Perhaps one of the candidates for president, Sen. Kamala Harris, wasn’t thinking when she cut loose with a sound bite she hoped would gain traction among voters.
More likely, she was hoping listeners would not stop and think about what she said.
Harris, a Californian, is making “Medicare-for-all” a key plank in her platform, as is Marc Friedenberg, the Democratic candidate for the 12th Congressional District here in Central and Northcentral Pennsylvania.
Harris and several other presidential hopefuls believe the idea will appeal to millions of Americans.
As they portray the idea, it is appealing. Harris and others promise “Medicare-for-all” would provide health insurance for everyone.
Public opinion polls indicate they are on to something.
Pollsters find that most people like the idea as candidates explain it: Free health coverage for all, with no one denied because of pre-existing conditions.
But then, pollsters provide the truth of the matter: “Medicare-for-all” would be mind-bogglingly expensive.
Some analysts estimate the price tag could be nearly equal to the current total federal budget.
Some candidates and lawmakers insist the price tag will be the problem of “the rich.”
Stiff hikes in taxes — the kind that have sent capital fleeing from countries such as France where the strategy has been used — would be established, Harris and others explain.
It wouldn’t be nearly enough.
Wiping out the assets of every billionaire in the United States might cover “Medicare-for-all” for one year. Then, lawmakers would have to begin grabbing for the wallets of the middle class.
But the falsehood about how the program would be funded is only part of the issue.
Back to what Harris said several days ago: “Who of us has not had that situation, where you’ve got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, well, I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this? Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
But as millions of people who rely on Medicare know, the federal insurance program for older Americans often doesn’t cover certain health care treatments, either.
“I don’t think your Medicare is going to cover this,” is a phrase too many have heard.
So millions turn to Medicare supplement insurance from the private sector, paying for it out of their own pockets.
Say goodbye to that safety valve if Harris and others have their way.
Under the “Medicare-for-all” concept being pushed, no one would be allowed to carry private insurance.
We also take issue with giving anyone any government subsidy for free, save for those with disabilities and other challenges who reasonably cannot take care of themselves.
Look, we support affordable and easily accessible health care and believe no one should be turned away due to pre-existing conditions.
But our country was founded on a strong work ethic and an independent spirit that breeds responsibility and accountability.
Frankly, it’s insulting to our fathers, our mothers and our ancestors who had to work and toil to support their families and pay for their health care … and everything else.
Nothing should be “free.”
When government provides free services, it entitles people and, in the end, makes them lazy.
We support the existing Medicare program, which Americans have to pay into with some of their wages.
We’re open to listening to proposals, but people must earn what they get. That’s what we must teach our kids and future generations.
It’s the American way.