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Free college, Medicare for All and other insanities of the extreme left

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Clichéd as it may be, conservatives live in “a target rich environment” for drafting commentaries on the absurdities of the progressive left.  Most recently, the leftists are figuratively prancing around in the nude, shedding their traditional full body makeup. That got me to take the bait, and I offer here a summary of their most compelling absurdities of the moment.

“It’s time for billionaires to pay their fair share.” 

“Fair share” is an entirely subjective concept. Fairness really means giving someone else power over us to make that determination. 

“Free people can treat each other justly, but they can’t make life fair. To get rid of the unfairness among individuals, you have to exercise power over them. The more fairness you want, the more power you need. Thus, all dreams of fairness become dreams of tyranny in the end.”  -Andrew Klavan

  • Progressive animus towards successful entrepreneurs is increasing at a record rate even though it’s clear that many prominent tycoons are leftists themselves, and generously fund any and all wild utopian schemes.
  • Lefties forget that once they’ve taxed billionaires out of existence, the vast collective wealth they want to spread around will no longer exist. They conveniently ignore the job creation and economic growth these capitalists generate. They want to kill the golden goose, yet expect it to keep laying eggs.
  • In most cases, the wealth of these billionaires is in their stock holdings. The stock is worth so much because untold thousands want to own that stock, and drive up the price, increasing the wealth of the entrepreneur. Thousands of employees often become millionaires via stock ownership as part of company growth. 
  • Hundreds of thousands become beneficiaries when their stock, held either directly or in mutual funds, etc., grows in value. The entrepreneurs spread the wealth around as a direct consequence of their success; this is capitalism in its elemental form. How many of you have made money on the stocks of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and various others? Do you hold disdain for those creating that growth, or hope they’ll keep it going?

“Debt-free college for all” 

This sounds great until you grow up and realize there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Unless government can convince college faculty and administrators to work for nothing, this is simply a shell game to scam the gullible.

“Free things” from government always cost others an awful lot. Soon enough, believers will have to work for a living, and it will dawn on them that while their college was paid for by someone else, they are now that someone else paying for everyone else’s degree.

“Medicare for All” 

The uninformed masses act as if Medicare is free, and that it can be extended to all without collapsing itself and the entire health care system.

As to it being “free,” my wife and I pay $3500 a year in premiums for Part B.  This coverage includes copays, but provides no prescription coverage. If you want that, you’ll have to buy another supplement at added cost.  Furthermore, you pay Medicare taxes during your entire working career, which in my case, was 40 years.

Medicare only continues to survive because it’s a sucker fish hanging on to a large game fish for dear life. Medicare reimbursements to doctors, specialists, hospitals and such are absurdly low, and insufficient to cover costs.  The dilemma is solved by shifting costs to private insurance and its millions of customers. Doctors are already fleeing private practice and either becoming hospital employees or working in medical schools or some other related field.

Once the private insurance industry is eliminated by government single payer Medicare for all, there will be no big fish upon whom to shift the costs. Costs will grow “unexpectedly,” and the system will, of necessity, ration care on the way to imploding completely. Wait times for seeing a medically qualified provider will be unpredicatable; pre-approval from distant centralized offices will be required to begin a course of treatment; and those like me in their late 70’s will be seen as past their sell-by date.   Many will be forced to pay a private patient advocate to help navigate the unresponsive maze.

Recovering from this devastation once the insurance industry has been killed off will be virtually impossible. Private hospitals, clinics, and provider practices will disappear, unable to survive. Medical school enrollment will decline sharply. Pharmaceutical research and innovation will all but evaporate.  Medical science and technology will advance at a mere fraction of the pace of recent decades. Diseases that were once conquered regularly will regain their advantage.

If you want a glimpse of what to expect from a single payer system, think of the VA health system in recent years. It’s a government-operated single payer system and suffers from all the predictable problems, including civil servants who have no worries about the survival of their employer or the future of their paycheck. All too many become indifferent towards those needing their care. The only way to fix things seems to be giving covered veterans the option of using private health-care providers.  But Medicare for All will eliminate that option.

Remember how the Government spent $600 million to develop a HealthCare.gov web site, and still didn’t have a working product?  The undeniable bottom line is that “Medicare for All” is structurally unworkable and unsustainable, especially in the hands of government.

About Pem Schaeffer

Pem Schaeffer is a retired engineer who progressed to a position in business development leadership in defense electronics. He lives and writes in Brunswick, Maine, and blogs at: http://othersideofbrunswick.blogspot.com/ He can be reached at pemster4062@yahoo.com or you can always buy him lunch at an MHPC luncheon. He's easy that way, and he'll still respect you if you do.

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