Barrasso: Sanders' Healthcare Plan 'a Nice Slogan,' But a Bad Idea

Posted September 14, 2017

Watch a livestream of Sen. Reviewing his proposed tax increases (at his website under the heading; The Plan Will Be Fully Paid For), I'm certain that the majority of his supporters are woefully naïve, ignorant or both, and have no idea that Medicare for All means forking over even more hard-earned income to yet another government social program. In a New York Times op-ed Wednesday morning, Sanders cited an Economist/YouGov poll that shows 60 percent of Americans want to "expand Medicare to provide health insurance to every American" - including three quarters of all Democrats and almost half of all Republicans.

The "Medicare for All" plan from Sanders, a Vermont independent and sage of the American political left, is backed by 15 co-sponsors. "The time is now to address one of the great crises our nation faces". That freedom would not only help the American people live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives, but it would also promote innovation and entrepreneurship in every sector of the economy. Aides said it would likely be financed by income-adjusted premiums people would pay the government, ranging from no premiums for the poorest Americans to high levies on the rich and corporations.

"It seems that this complete government takeover of health care is becoming the litmus test for the liberal left", Barrasso said.

In a statement introducing Medicare For All, Sanders said, "Today, we begin the long and hard struggle to end the worldwide embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all its people".

When it comes to access, the major problem in the U.S. is distributional: some of the poor have insufficient access and, arguably, some of the well-off receive health care at too low a user price. Americans younger than 18 would immediately obtain "universal Medicare cards", while Americans not now eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years.

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Sanders' bill would completely replace private insurance with an enhanced version of Medicare with few, if any, out-of-pocket expenses. Typically those systems were instituted while healthcare costs were still fairly low, and then kept down by government fiat. Or is it just the privilege of wealth?

Under the proposed plan, some states would get more money to provide health care than they get through the current system. Every other major country on Earth has decided that health care is a right, and we've got to do the same. "As proud Americans, our job is to lead the world on health care, not woefully lag behind other countries".

Thirdly, why are we paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, so that one out of five Americans under 64 can not afford the medicine that they need?

"Are we wasting an enormous amount of money in the current system?"

At least one good thing came out of that painful and prolonged national health care debate: a growing consensus among Americans that not only do they want the government involved in health care - they want the government more involved, not less.

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[Y] es, your taxes are going up. In fact, Mr. Sander's Universal Health care scheme equates to imposing significant increases per individual, employer, and capital gains/investment income taxes. That's what our pledge is. In the last few months, you have shown the American people what you stand for, when you voted for legislation to throw 32 million Americans off of the health insurance they now have, while giving huge tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. He suggests a 7.5 percent payroll tax on employers, which his office expects to raise $3.9 trillion over the next decade (these numbers have not yet been evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office). They will forget that 30 seconds [in an ad that] I have to tell you you're no longer paying private insurance if you're a small business. So there are two sides of the equation. Numerous polls show how support for single-payer health care is on the rise.

"We are going to be mounting a massive grass-roots effort across this country to educate and to organize", he concludes.

Single-payer activists, mostly from the progressive grassroots movement that fueled Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, are delighting in a sense of momentum after years stuck on the margins of the debate.

Read the full interview here, and watch a livestream of Sanders' bill introduction, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT, here.

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