THE FINAL WORD
likely get crushed. True, you would no longer be fighting with insurers to get timely and effective health care – you’d be fighting with the federal bureaucracy. Good luck with that. Remember, when Democrats had 60 votes back in 2009, they didn’t go for single-payer health care. While the political ground has shifted considerably since then thanks to Obamacare, all of the real-world problems remain with what would essentially be Medicare on steroids for 320 million Americans. But lots of folks like to believe in Santa Claus. At a time when political demagoguery seems to have completely outmatched reasonable discourse, promising a lot of free stuff to everyone and claiming that only the rich will pay for it might just do the trick at the polls. Midterms are all about base turnout, and few things energize the Left as much as a massive push toward a European-style welfare state. The Democrats need to flip 24 Republican seats to take control of the House of Representatives, and need a gain of two seats to take the Senate. There will be a lot of talk in the weeks ahead about Russia collusion, deep- state spying, and other media distractions. Meanwhile, control of the House and maybe even the Senate could change hands based on whether the promise of universal health care – or better drug prices – pushes more people to show up on November 6. It’s free stuff versus the free market. We’ll see who wins.
short version is that the government will try to increase competition to bring down prices and negotiate more effectively for bulk purchases. While it’s going to take some time to see the efficacy of this approach, the first generic EpiPen as approved recently as part of the administration’s push. Others are sure to follow. Now for the Democrats: Their main health care pitch is a hard Left “health care for all.” They call it “Medicare for All,” but that’s not really an accurate description. While the details are hazy (probably intentionally so) and different individual Democratic politicians have variations on the theme, the Bernie Sanders wing of the party wants to go even further than a Medicare model. Medicare requires some cost sharing and co-pays, and many Medicare recipients buy supplemental insurance. What is fashionable right now among Democratic politicos is more along the lines of “everyone is covered, everything is covered.” It simply would be the federal government paying for all health care expenditures across the board, taxing the rich into oblivion, and completely eliminating private insurers. Now, you might be thinking, “Hold on, that’s got to be insanely expensive” – and indeed it would be. Depending on whose estimate you prefer, the Democrats’ single-payer approach would add somewhere from $14 trillion to $30 trillion to the deficit over a 10-year period. It would require massive tax raises on the middle class, the estate tax, capital gains, and dividend income. Wages would
84 September 2018
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