Bidencare: A Straight Line to Government-Run Healthcare | Citizens Against Government Waste

Bidencare: A Straight Line to Government-Run Healthcare

The WasteWatcher

Former Vice President Biden argued in the October 22 debate with President Trump that he does not want “Medicare for All,” or socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) government-run healthcare system.  Instead, he said he wants Bidencare, which would add a “public option” to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, to compete with private insurers.  He claimed his opposition to "Medicare for All" helped him win the Democratic primary

But Bidencare is "Medicare for All" by another name and would be a steady, straight line to single-payer, or government-run healthcare.  This is precisely what supporters of the public option have said.  Yale Political Science Professor Jacob Hacker, who has been called the father of the public option, admitted as much in 2008 when speaking to a friendly crowd at the Tides Foundation, a left-of-center public policy organization.  He said, “someone once said to me this is a Trojan Horse for single-payer.  I said well it’s not a Trojan Horse, right?  It’s right there, I’m telling you. We’re going to get there over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employment-based health insurance, as we should, but we’ll do it in a way that were not going to frame people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance, we’re going to give them a choice of public and private insurance when they’re in the pool and were going to let them keep their private, employment-based insurance if their employer continues to provide it.”

Like most leftists that like to cover their tracks, Professor Hacker later tried to walk it back.  But his 2007 plan, “Health Care for America,” called for the creation of a new public insurance pool option that would compete with private insurance.  Employers would be asked to either provide coverage that was just as good or contribute a “modest pay-roll based” contribution to help finance the public option.  Those that were self-employed, or those with no employer-sponsored insurance, could buy into the plan.  States would be given “powerful incentives to enroll any remaining uninsured.”

The Lewin Group prepared a cost analysis for the “Health Care for America” proposal in 2008 that said, “Private employers who currently offer coverage would save $65.6 billion by discontinuing their insurance and enroll their workers in HCA by paying the tax.”  While the public option was seriously considered during the healthcare reform debate in 2010, it was rejected.  However, the public option never went away and now it is making a comeback.

It is unarguable that a public option would have access to government funding to reduce premiums and subsidize costs.  Employers would be incentivized to drop their private insurance because the tax, at least at the beginning, would be less expensive than providing private insurance.  Pacific Research Institute CEO Sally Pipes pointed out in her October 25 Fox News opinion piece that these advantages would make it difficult for the private sector to provide coverage and “slowly but surely, private health insurance companies would leave the market, unable to compete.”

Providing lower payments to providers like doctors and hospitals may sound like it would be less costly to the entire healthcare system, but Pipes, a former Canadian who became an American citizen in 2006, understands the detriments of single-payer, government-run healthcare very well.  She pointed out that private insurance pays hospitals about 2.5 times more than what Medicare pays and former Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney found that in discussions with hospital CEOs that if their hospitals were paid the Medicare rate for all procedures, all of them would close.  While Pipes suggests that statement may have been overblown, hospitals would still “suffer serious financial harm with such a big cut in their revenue” and “some would undoubtedly close.”

Canada, and other countries that have a government-run systems, are well known for their wait times to get access to care and rationing, especially for elective procedures.  Pipes reiterated that Medicare’s Part A hospital insurance fund is set to be exhausted in four years and  “Biden's proposal would add to these financial woes by bringing another 23 million Americans into the program at an estimated cost of $200 billion over the next decade.”

Healthcare can be much cheaper if there are fewer doctors or permanent cuts are made in payments to hospitals and other providers.  But Americans want good healthcare, not cheap healthcare, and they do not want government bureaucrats and politicians telling them what they can have.  When the federal government took over the individual market under ACA, people lost their doctors and their health plan in spite of President Obama’s (and his vice president’s) promises.  Every aspect of the American people’s healthcare should not be turned over to Washington’s politicians and bureaucrats.  But if the nation accepts Bidencare, it will be.

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