Dr. Kristin Held: ‘Medicare for All’ Completes Government Takeover of Medicine

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a health care rally at the 2017 Convention of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee on September 22, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the California Nurses Association about his Medicare for All Act of 2017 bill. (Photo by …
Justin Sullivan/Getty

San Antonio ophthalmologist Dr. Kristin Held explains how one paragraph of the Democrats’ ‘Medicare for All’ bill completes the federal government’s takeover of health care in the United States.

The bill known as ‘Medicare for All’ already has 123 House Democrat co-sponsors, a fact that makes it more likely such a measure could pass the House if Democrats take control of the chamber.

“Section 104 is huge and astounding,” Held writes in an op-ed published at the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. “This section makes it illegal for health insurers to sell insurance that duplicates benefits of Medicare For All.”

SEC. 104. PROHIBITION AGAINST DUPLICATING COVERAGE.

(a) In General.—It is unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.

(b) Construction.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the sale of health insurance coverage for any additional benefits not covered by this Act, such as for cosmetic surgery or other services and items that are not medically necessary.

“Government completes the takeover of the entire health insurance industry in one small paragraph,” she explains. “Government becomes the single payer, and the transformation from free-market, patient-centered medicine to socialized medicine that serves the common good of the state is complete.”

Held observes the Medicare for All bill entitles all “residents” in the United States to receive the coverage the bill provides.

“Notice, the bill covers residents, not just citizens,” she notes, adding:

The HHS Secretary is given the power to define what constitutes residency. Clearly, the political ideology of the party in the White House will impact this definition. Do you become a resident when your caravan crosses the bridge at the U.S. border? … And, each individual shall receive a card with a unique number in the mail. Congress has repeatedly refused to fund a previous law to assign another number to Americans. Given the government’s record on privacy breaches, what new possibilities for identity theft and other abuses would be unleashed!

The bill does not specify who is “legally qualified” to provide all the free care, Held notes.

“Who will be conscripted to provide all the free care to all ‘residents’ of the U.S. and U.S. territories?” she asks. “Medicare For All commandeers all ‘Healthcare’ Professionals to work for whatever the system deigns to pay.”

Regarding the distribution of medications in a Medicare for All system, Held states:

Who will decide what medications are available to you? The government will establish the drug formulary. In other words, the government will decide the list of medications from which clinicians will be able to prescribe. These may not be the best, most effective, most innovative, safest, or even cost-effective drugs, but they will no doubt be the drugs that special interests have paid-off politicians or other players in order to gain favored status.

According to the bill:

SEC 205. PAYMENT FOR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, AND MEDICALLY NECESSARY ASSISTIVE EQUIPMENT.

(a) Negotiated Prices.—The prices to be paid each year under this Act for covered pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and medically necessary assistive equipment shall be negotiated annually by the Program.

(b) Prescription Drug Formulary.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Program shall establish a prescription drug formulary system, which shall encourage best-practices in prescribing and discourage the use of ineffective, dangerous, or excessively costly medications when better alternatives are available.

The Democrats’ proposal on how to fund medical care for over 300 million additional U.S. residents is “shocking and maddening,” says Held.

“There is not enough money for Medicare to cover its 60 million beneficiaries now,” she writes, continuing:

The money does not exist, so the Medicare For All bill magically creates a new Medicare For All Trust Fund. It confiscates all money that previously went to Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and any other healthcare allocation and transfers it into the Trust Fund. It creates a multitude of new taxes on the American taxpayers—“small” and “modest” being undefined—and increases existing taxes. It then grants itself a blank check and empowers the HHS Secretary to estimate what might have been spent on all healthcare, take that amount from the U.S. Treasury, and deposit it in the Medicare For All Trust Fund. There is no limit on the amount that could be transferred.

Held explains that as Democrats are campaigning on the so-called ease and comprehensiveness of a Medicare for All system, many Americans are falling for the deception.

“Medicare For All will not solve all the problems that Medicare For Some created; it will make things tremendously worse,” she asserts.

“No one can in good conscience cast a vote for a candidate that is running on such incompetency,” she concludes. “Anyone running on this bill either has not read it or is a devout socialist intent on completing the fundamental transformation of the United States of America, destroying the U.S. economy, and shredding our Constitution once and for all.”

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