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EDITORIAL: Most Democrats think they could keep their insurance under Medicare-for-all

Many Democrat presidential candidates support “Medicare for All.” They should offer the details before assuming it has widespread support.

A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 68 percent of Democrats believe Americans could keep their current insurance under Medicare for All. Perhaps they should re-read the name of the program. Medicare for All is literally a plan to force everyone onto Medicare.

Nearly half of Americans have employer-provided health insurance. A 2018 survey by America’s Health Insurance Plans found 71 percent are satisfied with that coverage.

But private insurance would be illegal under many universal health care plans such as the one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Four other Democrat presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, are co-sponsors. Under Sanders’ plan, you couldn’t keep your employer-based plan. You couldn’t even purchase supplemental coverage on any procedure that the government would otherwise pay for. The government would outlaw private medical transactions — meaning you could go to jail if you hired a doctor with your own money to perform a medical procedure.

At the first Democrat presidential debate on Wednesday, moderator Lester Holt asked 10 candidates if they’d support abolishing private health insurance as part of implementing a government-run plan. The group included Warren and Booker. Only Warren and one other candidate signaled their support. Booker demurred, even though he’s co-sponsoring a bill that would do just that.

The government has a lot of experience running single-payer health care systems. But its record overseeing the Indian Health Service and Veterans Health Administration is horrifying.

In 2011, Debra Free died at the Winnebago Hospital run by IHS. Her family blames the government-run facility.

“Since at least 2007, this IHS facility has been operating with demonstrated deficiencies which should not exist at any hospital in the United States,” Victoria Kitcheyan, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Free’s niece, testified before Congress in 2016.

“According to what our family learned, Debra [Free] was overmedicated and left unsupervised, even though the nursing staff at the Hospital knew that she was dizzy and hallucinating from the drugs and should be watched closely,” Ms. Kitcheyan said.

Horror stories at the VA are better known. In 2014, a whistleblower revealed the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Healthcare System had created a fake waiting list to cover up its long wait times. A minimum of 40 veterans died while waiting for care. Even two years after the scandal broke, the average wait time for 1,100 patients was more than a month.

Such are the joys of socialized medicine.

In pushing for Obamacare, then-president Barack Obama infamously promised, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” That was false. In pushing for Medicare for All, Democrats will tell Americans that if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it. That will be a lie also.

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