FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2018
Single-Payer Healthcare Scheme Based on “Make Believe” Assumptions
Progressive Economist Estimates $3.7 Billion in New Costs; Center Estimates at $5.4 Billion. Would Bankrupt the State.
Providence, RI — The legislative onslaught from the left has begun. As the poster child of their desire for government-control over the lives of residents and businesses, Rhode Island’s progressive-Democrats announced they will introduce legislation this week to establish an estimated $13.2 billion single-payer health insurance system.
Tabbed as the “Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week” by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the legislation is based on non-realistic assumptions, and would impose additional costs of $5.4 billion upon taxpayers, ratepayers, and businesses according to a report issued last summer by the Center.
“Imagine a new tax that takes massive amounts of more money out of your paycheck; imagine reduced access to critical care for your sick child; imagine lower public funding for schools; and imagine more business and jobs fleeing our state,” said the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “This is why no other state in the nation has has ever passed such radical legislation. It would bankrupt our entire state.”
The House (H7285) and Senate (S5069) versions of the bills will be sponsored by Representative Aaron Regunberg and Senator Jeanine Calkin, repsectively.
Supporters of the bill make the ‘fake’ claim that healthcare is “a fundamental human right.” Nothing can be a right if somebody else is forced to pay for it or provide it. Conversely, ‘real’ rights are based on liberty, not coercion, and do not infringe on anyone else’s rights.
The legislation, which its supporters call “Medicare for all,” also makes believe it is something that it is not. The legislation is actually a “Medicaid for all” scheme, which even national progressives such as Bernie Sanders have admitted, if implemented across the U.S., “would bankrupt the nation”.
Knowing they cannot call it what it really is, the dishonest supporters of the bill falsely instead compare their planned government takeover of the health insurance industry to “Medicare”. They further pretend that there is no difference between the funding mechanisms of Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare is a system whereby enrollees have paid into to the system for decades over the course of their careers, essentially using their own own pot of money to purchase the insurance of their choice as they become senior citizens. Medicaid, like the legislation introduced, is paid for by state and federal taxpayers each year.
Rhode Island’s existing Medicaid system is heavily dependent on federal funding. The proposed “Medicaid for all” legislation, which goes against the direction that the federal government is going, would receive zero federal funding … and cannot possibly be sustained by state households and businesses.
In this regard, supporters of this socialized-medicine plan also falsely compare the proposed legislation to Canada’s healthcare system. Nations can run deficits and print money when costs inevitably rise and exceed planned budgets. US States must operate under balanced budgets and cannot add to the money supply and therefore, must resort to higher taxes or reduced services via so-called “death panels”.
Further, with no limit on how high taxes might go, and with the government mandating which coverage is available, enrollees will be left with high taxes and no choice. Conversely, under Medicare, private insurers are allowed to create and market various health insurance products.
If similar to last year’s version, the bill would likely lead to another government-created economic and human rights disaster, as happened with government-run UHIP and DCYF programs. A newly created bureaucracy would automatically register residents in government healthcare and would collect new payroll taxes. The scheme would also set prices for all doctors and other healthcare providers and would forbid private insurers from offering competing products. In short only government-approved plans would be allowed.
The legislation also makes believe that its massive multi-billion price tag could somehow be shouldered by already overtaxed households and businesses. Rhode Island’s already dismal business and consumer climate would become worse.
Bankruptcy-Level Costs: In 2015, the same progressive economist cited as an expert by Regunberg and Calkin in their media release, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Professor Gerald Friedman, published a report estimating the potential effects of a single-payer healthcare system in Rhode Island. Friedman gained notoriety in 2016 for his economic analysis supporting the economic plan of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, which suggests that any bias in his analysis of single-payer health care would be toward making its outcomes look better, rather than worse. Friedman’s own report acknowledges that such a system in Rhode Island would require a $3.7 billion increase in taxpayer funding of health care. Even a cursory review, however, suggests that he greatly overestimates savings to what he estimates would actually be a $13.2 billion program.
For instance, Friedman assumes that single-payer health care for everybody in our diverse single state could be administered as efficiently Medicare, which covers a relatively homogenous population (the elderly) at the federal level. Some might argue that the state government would actually be less efficient than the private-public mix of our state’s current health care system, but even if we assume improvement to the level of Medicaid under single-payer, we would have to add $497 million to Friedman’s estimate.
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