The Price of Socialism

The Sanders campaign has released some details about his socialized medicine system. Vox conveniently lays out just how much your taxes will go up to pay for “Medicare for all” (which will actually be “Medicaid for all”).


Now it’s easy to get caught on that top-line marginal rate of 77%, which is truly astonishing. But note that taxes will go up for everyone. Even the lowest income bracket will see their taxes go up ten percentage points. This reinforces a point I’ve been making for along time — you can’t pay for all this crap just by taxing “the rich”, with “the rich” being defined at whatever income level your focus group thinks is “rich”. You have to tax everyone. It’s the only way it works. At least Sanders is being honest about it.

Or is he? Sanders’ plan anticipates big savings from nowhere. He anticipates that he will cut healthcare spending by about 20% (this being approximately the difference between Medicare rates and typical insurance rates). But he never really gets into details. And as we’ve discovered with Obamacare, these mysterious savings never do seem to show up. Obamacare was supposed to save us money with fewer ER admissions. But ER admissions went up. It was supposed to save money with electronic medical records. But those medical records systems turned out to be very expensive. It was supposed to save money with more preventative medicine. But preventative medicine, while a good thing, does not save money.

(All of this was pointed out in advance by critics of Obamacare. Repeatedly. And we were bashed as callous tools of the insurance industry who hated poor people.)

Sanders has mentioned having Medicare “negotiate” lower prices for prescription drugs (i.e, forcing them to sell their drugs cheaper). But apart from the damage it would do to pharmaceutical innovation, prescription drugs are a small part of the healthcare bill. Eventually, you’re going to be forcing doctors and nurses to take pay cuts, something the Left has long wanted. If you read any article about the glories of universal healthcare, you will eventually come across the part where they lament that American doctors make a lot more money than doctors in socialized systems.

And that really cuts to the core of it. This isn’t really about providing better healthcare to the poors. It’s not even clear that expanded insurance will improve healthcare outcomes. This is about class warfare. It’s about raising taxes on the hated rich to “fair” levels. It’s about cutting pharma profits to “fair” levels. It’s about cutting doctor’s salaries to “fair” levels. It’s about hobbling “rich” people under the deranged notion that this will somehow help everyone else. Look at that chart again. The astronomical tax rates in that chart aren’t a bug, they’re a feature.

Don’t be fooled. Don’t be fooled when this gibberish comes from Democrats. But especially don’t be fooled when this gibberish comes from, oh, let’s say, the Republican front-runner.

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