Promises, promises. let’s make health care free; cover virtually all services and save lot’s of money in the process. Hey, they do it in Europe, right? Not exactly, and that’s a little secret those trying to buy your vote don’t talk about. The fact is you can’t have it all and not pay for it one way or the other.
I have been trying to point that out for years and most recently related to the Sanders Medicare for all plan. Sanders simply fails to understand that Americans view health care very differently than Europeans (even if they don’t know it). 😷
Here is another take on the subject.
Bloomberg View 1-21-16.
European countries manage to keep their health spending down by reducing patient choices on diagnostic tests, new technologies, expensive drugs and costly procedures such as hip and knee replacements to what their governments define as “medically necessary.” Administrators and physician panels, not patients, decide what’s necessary. Another word for this is rationing.
Rationing would have to take place under the Sanders plan, too. He would have a “board of medical experts” decide which elective procedures, cosmetic surgeries or prescription drugs patients could get.
The U.S. spends about $3 trillion a year on health care, or about $10,000 a person. Sanders claims that, by getting rid of third-party claims processing and the need for insurers to make a profit, and by making the health system more efficient, he could cut $10 trillion over 10 years in costs.
But as my colleague Megan McArdle wrote, what Sanders is really saying is that, after cutting out insurers, he’d still somehow force about a third to a fifth of existing costs out of hands-on patient care. And that means hospitals and doctors would have to accept far less in reimbursements. Patients would go from fighting insurers over claims to fighting the federal government to approve the procedures they want to have and the specialists they want to see.
Politically, it’s a hard sell. Remember the ruckus during the Obamacare debate over a comparatively modest proposal to let Medicare cover end-of-life patient-care counseling? Opponents likened the counseling boards to “death panels” and the proposal died. What’s more, Sanders conflates “healthier” with “happier” by failing to see that what makes Americans happy is good health plus the ability to see specialist doctors when they want, obtain second and third opinions and have aging body parts replaced so they can keep playing tennis past their prime years.