V.P. Biden's Plan is Really a Side Door to Medicare for All | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

V.P. Biden's Plan is Really a Side Door to Medicare for All

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.


Today, former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden offered his healthcare plan, the “Affordable Care Act 2.0.”  It would keep and build on Obamacare and provide a public option or mechanism for people to buy into a government-run plan. Biden says he would provide "free premiums" to low-income people that live in states that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare, allowing them to utilize the public option; permit the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “negotiate” drug prices; allow the importation of drugs from other countries; and, expand tax credits so people could buy insurance.  The cost would be $750 billion over 10 years, paid for by reversing all the tax cuts enacted under President Trump.

The former vice president is introducing his plan as an alternative to Medicare for All.  A January 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 56 to 42 percent of voters like the idea of Medicare for All.  But, Biden understands that once people learn more about that plan, the less they like it.  Support drops when people realize they would not be able to keep their private insurance, whether their employer provides it or not; that their taxes would substantially go up to pay for it; that such a plan would eliminate choice and eventually ration care; and, that the current Medicare program would disappear.

Just like former President Obama did, Joe Biden is making promises about his healthcare plan that cannot be achieved, such as “if you like your employer-based insurance, you get to keep it” and that there would be subsidies to make Obamacare more “affordable.”

Price negotiation already occurs in Medicare Part D; therefore, Biden’s proposal really means the HHS secretary will be allowed to institute price controls into the popular drug plan.  Price controls always lead to fewer products and choice.  As for importing foreign drugs, Citizens Against Government Waste has written about this dangerous fallacy numerous times.

While a public option buy-in sounds enticing, just like the witch’s gingerbread house with all its sweet goodies was to Hansel and Gretel, it is the door to a single-payer government-run system for everyone.  In the beginning, the federal government will have access to unlimited tax dollars to fund the program, will use price controls to keep costs down just as it does in regular Medicare today, and will be able to set premiums low.  The result will be the crowding out of private insurance.

Once private insurance is gone, there will be no more options for healthcare coverage.  People will look to and depend upon politicians and bureaucrats for their health needs. 

Hansel and Gretel understood quickly not to trust the witch; they were able to outsmart her and save themselves.  Let’s hope the American people are just as wise about Biden’s enticing proposal.

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