His new and improved Medicare-for-All 2023 bill would be an even more aggressive government takeover of U.S. health care.
Now that Sen. Sanders chairs the Senate’s powerful Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, expect an even stronger push than last session when he chaired the Budget Committee.
It seems incredible that after governments’ epic errors during Covid anyone would think we should turn ALL of health care over to the federal government. But, in a mere 131 pages, Sen. Sanders would do just that—completely outlawing private insurance, replacing existing government health programs including Medicare with this new socialist system, and running what is now a $4.1 trillion U.S. health care system out of Washington.
This bill, co-sponsored in the House by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell, isn’t to be taken lightly. It has the support of nearly half of House Democrats and 14 senators plus a long list of outside organizations.
There is no chance it will reach the floor of the Senate this session, and the bill won’t even get a hearing in the House, but he is playing the long game and waiting until political forces are favorably aligned—and taking baby steps whenever possible toward his vision.
Which is why we have to keep educating the American people about the dangers of this approach. Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution provides the best and most current factual arguments against socialized medicine we’ve seen, citing experience in other countries:
- Canadians with already diagnosed heart disease wait a median of 16.4 weeks for their first treatment; for neurosurgery after already seeing a doctor, they wait 58.9 weeks – more than one year.
- The UK’s Institute for Public Policy projected it will take seven years for cancer chemotherapy missed during Covid and 12 years for missed radiation therapy backlogs to clear. Many will diewaiting.
Why follow this path when “the U.S. has had consistently superior survivals from cancer than single-payer systems, a fact Europeans begrudgingly admit, as well as best treatment outcomes for diabetes, high bloodpressure, stroke and heart disease.”
“Government-run health care has failed the world over,” Dr. Atlas writes. “It’s time for individuals to stop politicians from disregarding facts while recklessly imposing their power, and instead demand control of the health care dollar and choices on how to spend it.”
Sen. Sanders says he wants “to end the international embarrassment of the U.S. being the only major country that doesn’t guarantee health care.”
But that is also wrong. We have dozens of major federal and state health care programs that target care and provide coverage to specific populations so that virtually everyone has access to health coverage. And anyone can show up anytime at any hospital in America to get emergency care, regardless of ability to pay.
But Bernie is pressing on. Next week, Sanders’ HELP Committee is expected to mark up and send to the floor a pandemic preparedness act where he is expected to add an amendment that would impose aggressive price controls on drugs, medical devices, and other medical technologies.
Sanders wants to cap the U.S. cost for any product supported by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority or the Centers for Disease Control “at the lowest price among G7 countries” — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
This “reasonable price” provision would hammer innovation as private companies are forced to sell their products at a price determined by countries thousands of miles away—with different economic and political forces, countries that are crushing their medical innovation industries.
Americans need to wake up to the encroaching and very real threats to a country where waiting times are in days not weeks, months, or years, and where survival rates when we do get sick are among the highest in the world.
Grace-Marie Turner runs the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization that she founded in 1995 to promote an informed debate over free-market ideas for health reform.