much more reliable.
Typically, we imagine Democrats-Progressives-leftists as having hare-brained, impractical schemes that go too far to be rational. In this instance, perhaps in Trojan horse fashion, they've pulled up short in their quest for Nirvana and are mentioning and focusing on only the dimension of medical "insurance," not all things medical...for now.
Lest anyone frustrated enough by the partially birthed disaster that is Obamacare support Medicare for all, the best will be yet to come. A few short years afterward, should the socialists be persuasive, and we'll be staring directly into the maw of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."