Anything is possible, even getting people to accept the impossible. Following are a few excerpts from a recent Wall Street Journal editorial concerning Sen Warren’s proposals for changing America. There is something appealing to everyone which I suppose is the intention.
I have selected only two of the proposals for comment.
Medicare for All tax: Charge companies with at least 50 workers an “Employer Medicare Contribution,” equal to 98% of their recent outlays on health care, while adjusting for inflation and changes in staff size. These varying fees “would be gradually shifted to converge at the average health care cost-per-employee nationally.” Estimated revenue: $8.8 trillion over a decade. If receipts fall short, add a “supplemental” tax on “big companies with extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates.”
Say what? Employer plans with their deductibles and co-pays/co-insurance and networks cost far less than any plan without such things not to mention any provider, any care suggested no questions asked as promised by M4A. In other words, receipts are guaranteed to fall short. And, what has executive compensation to do with any of this; it’s pandering.
Medicare for All: Mandate government coverage for everyone, including for illegal immigrants, with no copays or deductibles. Phase out the private plans of 170 million Americans. She says this would cost $20.5 trillion over a decade, which most economists say is $10 trillion short of reality. Keep the growth of health spending below 4% a year with tools like “population-based budgets” and “automatic rate reductions.”
Say what? “population-based budgets” and “automatic rate reductions.” Think about those words. What do you think that means? What do you think it means when you fit an open-ended promise for “free” health care into a budget? What do you think are the consequences of rate reductions? Do you seriously believe that either can be accomplished without changing how health care is delivered in America, without creating shortages, cost/benefit analysis requirements, increased wait times? An unlimited promise of free and a budget are simply not compatible.
Pay doctors at “Medicare rates” and hospitals at 110% of that. This means cutting payments 25% or more relative to private insurance, per the Mercatus Center’s Charles Blahous. Trim rates further on “overpaid specialties.” To save 70% on branded prescriptions, “negotiate” with drug makers by threatening excise taxes and “public manufacturing” after “overriding the patent.”
Say what? So, you think doctors are overpaid? Relative to who, a college professor, member of Congress, college football coach or union leader?
And, if you cut reimbursement rates, what might happen to utilization rates, especially in the promised “no interference between you and your doctor” environment?
Negotiating with threats is hardly negotiating. Is it possible to cut prices by 70% without consequences? I doubt it. And, those consequences are probably world-wide.
Social Security: Increase benefits by $2,400 a year across the board. Raise them further “for lower-income families, women, people with disabilities, public-sector workers, and people of color” by changing “outdated” rules that Ms. Warren says disadvantage them.
Pay for this by lifting the 12.4% Social Security payroll tax, which today covers wages below $132,900, to 14.8% on wages above $250,000. Establish a matching 14.8% surcharge on net investment income, paid by those earning more than $250,000.
Say what? Nothing much, just throw the basic concept of funding Social Security out the window and turn it into a welfare program. Much can be done via tax laws to improve our retirement system while relying on the actions and initiative of American workers, but why bother, just have government make all our decisions. And what happened to the Social Security 2100 Act? which is still worth consideration.
Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan, Oh My Wall Street Journal