OPINION

Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ Would Bankrupt U.S., Squeeze Providers Out of Existence

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “Medicare for All” plan has been lambasted by critics left and right for its unrealistic assumptions, punitive taxes and complete disruption of the American health care system. But more than that, even if Warren (D-Mass.) succeeded in making her plan a reality, it would be a disaster for those who need care the most: The disruption to medical professionals and patients would be a systemic threat to the delivery of health care in this country.

Funneling every dollar of health spending through the federal government would be foolhardy. This is the same government that currently has a $23 trillion debt. This is the same government that couldn’t even correctly roll out a website for Obamacare years ago.  

Do you really want the same bureaucrats responsible for your health care?

Warren’s plan guarantees that everyone with private coverage will lose their health care plan three years after the plan’s implementation. More than 150 million Americans would be prohibited from keeping their private plans under the Warren plan.

Do you really want to lose your current health care plan?

Reimbursing health care professionals at drastically lower rates than most receive right now — as the Warren plan proposes — will lead to fewer doctors and other professionals, longer wait times and probably less quality time between a patient and a doctor. Plus, government mandates on prescription drug prices will lead to fewer new lines of treatment and cures coming into the market.

That would be devastating to people like Matt Hiznay, who was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer at 24, even though he was a non-smoker.  Thankfully, the Food and Drug Administration had literally approved a new chemotherapy drug on the day he was diagnosed. Fewer than 4 percent have this type of aggressive lung cancer, and the drug saved his life.

Do you really want to have fewer choices, longer waits and less time with your health care professionals? Do you want fewer ways to threat and ultimately cure diseases and ailments?

More than 2 million people will lose their jobs when everyone is prohibited from having private health plans. I’m not talking about highly compensated insurance executives. These are everyday people who process insurance claims, underwrite insurance plans and help educate consumers about best health practices.

Warren flippantly thinks that these people can find a different job in other areas of insurance. She has a fundamental misunderstanding of the industry, as the jobs related to health insurance are very different than the jobs related to other types of insurance.

Do you really want hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of hard-working, middle-class people to lose their jobs?

Plus, Warren’s plan would impact more than just health care jobs. For example, her tax plan would increase federal tax collections by 63 percent. This would have a dramatic impact on the economy — hurting investment while lowering the standard of living and wages and likely leading to job loss.

Do you really want to mess with the overall economy?

Warren’s plans propose raising taxes by $26.3 trillion over the next decade. All the individual and corporate income tax collections combined over the next 10 years will barely exceed her proposed tax hike.

The new roughly $9 trillion payroll tax on employers would be devastating to workers. Even Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden have criticized this part of the plan — pointing out that the cost will likely be passed on to workers through lower wages and benefits.

Do you really want to pay more in taxes to pay for government-run health care?

Worst of all, Warren’s plan does not add up. Her plan estimates that health care costs will be about $52 trillion over the next decade with $20.5 trillion in new federal spending needed to fund the plan (beyond what she has already proposed). The Urban Institute, however, calculated that a plan like Warren’s “Medicare for All” would cost $59 trillion with $34 trillion in new federal spending during the same time period.

Do you really believe her numbers when an analysis of a nearly identical plan shows it will require $13.5 trillion more in new taxes/revenues than her estimates?

So, the Warren plan will force all Americans off their private health plan. It will likely lead to fewer choices in health care and fewer options for cures for disease. It will directly cost jobs and indirectly through the likely hit to the economy. It increases taxes by more than 60 percent and will likely pass it on to workers. And it does not add up.

Worst of all, Warren’s plan hands over control of our health care to the federal government and its broken bureaucracy. The better solution is moving to a patient-centered system that treats people like human beings instead of numbers or statistics. 

 

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a senior adviser with the National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for taxpayers at all levels of government. 

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