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May 18, 2022

Bernie Brings Back Medicare for All

What better time than during rampant inflation to turn over one-fifth of the economy entirely to the government?

With government spending at an all-time high, inflation running rampant, the Biden administration stuffing Ukraine’s wartime coffers to the tune of $40 billion, and Democrats contemplating spending even more money on relieving thousands of borrowers from paying off their own student loans, Bernie Sanders picked this to be the time to bring back the old chestnut of Medicare for All.

In an op-ed posted at, of all places, Fox News, Sanders told us what we already knew: “The United States has the most dysfunctional, inefficient, bureaucratic and expensive health care system in the world.” That would be the same health system Democrats “fixed” in 2009 with ObamaCare.

Citing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Sanders claims we spend “an unbelievable $12,530 per person for health care.” Actually, we do believe it, but the question is why we spend so much. Sanders, of course, blames insurance company and Big Pharma greed for ratcheting up costs. Then he makes the dubious assertion that “the Congressional Budget Office estimated that Medicare for All would save Americans $650 billion a year.” Even if you take Sanders at his word, though, that will only knock the cost per American down about $2,000. Funny, there was a president a few years back who claimed his healthcare solution would save us about that much, and we see how well that worked.

Indeed, Sanders tacitly acknowledges how well it worked: “Despite this huge expenditure [per person], 30 million Americans have no insurance at all and 112 million struggle to pay for the health care they need.” Ergo, he argues, Congress should pass his Medicare for All Act of 2022 and turn over even more of our healthcare to the same party that screwed it up so badly in 2009.

Once Steven Hayward at Power Line realized that Fox News hadn’t become a satire site by running the Sanders piece, he disassembled most of Sanders’s contention in one sentence: “It is federal regulation that has driven the bureaucratization and cost explosion of health care in both the public and private sector.” We would add only that the states are often right behind the feds with additional mandates in coverage.

Having lived through ObamaCare and its various iterations, such as the “public option” proposal, state-based “exchanges,” and the short-lived boondoggle of “risk corridors,” there’s little doubt that the federal government would mess up the one-car funeral of Medicare for All, too.

John Hinderaker must have heard Hayward laughing, so he piled on with his own assessment of Bernie’s retread proposal, reminding us of how government healthcare works oh-so-well across the pond in the UK, where a new book by a former head of the National Health Service describes a “cover-up culture.” Meanwhile, says Hinderaker, British citizens who need dental work are having a harder time finding dentists because nearly 90% of them won’t accept new patients. That’s our future under Medicare for All.

We’re not going to sit here and tell you that the system we have is perfectly fine, but the tweaks that are required to correct it don’t point it in the direction of more government intervention. The symptoms are right there to see when you visit your doctor’s office and see an entire staff of non-medical professionals whose job is made necessary by the complexity put in place by both the government and private-sector insurance — although the latter is often simply made to conform with the former. In fact, you may see those staffers longer than you see your doctor, who is being forced by the powers that be to rush through patient care in order to keep the business going.

If we can lower that artificial overhead, that would quickly give us a savings we can live with.

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