Conservatives and progressives agree that everyone should be able to get health insurance and have access to quality health care. But the divide over how to accomplish that goal is wide and deep.
Progressives believe the government should make decisions about allocation of the resources in our health sector while conservatives believe these decisions should be controlled by individuals and families.
The sales pitch for Medicare for all is appealing — universal coverage, free access to doctors and hospitals, and no insurance premiums, copayments or deductibles.
But then come the tradeoffs: Washington bureaucrats would decide what services are covered and how much doctors and hospitals would be paid.
Everyone would be required to give up the coverage they have now — including 173 million American who get health insurance at work — and taxes would be much higher to finance $32 trillion in added government spending over the next decade. For comparison, federal revenues last year totaled $3.4 trillion.
“If you look at polling data, it’s great until you tell them taxes would double and they’d have to give up their employer coverage,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. noted recently.
The American people don’t want such a major upheaval. They rightly don’t trust politicians and their broken promises such as former President Barack Obama’s — “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your health plan you can keep your plan.”
At least this time, they are being up front: They would outlaw private health insurance entirely.
California senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris supports a government-run single payer system and said of private health insurance: “Let’s eliminate all of that.”
What they aren’t saying this time is that “free” access to care comes with a big price tag. In other countries with government-run health systems, care is rationed, waiting lines are long, and access to the newest medicines and treatments is restricted.
We’ve seen with the Affordable Care Act how difficult it is for a centrally controlled system to work. The ACA dictated the rules for health insurance policies in the individual and small group markets, including the rich benefits package. Then premiums doubled.
We believe the right solution is to give people more choices of more affordable health coverage and have states, rather than the federal government, target resources to those who need help.