Bernie Sanders Can’t Guarantee Anything, Let Alone Universal Adequate Healthcare

What frightens me about this video posted on Time Magazine’s YouTube channel is that it seems many Americans are so delusional that they believe what Bernie Sanders promises.

Bernie Sanders claims that critics are taking a “cheap shot” against him when they say he will raise taxes to pay for universal and comprehensive health care (“no deductibles”).

I think it is more like shooting fish in a barrel. Sanders has given his opponents a clear and easy opportunity to attack him for planning to plunder the American people.

But let’s deal with his retort.

Bernie Sanders spells out a hypothetical family situation: They spend $10,000 a year on healthcare total. Sanders gets the government to pay the entire $10,000 but raises the family’s taxes by an additional $5,000 in taxes each year. According to Sanders, his critics are taking a cheap shot by accusing him of raising taxes $5,000 a year in this hypothetical scenario. What he has actually done is lowered medical costs by $5,000, he claims.

On the contrary, what he has actually done is take away at least half of the family’s healthcare.

In a free market, prices go down because the system encourages efficiency. Providers compete with one another to provide the highest quality at the lowest price.

Since at least World War II, the government has interfered with the market for healthcare. Then it has attempted to solve the problems it created by interfering more. Obamacare was the most recent stage in that process. The results were thus the same as before: quality has gone down and the cost has gone up.

Having the government directly pay for healthcare does nothing to reverse the trend of price inflation. So when he spells out a plan in which a family only pays $5,000 for healthcare (in taxes) instead of $10,000 he is threatening to at least cut in half the amount of healthcare they are able to purchase.

Of course, Sanders probably intends some kind of price controls. The Washington Times reports that he claims his idea “would help lower overall health costs in the U.S. by giving the government more leverage with drug companies and other health industries.”

Would he bankrupt them? If not, then how can he really use this leverage that he has. People voluntarily work in the health industries. If he takes away their incentive to do so, they will go find work elsewhere.

Do you really think that the Post Office is superior to FedEx? Do you want your doctor’s office to become more like the Department of Motor Vehicles? Remember the veterans who died waiting for treatment from the VA hospitals who illegally delayed them until it was too late?

Bernie Sanders is asking you to forget what you know on the basis of his promise that he can take care of you. He is no more trustworthy than the guy who told us that we could keep our doctor.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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