Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ Threatens to Sink Democrats in 2018, 2020

Majority of Americans do not want to be stuck with a Bernie-syle single, government-run health care system

by Margaret Menge | Updated 22 Sep 2017 at 6:20 AM

Buried at the bottom of a September 21 article about the new NBC poll on President Donald Trump’s approval rating were interesting poll numbers on Americans’ perceptions of a single-payer health care system.

In the poll of 900 adults, 47 percent said they favored a single-payer health care system, while 46 percent said they would oppose it. But when supporters were told that all health care costs would be covered under a single-payer system, and that it would eliminate employer plans, leaving only one government plan, the numbers move to 36 percent favoring a single-payer system, with 55 percent opposing it. The poll was conducted September 14-18.

This spells bad news for Democrats in upcoming elections in 2018 and 2020, as socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is the clear favorite among Democrats to run against Trump in 2020, has made government-run health care his main priority, and is pushing his Democratic colleagues in the Senate to support it.

Sanders introduced his "Medicare for All" bill on September 13 after the Republican-controlled Congress failed twice to rally enough votes to pass Republican bills to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Most of the prominent Democratic senators thought to have presidential ambitions have pledged their support for the Sanders bill, which would radically convert a large sector of the American economy from being privately run, albeit with heavy government regulation, to being entirely government-run.

"He's setting up a litmus test for a primary that's three years away, and Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have all fallen into the trap," Alexandra Smith, executive director of the America Rising PAC, said on Thursday.

In a recent Zogby poll, Sanders had the support of 28 percent of Democratic voters, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) coming in second, with 12 percent support, and Harris coming in fourth with 7 percent.

Sanders' bill, NPR notes, uses "Medicare" in the title, but in fact it sets up a very different system — a true, socialist health care system.

"Sanders calls his plan 'Medicare for All,' but that's more of a handy slogan than reality, as this plan would greatly expand Medicare and overhaul it — for example, it would greatly expand the type of coverage offered and also eliminate deductibles, copays and premiums," NPR reported. "Private insurance companies are also currently a part of the Medicare system. That wouldn't be the case under Sanders' plan."

Unlike Medicare, the Sanders' plan would also cover dental and vision care, and all mental health services.

The bill and what it means for the country won't just affect the 2020 presidential race. It's likely to become a main topic of the 2018 races, when Democratic candidates, many from states that supported President Donald Trump, will be defending their seats.

"Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) ran for the hills as Bernie unveiled his socialist fantasy," wrote America Rising's Alexandra Smith in a press release. "Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said he'd be open to taking 'solid look' at a single-payer plan, but ultimately voted against Bernie's bill. In a confusing three-act play, Senator McCaskill said she was open to the idea of single-payer, then voted 'present' on single-payer legislation while some her colleagues voted outright 'no,' only to turn around and come out against Bernie's bill. The only vulnerable to jump in with both feet was Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), becoming a co-sponsor."

Republicans ran against Hillary Clinton's plan for universal health care in the 1990s, and have been running against Obamacare for the past seven years, and winning — with a promise to repeal and replace it if given the chance. One of the biggest complaints was Obama's promise that if the Affordable Care Act passed, you could keep your doctor. This did not turn out to be the case, and in many markets, so many insurance companies have dropped out of the state-run marketplaces that there is now only one available option. Premiums, meanwhile, have become unaffordable for many middle-class Americans, and deductibles have, in many cases, risen so high that they have almost obliterated the upside of having health insurance.

The Sanders' bill would go much further than Obamacare, and would presumably give Republican candidates a leg to stand on when their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare comes up during their re-election campaigns. They'll be able to say they haven't been able to get rid of Obamacare, true, but can attack their opponents for wanting to usher in a health care system that would operate something like the U.S. Postal Service.

(photo credit, homepage and article images of Sanders: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

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