Bernie Sanders promises universal health care, but, up until the other day, just waved his hands in the air, without specifics. Now he has a plan.
Ezra Klein, writing at Vox, says Sanders’s “Medicare for All” is not a plan at all. It’s a “gesture towards a future plan.”
But that doesn’t mean that the thing isn’t “well sold.”
After praising the Obamacare/Affordable Health Care Act for giving “health insurance” to more than 17 million people, the preamble of Sanders’s proposal made its most predictable statement: “Twenty-nine million Americans today still do not have health insurance and millions more are underinsured and cannot afford the high copayments and deductibles charged by private health insurance companies that put profits before people.”
Forget that deductibles are integral to the very idea of insurance. Forget that profits are absolutely necessary for the success of an industry. Forget that profits come from serving people.
Remember, instead, the leftist clichés.
Sanders’s plan, such as it is, is a lie — or, in Klein’s phrasing, “has nothing to do with Medicare.” Sanders aims to get rid of deductibles and copays, on which Medicare depends. It’s what makes Medicare distinct from, say, socialized medicine.
Insurance covers individually unforeseeable but actuarially manageable risks. Socialized medicine gets rid of the idea of “payment for service” on every level — and thus the very idea of insurance — and turns the whole thing over into a tax-and-spend program, i.e., what Sanders really wants.
That won’t be cheap, as Megan McArdle demonstrated some time back during the Vermont “single payer” kerfuffle.
The only option for increasing value while lowering prices? Go the opposite direction from socialism.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.