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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Single-payer ‘Berniecare’ shows how far left the Democrats have shifted

This is a practical joke, right?

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you thought you were in the right place yet everything around you didn’t quite fit your sensibilities, you know exactly how most (sane) people felt last week when Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to turn America into what he envisions as a single-payer socialized medicine Berniecareutopia.

The fact the news media was taking Sanders’ nutty proposal seriously wasn’t surprising but it was nonetheless disquieting. Coming just a few months after the Republicans’ epic failure to do anything meaningful about repealing Obamacare – or even to ditch some of its more damaging provisions -- one wonders: have we really come so far as to start talking about the government taking over the entirety of the best healthcare system in the world?

Not even the idea’s immense problems are stopping the Democrats from pursuing their dreams.

Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner reported, “Sen. Bernie Sanders is drawing unprecedented support from Democrats for his proposal to implement a government-run healthcare system in the U.S., but the bill doesn't address several questions that are likely to emerge as some lawmakers advocate on behalf of the legislation.

“Under the Sanders healthcare plan, called the Medicare for All Act, Medicare would pay for emergency surgery, prescription drugs, mental healthcare and eye care without a co-pay. Soon after it would be passed into law, people 18 and under would receive a ‘universal Medicare card’ and others currently not eligible for Medicare, even those who now have private plans, would be phased into the program after four years.”

For what it’s worth, Leonard listed four unanswered questions about what is destined to become known as “Berniecare.” They are:

1. How will the U.S. pay for it?
2. How will the bill deal with the provider shortage?
3. How will it pay for medical care for illegal immigrants? and,
4. What constitutes healthcare?

As difficult as it would be to answer the first three queries it’s the last one that will probably engender the most heated debate, disagreement and potential litigation. The Democrats being Democrats will no doubt insist on covering abortions, sex change operations and weird socially questionable outliers like “reproductive counseling” for same-sex couples, all of which will be foisted on an unreceptive public to foot the bill for services that violate their consciences.

Can you imagine religious conservatives being forced to pay for two “married” gay men to hire a surrogate to carry and birth their baby? No doubt the First Amendment challenges are already being prepared for Berniecare – or at least they should be.

Also notice that Sanders’ plan is called “Medicare for All.” But wasn’t Obamacare’s largescale expansion of Medicaid designed to do essentially the same thing as single-payer – namely, make sure everyone has health insurance?

Why not call it “Medicaid for All,” Bernie?

Because unlike Medicare (which polls show is well regarded despite its immense cost issues), Medicaid has a hard-earned and well-deserved horrible reputation. Many medical providers prefer offering their services pro bono rather than accept the extremely poor reimbursement rates and mounds of paperwork that Medicaid embodies. Working for nothing is better than getting paid pennies and then having to hire staff to complete the forms.

Medicare itself is tremendously expensive and wasteful. The stories of fraud and overcharges are legendary. Imagine if “Medicare for All” was actually enacted – a whole closet industry of fraudsters would spring up overnight.

Further, through the years Medicaid patients have discovered that getting something for “free” isn’t so great after all. Aside from the fact that nothing of value is ever truly “free of charge,” adding a massive federal bureaucracy on top of any actual costs of treatment will make Sanders’ pipedream nearly impossible to implement.

And when taxpayers are finally hit with the bill to pay for “Medicare for All” it would be pandemonium. If you think the Tea Party rebellion in 2010 was something to behold just wait until “Berniecare” is thrust upon the loyal American populace. There could even be open insurrection, the starting of a real second Civil War.

Should Democrats push this issue to its logical conclusion I can’t help but think Republicans will have yet another surefire issue to run against them next year and in 2020. Some are saying it would virtually guarantee a Trump second term – and I believe they’re right.

#NeverTrumper David French wrote at National Review, “[T]he reasons why the single-payer push helps Trump and the GOP go well beyond the health-care debate itself. This emerging litmus test is symptomatic of a larger problem: The Democratic party is increasingly the wholly owned subsidiary of the progressive base, and the progressive base has become too radical for widespread electoral success…

“...Trump’s support may well collapse with the general electorate while he keeps enough of his base to stave off a primary challenge. He may limp into a general election so damaged that any Democrat not named Hillary Clinton will win back the Midwest and sweep Trump out of office. But let’s be clear: The Democratic decision to keep moving left is minimizing their electoral chances. It’s increasing their risk of loss.”

The few reasonable members remaining in the Democrat party had better talk some sense into their socialist comrades because if the Democrats keep pushing full government control of everyone’s lives, they’ll effectively wrestle the “stupid party” label away from the hapless lapels of the Republicans. The Democrats will become the evil and stupid party – and despite this they’ll still command the loyal backing of 40 percent of the public.

The old saying goes “Never is a long time” but I don’t think it’s going too far out on a limb to declare there’s a large segment of the American public that will never accept socialized medicine. Democrats and liberals are fond of saying the United States is the only major country in the world without universal government healthcare (is this even true?), but America is not Europe – or even Canada. Here we believe in paying our own way and the benefits that go along with it – or at least the half of the population that doesn’t already receive direct government transfer payments thinks so.

The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “About two thirds of Americans are satisfied with the U.S. healthcare system, including two thirds of those on the individual or employer markets. Telling Americans you will replace their plan with one run by an even bigger, less responsive bureaucracy, is not going to go over well...

“The problem may be that some of the professional government class see government as a sweet loving parent, while most Americans see government as something necessary but unpleasant. Note how many welfare recipients — to the mockery of liberal commentators and snark of mainstream reporters — dislike welfare.

“It's not an American trait to warmly regard the federal government as a loving parent.”

The federal government a loving parent? More like a wicked stepmother.

Berniecare will certainly lead to the colossal problems already encountered by countries that portend to insure everyone, for if you seek to cover everyone, you arguably cover no one. If the medical profession treats everyone equally on paper than there’s no way to differentiate the people who really need care urgently versus those who just need a Band-Aid and a hug.

If practically no one can walk into a doctor’s office and get specialized treatment without doing time in long waiting list lines clogged with everyone else who thinks they’re getting something for nothing, how is that an improvement on our admittedly inefficient current system where people still must pay – something – for services rendered at point of call?

Our health system needs more capitalism and choice, not less. Anyone who’s been to an emergency room in recent times knows what universal socialized medicine would look like. There’s invariably a gaggle of people who can’t pay anything to see a doctor who still get help before more seriously hurting patients who have to wait while the so-called “uninsured” are attended to.

My son had a serious staph infection a few years ago and we waited over an hour to see even the first round of screening medical personnel because there were plenty of not-so-sick looking people ahead of us. Was it a medical emergency in his case? No (we did have a referral from his pediatrician) -- but if it had been, what then?

Democrats have once again gone off the deep-end with this socialized medicine nonsense and the GOP stands to benefit politically from it. The question now becomes whether Americans will actually believe the promises Republicans make to fight against Sanders and his cabal of socialists.

Time will tell.

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