Moderated by MSNBC host, Chris Hayes, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke at a West Virginia town hall on Monday night. He railed against Republicans and called for a socialized health care system to improve health care in America. As usual, the Senator has a simple plan for how to pay for this.
It’s the rich, you see, they shall pay for thee!
But Bernie also doubled down on his criticism of the Republican replacement bill for Obamacare. That bill, says Sanders, is ‘‘a yuge tax break’’ for the rich that will take health care from millions of Americans. Bernie also claimed yesterday that ‘‘thousands of Americans will die if the GOP plan becomes law.”
Speaking to issues of great national moral and political concern, Bernie’s claims deserve significant scrutiny. Because, as is so often is the case with Bernie, once we study his details, it becomes clear that the Senator from Vermont is full of excrement.
First off, let’s take his claim that the GOP plan would hurt millions of poor Americans. As it pertains to the poorest Americans, the GOP plan seeks to empower states to spend federal Medicaid grants. But this is sensible and moral, not stupid and evil. As I’ve explained, the current Medicaid system is rife with inefficiency and outcome-ignorant delivery. By empowering state governors and legislatures to design Medicaid systems that suit their citizens, we’ll see innovation and cost savings joined to improved health care. Consider, for example, how former Indiana Governor Mike Pence reduced health care costs and improved health care quality. We need more of this kind of creative service delivery. If voters don’t like it? They can vote for a different approach.
Second, Bernie helpfully ignores the fact that the GOP bill would serve those who love him most. Namely, millennials. It does so because it raises the premium ratio at which insurers can charge older Americans. That’s a necessary change because, at present, millennials are unduly subsidizing the costs of our highly-paid elders. This is a truth that conservatives should deliver unto Bernie – and other Democrats – every single day.
Still, Bernie’s most disingenuous claim is his assertion that the GOP plan will allow people to die unnecessarily. This isn’t just foul. It represents the height of hypocrisy. After all, allowing people to die is exactly what happens in socialized medical systems. Take the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS). In NHS hospitals today, patients are dying on trollies because they cannot be admitted to beds. Many others are left without timely treatment or effectively told not to come back unless they are near death.
Don’t get me wrong. These are not the failings of NHS doctors and nurses. On the contrary, because of the long hours and varied experience that they accrue in public service, the average medical professional in a socialized system may be superior to their average U.S. counterpart. The real problem is that death in the socialized system is a necessary virtue of the system. Where government sets the value of the average human life (by deciding how much money from its budget to spend on health care), individual lives must be judged against finite resources. And that means that those who are old or do not push for timely treatment lose out.
In turn, this speaks to Bernie’s defining lie. He, like other far-leftists, pretends socialism offers a perfect health system to provide generous benefits without concern for costs. But unlike European socialists, who at least have the honesty to admit that all must pay far higher taxes for the pursuit of nirvana, Bernie and co. pretend the rich can pay for everything. Unfortunately, broader economic considerations aside, and even with a highly malleable definition of ‘richness,’ the math proves Bernie wrong.
Put simply, on health care at least, Bernie is full of it.