The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Healthcare Remains a Top Issue in November Elections

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Healthcare remains a top issue among voters for the upcoming November 2018 elections.  In a September 26, Pew Research poll, 88 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans believe healthcare is second in importance to Supreme Court nominations. Considering the intense debate swirling around the Supreme Court, that is significant.  Healthcare ranks higher than the economy and that should be somewhat disconcerting for Republicans since their policies have revitalized economic growth but have been unable to replace Obamacare.  A June NBC and Wall Street Journal poll showed similar results; healthcare was the number one issue for potential voters.

Another poll in August zeroed in on healthcare alone and found that prescription drug pricing and universal, or single payer, healthcare coverage are essentially tied at 58 and 57 percent respectively as voters’ top concerns.

The Trump administration is working to bring down drug prices and Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has encouraged polices that spur on competition and less government interference to lower drug prices.

But addressing the single-payer issue, or government-run healthcare, presents a much different situation.  A Reuters-Ispos survey in August found that 70 percent of Americans support Medicare for All, sometimes referred to as M4A, the health insurance plan being pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont.)  The numbers break down to 85 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans in support of this this idea.  Those are startling numbers.

Most Americans are comfortable with the concept of Medicare.  It has been around since 1965 and the elderly like it -- alot.  But, few people realize that Medicare, according to the Medicare Trustees, is on schedule to go broke in 2026.  They do not know that many doctors limit the number of Medicare patients they see or have limitations on new Medicare patients they accept because of the program’s price controlled  structure.

Even fewer people realize that Sen. Sander’s M4A is not like Medicare as we know it.  CAGW laid out in an August 2018 Waste Watcher, “The #M4A Price Tag Makes it DOA,” how the Sander’s plan is constructed and the problems that always accompany single-payer systems, such as its massive expense and the utilization of rationing and price controls to contain costs.

Unfortunately, while the House Republicans have offered plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Senate has not, and the Democrats see an opening for a fully integrated government-run plan.  But, there is an idea perculating in the halls of the Senate that can bring to a halt to the notion that Washington bureaucrats and politicians are better at determining the type of healthcare you should receive.  Called Health Care Choices, it is a proposal that would essentially take all the federal money being spent on Obamacare and given to insurance companies and instead, send it back to the states and their citizens in the form of federal grants.  The money could be used to help those with pre-existing conditions and people with low incomes get access to private health insurance and/or Medicaid.  The funding would help to stabilize premiums in the individual market and bring down costs.  CAGW wrote about this plan in August and work continues on Capitol Hill in crafting legislative language.

What is lacking is congressional fortitude to get it done.  People who care about getting Washington out of healthcare decision-making and returning it back to their states and to the people should demand action on the Health Care Choices plan from their elected representatives.

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