Since Obamacare became the laws of the land, I have been saying "Obamacare was designed from the start to be a clusterfuck of Biblical proportions. It is so bad, once it is fully in place and people see just how bad it truly is, they will clamor for anything that's not Obamacare. And that's when Single-Payer will be rolled out."
We are now at that point.
Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will introduce this bill to the Senate, "The Medicare for All Act." The good news is, 2/3rds of Democrats realize that they are dead politically if the co-sponsor this bill. Those who are on the record as co-sponsors are Tammy BALDWIN (D-WI),Richard BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), Cory BOOKER (D-NJ), Al FRANKEN (D-MI), Kirsten GILLIBRAND (D-NY), Kamala HARRIS (D-CA), Martin HEINRICH (D-NM), Mazie HIRONO (D-HI), Patrick LEAHY (D-VT), Mr. Edward MARKEY (D-MA), Jeff MERKLEY (D-OR), Brian SCHATZ (D-HI), Tom UDALL (D-NM), Elizabeth WARREN (D-MA), Sheldon WHITEHOUSE (D-RI).
Would you like to know the unfortunate truth? You know, those pesky things called facts about what will most likely be the consequences if this (or some version) becomes law? We only have to look as far as Senator Sanders home state of Vermont and his own words.
From Sanders' own mouth,
“But I think what we understand,” Sanders said. “Is that unless we change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that. For example, if we expanded Medicaid [to] everybody. Give everybody a Medicaid card – we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that, you know, we would bankrupt the nation.” [emphasis mine]
From the Wall Street Journal article, The Single-Payer Siren Song (it's behind a paywall, but the important part is right there) where Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was actively looking at a Single-payer system for his state. He abandoned the idea in 2014 when he realized there would have to be an additional 11.5% payroll tax, plus raising the income tax by up to 9.5%.
In my personal case, if my income was divested of my healthcare deductions, then the payroll tax and income taxes were added, my bi-weekly take-home pay would probably drop about $125 a check because the taxes are more than what I'm paying now. Someone making say $15/hour without benefits, their paycheck would DROP at least $350 a paycheck. Considering they were only bringing home $2,185 before, that just got cut to $1,817 for two weeks at your "living wage."
And, of course, costs and prices would skyrocket because Medicaid only pays providers 80% of what private insurance pays them. Just as an economic survival factor, providers will have to raise their prices to Medicaid by 20% to not take a pay cut. Or, no longer accept Medicaid insurance.
Just as a thought exercise, what do you think would happen if "BernieCare" became law of the land and everyone got a Medicaid card, but no doctors would accept it?
Every time you disconnect the cost of a good or service from the price paid by the consumer for that good or service, prices go up because nobody really cares what the prices are because they don't have to pay for it. It's "free" to them.
Prices come down when the consumer has a choice and price shops. Why should I pay $100 for a service at Dr. A when Dr. B offers the same service and quality for $80? We see that every day because millions of people go to Amazon to buy stuff and not the store down the street because the price of goods on Amazon are cheaper and delivered to your door.
What we need are prices at a doctor's office up on the wall like they are at McDonald's. You walk in and see what an office visit costs, how much for lab testing, and all the way down the line. We can then look on the insurance company's website and see how much they pay for those services. You go to the provider, get the service, get the bill to show what services you received. You then send it off to the insurance company and they reimburse you. Because you price shopped, you can either pay or pocket the difference.
It would take 18-24 months for everything to stabilize, but I can be reasonably sure that prices will come down. Why? Because the consumer can decide if the price is worth the cost. Remember, the cost is what you pay in cash, the price is what you have to do (work overtime, sell things, skimp on other things, etc.) to acquire that amount of cash. If a family member comes down with cancer or other serious condition, the family makes the decision on how much care (if any) the member gets. If the treatment for a cancer diagnosis will cost the family $20,000 (Because it will cost $100,000 and the insurance will only pay $80,000), which would grant the sick member with a 20% to live more than a year, what would you do? The choices are simple, destroy the families finances and more than likely die in a year or two, or pass on sooner.
Yes, choices like that are upsetting. They are not easy and you will live with regret either way. Today we see cases where people will demand insurance companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to extend the life of someone by a few weeks or months. Is this cost-effective? Say we have a finite pool of money (because, you know, we do). We can use this money to either extend the life of person A by 6 months, or extend the life of person B 20 years. Or, how about extending the lives of 20 people (B through U) by one year? If you were a family member of A, what would you choose?
What upsets me is Liberals screaming "PEOPLE WILL DIE WITHOUT HEALTHCARE!!!!1!!!!!111" I hate to tell them this, people die every day, sometimes with the best healthcare on the planet. Medicine can only delay what is inevitable for all of us. In fact, medical errors in the US account for over 250,000 deaths annually, third in number after heart disease and cancer.
Think about it. Most of the time, medical care only treats the symptoms of the illness until the body itself can repair the damage. If you get a cold, the doctor tells you to buy stuff that will stop the runny nose, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting and so on so you can not feel so bad and can function until your body kills off whatever is making you sick. For emergency care, say you gash your arm or get a compound fracture on your leg, the medical professionals who treat you will only stop the bleeding, keep you breathing and prevent infection until your body can repair itself. People die only because the body cannot repair the damage or illness happening to it.
I know this stuff is hard. No one wants to make these kind of choices. That being said, we all make choices daily that have lasting effects. They have to be made because we can't have "everything all the time." To think so is to not live in reality.