The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 5, 2013

Single payer would be worse, more costly


The Mankato Free Press

---- — Recently the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) predicted that in 2014 more than 40 percent of United States citizens will be insured under government sponsored Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIPS). Moreover, many of the remaining who insure through Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges will receive a government subsidy toward their private health insurance premiums. Hopefully those programs will include almost all the truly needy.

But from what I hear and read recently, including The Free Press’s Nov. 4 article on the front page of The Free Press (”Groups push for universal health insurance”), some Democrats, Democrat consultants, and liberal pundits are not satisfied. They prefer single payer government sponsored universal health care for all from birth to death. With many people having expressed dissatisfaction with the ACA roll out and broken promises, this is an opportune time for those progressive Democrats to come to the forefront — again.

Pundit Robert Reich said: “...it would have been cheaper, simpler, and more widely accepted by the public.” Cheaper, simpler; I doubt it. Widely accepted by the public; maybe if they tried to sell it with misinformation (false promises) like they sold the ACA.

Pundit Paul Krugman said: “The government would be your insurer, and you would be covered automatically by being an American...such a system...already exists. It’s called Medicare, it covers all Americans 65 and older...” What Mr. Krugman does not say is that Medicare has co-pays. Most seniors carry a supplemental policy to help with Medicare co-pays; expect the same for all under single payer. I wonder if single payer proponents want to limit private insurance company’s to selling supplemental policies, or if they want to eliminate them entirely.

Let’s take a closer look at what might happen under single payer i.e. socialized medicine. First, to pay for a single payer system like Europe’s projections are federal withholding taxes could increase to about 45 percent of income alone. Add to that an expected increase in state and local taxes.

Second, if the ACA requires 12 million words of regulations to operate imagine how many words of regulations would be required in a single payer system in order to mandate what treatments will be covered, what will be rationed, what medical providers will be approved, etc. I doubt the best and brightest would be interested in entering the medical profession when how they treat their patients might be directed and controlled essentially by government bureaucrats.

Third, actuaries project that when the next generation retires, Medicare will have unfunded liabilities in the trillions. Who knows what the unfunded liabilities would be after a few years of single payer providing health care for over 300 million Americans?

I could go on, but I think I have made my point. Most ideas are bad ideas; ask an inventor. Universal single payer is a bad idea in a Constitutional Republic!

Bob Jentges

North Mankato