The Trump Administration recently released a report that tackles the Left’s sure-to-fail (because socialism always fails) dream of Medicare for All.
The report, titled “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism,” begins by shredding the political and economic system currently favored by progressive Democrats. It defines the sordid system in this way:
Whether a country or industry is socialist is a question of the degree to which (a) the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned or regulated by the state; and (b) the state uses its control to distribute the economic output without regard for final consumers’ willingness to pay or exchange (i.e., giving resources away “for free”). As explained below, this definition conforms with both statements and policy proposals from leading socialists, ranging from Karl Marx to Vladimir Lenin to Mao Zedong to Current American socialists.
The report covers socialism’s catastrophic history and acknowledges that modern socialists even have to admit to the epic tragedies that occurred in the Soviet Union and Maoist China. Further, the report reveals the ugly truth behind the Nordic version of “democratic socialism,” particularly as it applies to healthcare.
Leftists have done a magnificent job of convincing young Americans that the Nordic system of socialized healthcare is a model the United States should implement. Not a day goes by on social media without a young, politically interested, idealistic would-be voter extoling the virtues of socialism in Denmark, Finland, Norway, or Sweden.
As the report states, “The Nordic and European versions of socialized medicine have been viewed as so desirable by modern U.S. socialists that they have proposed nationalizing payments for healthcare —which makes up more than a sixth of the U.S. economy—through the recent ‘Medicare for All’ proposal.”
Fortunately, the report is adamant in its assertion that Medicare for All would create a government monopoly in the healthcare sector that would be the single-price setter and the single provider of health insurance. (Think of Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all scheme that became prohibitively expensive and was originally required via the individual mandate. Like that, but worse.)
Moreover, the report states that without huge tax increases and a mountain of new debt, the cost of Medicare For All would require a slashing of more than half of the federal budget.
If it were financed through higher taxes, GDP would fall by 9 percent, or about $7,000 per person in 2022. Evidence on the productivity and effectiveness of single-payer systems suggests that “Medicare for All” would reduce longevity and health, particularly among the elderly, even though it would only slightly increase the fraction of the population with health insurance.
Just in case Americans are unaware of what the Democrats’ Medicare for All proposal would actually do, it’s very simple: it would make the private sale of health insurance—either from a business or other private employer—illegal.
George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen summed the Medicare for All plan up in a recent op-ed:
The [Medicare For All] legislation would eliminate cost sharing, prevent private insurance plans from competing, and prevent private markets from supplementing government coverage (outside of, say, cosmetic surgery). The House version would even prohibit health-care providers from earning profits. These provisions are far more extreme than what is found in most Western European health-care systems. The analogies with traditional socialism are indeed apt—the bill is much worse than anything the Trump administration has proposed to date.
Cowen criticizes some aspects of the Trump Administration report, such as the fact that it fails to acknowledge socialized medicine already exists in the United States in the form of Medicare. However, Denmark officials were more unimpressed with the report, calling it “fake news” after bristling over being lumped in with the upheaval in Venezuela and adamantly asserting that although the country pays a great deal in taxes, they get “so much again,” according to Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
Despite these criticisms, the report is well worth a read, if for no other reason than because it lays out precisely why the Trump administration will not be embracing socialized medicine any time soon.
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