The FEHBlog was taken with Peggy Noonan's Medicare for All discussion in her latest Wall Street Journal column about last week's Democrat Presidential candidate debates --
I never minded the phrase “Medicare for All” because I figured it meant this: “We would like Medicare or some other governmental entity to be available to all who need it, and will come up with ways to ease them in and give people in trouble a break. What everyone wants is the plastic card in the wallet that says you’ve got coverage, so the ambulance isn’t turned away and the kids are treated. We can work this out. We’re America.”
America would respond to that. A great nation must take care of its stressed, its incapable, its unlucky.
But I don’t think that the American people understood, at least until the first debates, that Medicare for All means this: “All private insurance is abolished, we’re taking it away, you’re going to be forced into a program we’ll run, we’re going to squish this down on your head, the hospitals will have to conform with our directives whether they bankrupt it or not, and the health-insurance industry and its jobs will be extinguished.”
And on top of that we will all have to pretend the cost of this will come from savings due to reduced paperwork, or a tax on the wealthy.
It’s all so crazy. I heard no one in the debates say, “Guys, you are making a mistake to give the state all the power in this area. The government can rarely make things dramatically better in huge and complicated matters like this, but it is always capable of making it worse.”
I would be very surprised if most people watching didn’t think that’s exactly what they’ll do, make it worse.
I didn’t hear anyone say, “As you revolutionize the entire health sector, you have to be leery of upsetting all the things that make American medicine, for all its flaws, the most advanced and cutting-edge system in the world, with the greatest doctors and scientists.”Amen to that. It certainly would make more sense to provide needy people with better access to government funded health centers combined with good catastrophic insurance protection.
Some candidates pointed out that such sweeping plans were impractical, unrealistic, unworkable. I didn’t hear any philosophical or historical reservations.