Last week, left-wing politicians, activists, and columnists gleefully rejoiced that they had unlocked the easy path to single-payer health care in America: Just cut reimbursement payments to health providers by 40 percent and then raise taxes by $32 trillion over the decade. You know, nothing difficult or controversial.
They based their conclusion on a superficial reading of a new report by Charles Blahous, a former public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare systems and currently a senior fellow at the Mercatus Center. [Source: Foundation for Economic Education]
Forget the numbers for a minute. You cannot contemplate something as massive as socialized medicine without taking into account two HUGE psychological factors.
Psychological factor # 1: Doctors and nurses are human beings. You count on them for your very life. If you cut their pay by 40 percent, as “Medicare for All” advocates propose, what do you think this will do to them? And what do you think it will do to YOU?
How would YOU like it if your employer told you that YOUR income will be cut 40 percent? What impact would it have on your morale, your motivation and ultimately your competence?
Do you think doctors and nurses are NOT human? Do you think they already make “enough”? How much is “enough” for something so important – not just to everyone in general, but to you personally?
Why not let the market decide? Right now, the government sets the rates for health care. The people who want socialized medicine think our current set-up is pretty dysfunctional. But in our current set-up, government ALREADY determines most of the pay for hospitals, surgeries and doctors. Most who get serious medical care are the elderly. All of the elderly are on Medicare. If you don’t like socialized medicine for the elderly, which we’ve had for decades, what makes you think you’ll like “Medicare for all”—socialized medicine for EVERYONE?
Psychological factor # 2: People in America expect first-world health care. Not second-rate health care. Not third-world health care. We all want, and have come to expect, first-rate health care. Thanks to somewhat free markets (especially in technology) and an underlying rationality among the bulk of the American people, competence, efficiency and progress have thrived in medicine for decades now.
People who say we can easily, as a country through taxes (and debt), pay for socialized medicine assume that demand for first-rate health care will remain the same once surgeries, dental implants, knee replacements and brain cancer treatment all BECOME FREE.
But there’s no basis whatsoever for thinking that.
Once cost is no longer a factor whatsoever – for anyone, ever – the demand for the first-rate medical care we already enjoy in America (thus far) will go through the roof. Not only will the budget (already trillions in debt with an unsustainable Medicare program) burst into flames; so too will the daily practice of medical care, because the sheer volume of demand will make it impossible for doctors and hospitals to handle it all.
Imagine if smart phones were suddenly free. What would happen at your local Verizon store? Or if Starbucks decided no longer to charge for anything. Or McDonald’s. Or grocery stores. Or clothing stores. Or car dealers. Do you think there’d be endless lines, confusion and ultimately collapse? Or do you think it would be totally business as usual?
It’s beyond insane we’re even having this discussion. I cannot believe that the Republicans have nothing thus far to offer on health care, while the Democrats are now calling for all-out Communism.
Communism or the status quo. Is there NO other alternative? Such as … oh, I don’t know, a free market?
Can we not even have a conversation about it?
Or are we to head straight into the calamity that brought down Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela?
“Medicare for all” is the biggest toxic bunch of B.S. ever to come out of our Imperial City. And given all the toxicity and B.S. in our Imperial City, that’s really saying something.
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