Joe Biden's Pollster Finds Lying About 'Medicare For All' Is The Best Way To Convince People It's Bad
Joe Biden really, really does not want single payer health care. Of course, neither do most of the other 2020 candidates who aren't Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
But you know who really, really likes single payer health care? 79% of Democrats! Also, 70% of Americans in general -- though that was almost a year ago, and some folks, like, again, Joe Biden, have been spending a lot of time and effort poormouthing it. Still, this time around, it's actually the anti-single payer candidates who need to convince the electorate that a few fixes to make our health care situation slightly less bad is preferable to the thing that will actually work.
And so the Biden-linked centrist think tank Third Way conducted a poll to find out which messages are most likely to convince people that Medicare For All is a bad idea. What they found is that while 70% of the primary voters they surveyed supported Medicare For All, that support went down when they lied to those people about what a Medicare for All system would mean for them.
Let's take a look, shall we?
'Medicare for All' would cost American taxpayers $3.2 trillion every year, which would require that payroll taxes be doubled on every working American.
The irony of this particular question is that the $3.2 trillion number comes from a report commissioned by the Koch brothers that actually found that it would cost less than we are paying now. This should be fairly obvious to anyone with the capability of looking around the world and seeing how health care works in other countries. If things were not cheaper in Canada, would anyone be talking about importing drugs from Canada? I rest my case.
Additionally, this is like pouring a cup of water from a large cup into a smaller cup and going "Look, there's more water now!" Money comes out of your paycheck to pay for your healthcare either way. It's either going to an insurance company or it's going to the government. In one scenario, you still have to pay a lot of money out of pocket, still have to deal with deductibles, and can still be turned down for coverage. In fact, it is their job to say no to you. And if they do say no to you, you end up having to go on GoFundMe to beg strangers to help you pay for your ambulance costs or other medical bills.
In the other, none of that happens. You just get covered. You go in, you get your treatment, and you leave and you never think about it again. That's it. That's how it works.
'Medicare for All' would end Medicare as we know it by eliminating all private plans that today provide full or supplemental benefits to most of the seniors and disabled Americans who currently rely on Medicare.
Yes, it would. Guess why? Because it would cover everything, meaning that they wouldn't have to buy the supplemental insurance in the first place. This is like looking at a buy-one-get-one free deal and saying "This eliminates the consumer's ability to buy the other thing at full price!"
By expanding Medicare to every American, 'Medicare for All' would result in lower quality care and longer wait times for the 60 million seniors and disabled Americans who currently rely on Medicare.
OK, let's discuss this, shall we?
The logic behind this whole "longer wait times" thing boils down to "If everyone has health coverage, there will be longer wait times. Some people must go without health care in order to ensure shorter wait times for other people." That is practically sociopathic. Because we would have that same "problem" with the same system we have now if everyone could afford health insurance. That would have nothing to do with it being single payer, that has to do with everyone being able to have health care. If we cannot support everyone having health care, that's something we really need to look at, but that's not a very good reason to oppose single payer.
The part about "lower quality care," I assume, was pulled directly out of their asses.
"Medicare for All" would require every American who receives healthcare through their employer to give up their plan, no matter whether they liked their plan or not, and have it replaced by a single, one-size-fits-all federal government-run plan.
Excuse me, but how many people are out there getting personalized health care? That's not a thing. You get the insurance that your employers sign up for, not, like, a plan specifically tailored to you and your needs.
I would also like to know what it is people supposedly like about their insurance plans, outside of having their health care covered (sometimes). I mean, are there people out there getting presents from their insurance companies? Are insurance companies offering them discounts on groceries? People like having health care. They know the difference between good insurance and shitty insurance. If they have good insurance, they're happy about it. If they had better care under Medicare for All, if they didn't have to fight with their insurance company to cover the cost of an ambulance, they would like that better. Obviously.
"Medicare for All" would just be a giveaway to employers, as those who currently provide healthcare would no longer have to do so. Since there would be little incentive for employers to raise wages, they would instead likely just use the money to increase executive pay and for stock buybacks.
I don't think these people know how bargaining works? I'm also going to guess that they've never worked a job that kept their hours at 39 a week in order to avoid having to pay for their health insurance. Additionally, people know that if they lose their job, they lose their health insurance (sure, there's COBRA, but it's absurdly expensive), they know if they quit their job to start their own business, they lose their health insurance, and that if they change jobs they'll have a lapse in coverage — which is especially tough if they have a family. Employer-based health insurance gives employers a huge amount of leverage over their employees. Duh.
Anyway, the polling did find that a lot of people found this bullshit quite convincing — which isn't too surprising, as this is a strategy that could work for practically anything:
"Do you want some candy?" YES. "Do you want all of your teeth to fall out?" NO!
"Would you like an all-expenses paid trip to Europe?" YES. "What if I told you that if you take that trip, you will inevitably get a flesh-eating bacterial disease and lose one of your legs?" I WILL PASS.
"Would you like one million dollars in JEWELS?" YES! "What if I told you that this pile of jewels came from the stash of a bunch of notorious thieves and that you will have to spend the rest of your life running around and hiding from them, until they eventually catch up to you and murder you and take the jewels?" Hmmmm maaaybe?
On some level, the fact that they feel they need to lie about Medicare for All in order to turn people against it is kind of heartening. Like, they actually can't come up with real reasons to oppose it, so they just have to make shit up. The downside, of course, is that people are gullible.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse