‘Medicare for None’

‘ Democrats want the American people to fork over a record-breaking percentage of our gross domestic product in taxes for the privilege of having their health plans ripped away from them, even if they’re happy with what they have. And the middle class is going to pay for it. All this, and I haven’t even begun to explain how this takeover would cut Americans’ access to care and degrade the quality of care.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding a bill from House Democrats that would force all Americans into a government-run healthcare system:

“All week I’ve been spotlighting our Democratic colleagues’ hard left turn toward socialism. Their fixation on gaining more government control over more of Americans’ lives. With the Democrat Politician Protection Act, Washington Democrats want to control more of what Americans can say about them and how they get elected. With the so-called ‘Green New Deal,’ Washington Democrats want our government to spend more money than the entire GDP of the entire world on new spending programs to forcibly remodel Americans’ homes, take away our cars, dramatically increase energy costs, and disarm our economy while China roars ahead.

“You might think that right there is plenty of left-wing social engineering. But Democrats aren’t stopping there. They’re coming after Americans’ healthcare, and their private insurance plans, too. Earlier this week House Democrats introduced a bill that would take away every private insurance option that American families rely on and force everyone into a single government-run system. Employer-sponsored coverage wouldn’t just be discouraged -- it would be illegal!

“They want to call this legislation ‘Medicare for all.’  It’s really more like ‘Medicare for none.’ It completely explodes the Medicare system as it currently exists. The program that our seniors have paid into for decades and now rely on – Democrats want that gone. Remember, by the time Americans turn 65, most have paid tens and tens of thousands of dollars into the current system through Medicare taxes. According to one estimate, Americans with average earnings who reached retirement age back in 2015 will have paid a present value of more than $70,000 into Medicare over the years.

“American seniors have counted on Medicare. They’ve planned around it. They’ve paid into it with every paycheck. But now, House Democrats have decided it’s time to change the rules on them in the middle of the game. They want to tear down Medicare until the only thing left is the name, and slap that name on a completely different system that a few House Democrats invented, and that Democratic Socialists of America is ‘proud to endorse.’ Then Democrats propose to take that new government system and pile every single American into it. One size fits all -- long waits for treatment, higher costs, and an end to Medicare as we know it. No choice, no options, and no alternatives allowed.

“More than 170 million Americans currently get health insurance through their employers. Surveys show that a majority are actually fairly happy with their own specific plans. Too bad – Democrats want those families thrown off those plans. Within two years, their proposal would make private health insurance as Americans know it illegal across the board. It would be unlawful for employers to offer health benefits to their employees, and their families.

“It’s right there in the bill. Quote -- ‘It shall be unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage… [or] an employer to provide benefits… that duplicate the benefits provided under this Act’ by the government. We all remember Obamacare’s famous broken promise: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor too.’ That was the pledge before the Democrats’ policy was actually implemented. Not long after, the fact-checkers named that promise their ‘Lie of the Year.’

“Well, this time around, my Democratic friends are not even bothering to pretend that families’ lives wouldn’t be disrupted. A reporter asked one of our Senate colleagues who is running for president – quote – ‘So for people out there who like their insurance, they don’t get to keep it?’ Her response: ‘Let’s eliminate all of that.’ All the plans that American families like and rely on, made illegal by this bill. Not just unaffordable, not just inconvenient -- illegal. All to clear space for a new government takeover.

“And how much is this massive takeover going to cost? Well, under even conservative estimates, this proposal would cost more than $32 trillion over its first ten years. Thirty-two trillion dollars. More than the federal government spent on everything over the past eight years combined. Where’s that money coming from? I think we all know the answer to that: Massive tax hikes on the American people, cuts to services, rationing of healthcare, broken promises and debt. Here’s what one economist found in the numbers. Quote: ‘The Federal Reserve’s data only go back to 1929, but it’s unlikely that the government ever collected more than 20 percent of GDP in taxes. To fully fund Medicare-for-all, that figure would have to rise to more than 30 percent of GDP.’

“Now, I’m sure we’ll hear the class-warfare rhetoric about soaking the rich and making a small group of Americans pay for all of this. But it won’t be true. The bill for this $32 trillion takeover would land squarely on middle-class families. There’s no way around it. Even if the IRS confiscated every dollar of Americans’ adjusted gross incomes over one million dollars — if the IRS took every single cent over $1 million — it would not even pay for half of this proposal. Class warfare might be a favorite tactic across the aisle. But numbers are stubborn things. Math is math. The costs would have to fall on the middle class. They’d fall on everyone, one way or another. That economist said it this way: ‘The simple fact is that financing Medicare-for-all would require a dramatic shift in the federal tax structure and a substantial tax increase for almost all Americans.’

“So let’s sum up. Washington Democrats want the American people to fork over a record-breaking percentage of our gross domestic product in taxes for the privilege of having their health plans ripped away from them, even if they’re happy with what they have. And the middle class is going to pay for it. All this, and I haven’t even begun to explain how this takeover would cut Americans’ access to care and degrade the quality of care. We’ve all heard horror stories from abroad about bureaucrats making decisions instead of citizens, and long waits for treatments.

“Last year in Canada, the median wait time for medically necessary treatment from a specialist was 21 weeks -- more than double what it was just 25 years ago. And in the United Kingdom, it’s not just long waits patients have to contend with -- it’s flat-out denials of care. In the first quarter of last year alone, Britain’s National Health Service abruptly cancelled 25,000 surgeries. Imagine that -- being fully reliant on the government for healthcare, planning on a medically-necessary procedure, and being told at the last minute the whole thing was called off. Needless to say, if some Democrats had their way, you wouldn’t have to imagine much longer.

“Before I conclude, I want to highlight one more thing. I suppose no far-left wish list like this would have been complete without radical policies on the issue of abortion -- without trying to hurt pro-life Americans. Sure enough: This legislation would shatter the long-standing consensus that federal dollars should not pay for abortions and force taxpayers to fund abortions nationwide.

“Talk about a perfect case study in the perils of a federal takeover. Talk about a perfect example of why Washington Democrats should not get the power to twist American health care to suit their own radical views. Thirty-two trillion dollars. Every family kicked off its insurance plans. No choice and no options for the middle class -- just a huge bill. The Democrats are so confident the American people will love their new government plans that they feel the need to make other kinds of insurance illegal. And Democratic presidential candidates are rushing headlong to embrace all this. If this is one of their best and brightest new ideas, I’d sure hate to see the bad ones.”

Related Issues: Health Care