Ask Democrats whether they support “Medicare for All” and the vast majority will say yes. Ask them what’s actually in it, and most don’t have a clue. That, at least, is what a new survey shows.
The Kaiser Family Foundation asked multiple questions about Medicare for All, and broke down the findings by partisan affiliation. You’d expect that Democrats, who have been calling for single-payer for decades, and now have two bills in Congress that would achieve it, would be the most well-informed of anyone.
It turns out, they are the worst informed. Both Republicans and independents have a much better grasp of what Bernie Sanders and many other would-be presidents want to impose on the country.
Take the question of whether people could keep their private insurance plans under Medicare for All.
Two-thirds of Democrats think that private employer-provided health plans would continue. Sixty-five percent think that individuals happy with their current plans could keep them. Sixty-one percent think individuals and employers would continue to pay premiums.
Wrong on all counts.
The actual bills — which many Democratic presidential candidates have co-sponsored or heartily endorsed — would outlaw all private insurance, whether it’s provided by employers or bought on the individual market. It’s right there in the bills, which ban any private plan that covers anything covered by Medicare for All.
In fact, the whole point of Medicare for All is to eliminate private insurance. That’s why it’s called “single-payer” health care. So why are so many Democrats misinformed about this? Among Republicans, only 44% and 42% say that employers and individuals could keep their private plans. Only 48% of Republicans get the answer about premiums wrong.
The survey also finds that 71% of Democrats say people would continue to pay deductibles under Medicare for All.
Both the House and Senate bills explicitly forbid any deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance.
How about provider payments? Only 42% of Democrats say that Medicare for All would entail cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals. Among Republicans, 64% say provider pay would get cut.
Correct answer? Cuts in pay. Steep cuts, in fact. Sanders own plan figures he can save $500 billion a year by slashing what doctors and hospitals currently receive from private payers.
And while 71% of Democrats answer correctly that taxes would increase under Medicare for All, that means more than a quarter of them are hopelessly ignorant about this plan. It’s likely that hardly any Democrat grasps the magnitude of the tax hikes required.
A low-ball Medicare for All cost estimate is $32 trillion over 10 years. Even a doubling of all individual and corporate income taxes wouldn’t be enough to cover that bill. The survey found that 85% of Republicans say taxes would go up for most Americans.
So why the incredible knowledge gap? Maybe it’s wishful thinking, or willful ignorance among those who identify as Democrats.
Most likely it’s because Democrats pushing Medicare for All aren’t telling their own party how radical it truly is. That makes sense, since they know that when the public learns that it means giving up your health plan, paying higher taxes and suffering interminable waits for treatment, support for socialized medicine craters.
The mainstream media — which Democrats rely on more than Republicans for their information — share much of the blame as well. It’s been busy covering up Medicare for All’s radicalism, rather than exposing it.
And radical it is. No country on the planet does what Medicare for All proposes — 100% “free” coverage of anything and everything that can be labeled health care. Even so-called socialist countries require plenty of out-of-pocket spending and don’t cover everything imaginable. Heck, in Communist China people pay almost a third of the nation’s health costs out of pocket.
Meanwhile, those countries that went furthest toward Sanders’ dream of socialized medicine are now retreating — a point we highlighted in this space recently.
Democrats say that health care is their No. 1 issue. It’s time they came to grips with what their own party has in mind.
— Written by John Merline
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