In Thursday’s “debate,” Bernie Sanders did admit that “Medicare For All” would require everyone to pay higher taxes, but he claimed it would be less than we currently pay for insurance coverage. Because he’s an expert on cost projections, coming from a state that tried and quickly abandoned single payer after it immediately ran far over budget.
(Sidebar: One thing these debates have exposed is just how little any of these candidates understand about economic issues. They have no clue how to pay for any of their big giveaway schemes, other than “tax the rich” and “print more money,” two answers I’d expect from eight-year-olds. And they seem to think all rich people are the same: just the monocled guy from the Monopoly game, only evil. For instance, they accuse Trump of only caring about Wall Street bankers, because...all rich people do, right? Trump is a real estate developer who is famous for fighting with Wall Street bankers over loans for his building projects. I have no doubt that he’s on a friendly, first-name basis with more Trump resort desk clerks than he is Wall Street bankers. But I digress.)
One thing that became apparent in the “debates” is that some candidates are still trying to assure Americans that giving away free health care as a “right” won’t force them to give up their private insurance. A new Democratic Party poll found that 3/4tts of Democrats think “Medicare For All” would allow them to keep their private insurance if they wanted. But it would not: both the House and Senate bills would outlaw that. And a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that when told that “Medicare For All” would result in reduced quality of care or higher taxes, support plummets from a majority to as low as 26%.
I see this election as a test of the new paradigm: for all my life, Democrats have carefully hidden what they really believed at election time, posing as fiscal moderates back home before returning to Washington to tax and spend like drunken sailors. But now, they seem to think their long march through the institutions of education and the media have indoctrinated enough voters that they no longer have to hide it: they can come right out and let their socialist flags fly. We’ll find out in 2020 whether they’re right and America as we knew it is history, or if they’ve miscalculated spectacularly.