The “Medicare-for-all” proposal touted by the leading Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls, establishing a single-payer system, could not succeed without massive amounts of regulation on lifestyle and health choices, warns the Washington Examiner.
It may even require “obesity taxes,” the paper says in an editorial.
The Examiner argues that if the public owns the risk pool, voters certainly will “demand to mitigate risk as much as possible.”
“If you’re paying for yourself, you have the right to live as you please. But the moment the public has a stake in your healthcare, it has a stake in your health,” the Examiner reasons.
Along with the “global ramifications of inevitably immolating our medical research and development,” the “one, massive elephant in the room that progressives love to ignore” is “obesity.”
In 2016, Bernie Sanders made “Medicare-for-all” a cornerstone of his campaign while Donald Trump warned would it would “eviscerate” the current program for seniors.
At 36.2 percent, the Examiner points out, the American obesity rate is the 12th-highest in the world and first among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
“The country under single-payer will make former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda taxes and food-nannying look like child’s play,” the paper said.
“Everything from your sugar consumption to your alcohol would become a matter of public regulation, and the public would not only have the power but also the moral right to regulate how people live.”
In 2010, under Bloomberg’s leadership, New York City banned the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces by restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and street vendors.
The Examiner noted that of the 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. per year, 300,000 are caused by obesity.
“It’s one of the single greatest drivers of avoidable healthcare spending, costing the country around $200 billion annually.”
Progressives may call such concerns “fat-shaming,” the paper said, but “it’s really just public health and economics.”
Slate observed in September 2017, when Sanders unveiled a “Medicare-for-all” plan in the Senate, 2020 hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren “each took turns at the podium … extolling the virtues of socialized health insurance.”
“Such a scene that would have been utterly unimaginable eight years ago. Their support may or may not be 100 percent heartfelt, but it’s pretty clear where they think Democratic primary voters will be standing on this issue in four years.”
But, as Slate points out, Sanders left “the sticky question of taxes for a later date.”
Instead, the bill’s authors wrote up a complementary white paper titled “Options to Fund Medicare for All.”
It featured a menu of tax hikes that add up to about $16.9 trillion over a decade.
Slate commented that even nearly $17 trillion might not be enough to cover the cost of a single-payer system.
The facts matter
A poll one month ago found Americans like the idea of “Medicare-for-all,” but not if it would result in higher taxes or longer waits for care, the Associated Press reported.
The survey by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found Americans initially support “Medicare-for-all,” 56 percent to 42 percent.
But when told that a government-run system could delay receiving care and raise taxes, support plunged to 26 percent.
Only 32 percent supported it if it would threaten the current Medicare program.