Medicare For All and the Warren Conundrum

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Elizabeth Warren – Caricature by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

One of the big proposals coming out of the Democrat’s clown car is an endorsement by several candidates of something called “Medicare For All,” or M4A in political-speak.  Bear with me for a moment before I get into an important detail of this.  Since the start, the 2020 presidential election is certainly not about who will be the best candidate to run the government most efficiently.  It is, instead, at least from the side of the Democrats, how to transform the country.  They are pledging to rip out the old racist, xenophobic, sexist America and replace it with something else.  It will be new and different…it will be Nordic.  The very heart of this new America is Medicare For All since the Democrats have discovered some penumbra or emanation from those inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Chief among the proponents of M4A are, of course, everyone’s favorite socialist Bernie Sanders and his twin sister, Elizabeth Warren who is, according to some polls and pundits, the Democrat’s frontrunner right now.  So what exactly is it?  It is not some tweaking of regulations or improvements on Obamacare.  It is outright socialism.  Health care spending accounts for about 20% of the American economy.  Even the staunchest conservative can agree that this percentage is too high.  However, Warren’s plan demands almost complete control of the American economy, or at least 20% of it (still a huge chunk) almost immediately with no questions asked.  It would make it the biggest expansion of the federal government since World War II.  Obamacare and the War on Poverty would pale in comparison.

There is one tiny detail missing in Warren’s plan: how much would it cost and who would pay for it?  Despite repeated requests, Warren has refused to answer the question preferring instead to deflect the questions to other areas, usually some tirade against the 1%.  However, we now have an estimate and it comes from none other than the very liberal Urban Institute.  This is a group with no agenda to take down Warren.  They are about as socialist as they come when talking about think tanks.

That very liberal group estimates that in just its first ten years, M4A would cost taxpayers a whopping $34 trillion.  That is trillion with a “t.”  Before a single dollar is spent on defense, education, Social Security or anything else, $34 trillion would be dedicated to M4A.  Now consider that in the same time period, the CBO estimates that the government will take in about $46 trillion in revenue, the picture gets worse.  In other words, about 75% of federal spending will be dedicated to health care or 20% of the economy.  Closing every conceivable tax loophole, eliminating every tax credit or deductions, and massive tax increases would not approximate the cost of M4A.

Considering that the Urban Institute did not even factor in these benefits going to every person who snuck across the border illegally and lives in the country, the price tag increases since Warren’s plan pledges to cover even illegal immigrants.

As for who pays for it, let’s do some math.  The $34 trillion is divided by 10 years for an average of $3.4 trillion per year.  Next, divide that number by 320 million people and you get over $10,000 per person.  That is per person, not taxpayer!  That means every worker, every retiree, every child, every prisoner… everyone!  It would take such an enormous tax increase of historic proportions that Canada and Mexico would be well-served to build walls on their borders with the United States to keep out fleeing Americans.

How one pays for M4A is not some minor detail that can be worked out by number crunchers at some future date.  Warren seems to think it is just that.  Since being pressured by precious few people, including some Democrats, she has promised to address the cost and how it is paid for in the coming weeks.  Of course, she did not mention any definitive timeline for the release of that plan.

To Warren and other Democrats, things like the cost, how things get paid for, whether things are even constitutional in the first place, or whether Americans really even want certain things are inconsequential minor details.  In an intoxicating fashion, she has seen the future and that future is government control of everything.

To her credit, Warren is a policy nut.  She has released detailed policy proposals on her campaign website including the anticipated costs.  That makes her reluctance to answer the questions about (1) the cost and (2) who pays regarding Medicare For All that much more suspicious.  She can detail the small things, but not the largest proposed federal government power grab in history.  Given the costs involved, one cannot imagine her proposal costing anything less than the destruction of the American economy.

Warren needs to tread carefully here with any explanation of how she intends to pay for this.  It could potentially be a candidacy-killer.  She may survive a Democrat Party primary or nomination process with the time-honored pablum of the Left, but it would be a considerably harder sell in a general election.  If anyone thinks Trump will let her squirm her way off the mat over this, they have seriously underestimated the President.

In the interim, this writer will be waiting for Warren’s proposal on how and who will pay for M4A.  But, I will not be holding my breath.


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