Pollak: Three Obvious Reasons ‘Medicare for All’ Won’t Work

Single-Payer Health Care protester (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

Many Democrats are running in the 2018 midterm elections on a promise to provide “Medicare for All.”

They are proving Republicans right: the GOP warned Obamacare was a “Trojan Horse,” designed to fail so Democrats could replace it with a totally socialist system.

“Medicare for All” is more of a brand than a real policy, a way “progressives” set themselves apart from the party establishment.

But there are at least three obvious reasons “Medicare for All” is a crock.

1. It failed in Vermont, Bernie Sanders’s home state. That’s right — the guy running around promoting “Medicare for All” could not make it work in his own little state: it was far too expensive, and too complicated. The idea failed to pass in California for the same reason: it would have cost more than twice the annual budget. A recent study showed “Medicare for All” would cost $38 trillion over the first 10 years — again, twice the current federal budget.

2. You think you’re getting “Medicare,” but you’d get “Medicaid” — if you’re lucky. Medicaid is the insurance policy for the poor, and it is plagued by chronic problems. Not only is it a huge financial burden, but many doctors do not accept Medicaid insurance: you cannot get the doctor or the care that you want. That is what “Medicare for All” would look likeonce the resources of the Medicare system were stretched to cover everyone else. Medicare is already very complicated, subject to fraud, over-spending, and endless bureaucracy. The idea of adding at least an additional 250 million or so people to the roughly 50 million Medicare now serves would be a recipe for disaster.

3. You can’t have universal health care and open borders. The same people who say we should have “Medicare for All” also want to allow as many immigrants into the country as possible — legal or illegal. That would swiftly bankrupt and destroy whatever health care the government managed to provide, leaving Americans with nothing.

So what is the Republican alternative? While it is true that Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare — since voters feared losing the bad health insurance they still had — they did make Obamacare cheaper by repealing the individual mandate and expanding short-term insurance options.

The Republican position is essentially this: “We also want universal coverage; we just don’t think it should, or can, come from the government.”

President Donald Trump has, in the past, praised the Australian model, where the government covers basic health care and private insurance covers everything else.

Individual states also have different preferences: some may want a bigger government role, some a smaller one.

The real answer lies somewhere between these options — not in cheap “Resistance” slogans.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.