At the recent Democratic debates despite all the jabs back and forth, the issue of Medicare for all seems to be taking center stage as the key Democratic issue for the 2020 presidential election. All the candidates seemed to raise their hand wanting free medical care to all new illegal immigrants – not sure about legal immigrants. But America seems to be struggling to decide whether healthcare is a human right or something that would be just a good goal. Now that the Trump administration has effectively dismantled Obamacare, and though promised, has no effective replacement for it, the question we have is what is the likelihood of a Medicare for all type plan (universal healthcare) to come to America in the next few years?
The budget for the fiscal year 2019 is based on these pillars: the safety and security of Americans, a stronger and healthier economy, enhanced quality of life, and a commitment to a better future. Creating the national budget for the fiscal year is a process that begins with the presidential budget The national spending is organized into three primary categories and is typically budgeted from the first day of the month of October until the end of September of the following year. The federal budget for the 2019 fiscal year is at $4.407 trillion.
Keeping to our no agenda stance, News Forecasters took a look at the current believed costs for a Medicare for all type plan would be. Here are a couple of links we chose for supporting data: here and here (this link provides the current political stance of each 2020 presidential candidate). There are quite a few articles written on this (you can Google it yourself) and what we found was that it is really quite remarkable how closely they all tend to agree (left and right politically), in terms of costs. Probably the differences will come in how much coverage would be provided and whether it would be government-supplied or privately supplied. It has always been a debate on whether public or private funded activities, in the end, are cheaper. News Forecasters believes that at best they are the same, giving any edges to the privatization approach – but for this argument, for now let’s call it even. So let’s be clear. Medicare for all will add between $1.3 to $3.6 trillion dollars per year to the U.S. federal budget.
To be deficit-neutral, this means taxes would need to rise by about 30 to 80%. Will the American taxpayer accept this? Some say, well we’ll just get the rich to pay for this. Others say we will just take it out of defense spending, besides we don’t need all these foreign wars correct? Well … the approved 2019 Department of Defense discretionary budget is $686.1 billion. It has also described it as “$617 billion for the base budget and another $69 billion for war funding.” So even if we disbanded the entire U.S. military force it would still only pay 50% of the cheapest Medicare for all plan.
But wait a minute. I think most people would agree that it would be a good thing that everyone has healthcare coverage. Don’t other countries do it? The U.S. spends about 18% of its GDP on healthcare, other countries that have universal healthcare spend far less, averaging around 10 to 14% of GDP. How do they do it? These are the details that no one wants to talk about. Here are News Forecasters main reality checkpoints:
- Manged healthcare rationing – critics call this “pushing granny off the cliff.” 80% of healthcare is in the last 2 years of life.
- Wage control on healthcare workers – often healthcare workers make 25 to 50% less in these other universal healthcare countries.
- Torte control – extreme limits to what you can sue for malpractice.
- Innovation reduction – much of the global healthcare innovation is being paid by the American healthcare user. This would need to stop.
So yes it is possible to reduce healthcare costs, thereby providing universal healthcare coverage, but only if these main reality checkpoints are addressed. In the current American political climate, this will be very difficult to achieve (in 2020 regardless who wins the presidency, it will never pass the U.S. Senate, let alone the House) – I think most people understand this. Which answers the original question: will Medicare for all come to America in a few short years? The answer is no. Anyone telling you differently is delusional.