Rep. Pramila Jayapa (D-Wash.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) recently introduced the federal “Medicare for All Act of 2019,” along with 107 co-sponsors. The legislation would overhaul the current healthcare system and replace it with one that empowers the federal government to act as the only healthcare provider.
The Jayapa-Dingell plan is even more aggressive than the one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) during the 115th Congress. Under this proposal, all private and employer health insurance, and Medicare and Medicaid recipients would be funneled onto a federal insurance plan within two years. Private health insurance would no longer be an option.
Ensuring that the federal government is the sole proprietor of the healthcare sector, the bill bans private and employer plans from competing with the single-payer system.
In addition to the obvious assault on the free market, the bill would cripple the federal budget with unsustainable spending increases. Analyzing the less progressive plan offered by Sen. Sanders in 2017, the non-partisan Mercatus Center estimated that “Medicare for All” would cost taxpayers $32 trillion over ten years. If implemented, this proposal is estimated to eat up 10.7% of the national GDP in 2022 and rise to 12.7% in 2031.
The 2019 bill will likely create an even larger burden, considering it is more expansive in nature, but similar in its structure. Excluding interest, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget suggests that federal spending could increase by roughly 60%, should a piece of legislation like the one proposed be enacted.
This begs the question, how are we going to pay for it? The bill fails to include financing provisions like tax increases, or a budget cut elsewhere. In a vain attempt at responding to these questions, Jayapal has agreed to release a series of funding options, and suggested ideas including a “wealth tax” and undoing portions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Jayapal’s tax hikes, however, fail to make even a small dent in the overall cost of her proposal. The same Mercatus study explains that even if federal individual income taxes and corporate income tax rates were doubled, the plan’s costs could not be covered.
While the likelihood that this bill would even pass the House – especially considering its faltering support among Democrats – is low, its impact will be noticeable in the Democratic primaries. During the 2018 midterms, Democrats attempted to leverage the issue of healthcare in their successful effort to reclaim control of the House. This effort is likely to continue into 2020, as a number of presidential hopefuls, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have proudly signed onto the proposition.
Medicare for All 2019 is yet another unrealistic proposition guaranteed to drag the US economy down and push the American people into even more debt. But, for those Democrats with their names on the bill, the government’s ability to dip into the taxpayer’s wallet enables their appetite for this socialist delusion.