3 Reasons You Won’t Keep Your Doctor Under Single Payer

The Federalist | 7/2/2019 | Christopher Jacobs
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Over Fourth of July week, liberal activists took solace in the results of a poll that they said demonstrates the popularity of a single-payer health system. The survey showed diminished support for a “‘Medicare for All’ [system] if it diminished the role of private insurers.” However, support rose by nearly ten points if pollsters described single payer as a system that “diminished the role of private insurers but allowed you to keep your preferred doctor and hospital.”

Staff for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed the survey showed single payer “is wildly popular when you tell people what it would actually do.” That claim misses the mark on several levels. First, most individuals wouldn’t consider a 55 percent approval rating—the level of support for a single-payer plan that allows patients to keep their doctors—as evidence of a “wildly popular,” as opposed to mildly popular, policy.

Survey - Plan - Medicare - All - Reality

Second, the survey described the plan as “Medicare for All.” In reality, however, Sanders’ bill would abolish the existing Medicare program entirely, making it “Medicare for None.” In repeating the left’s false claims about single payer, the pollsters biased the survey in favor of Sanders’ proposal, not against it.

More fundamentally, though, single payer has precious little to do with keeping one’s doctor:

Reasons - Patients - Access - Physicians - Hospitals

For at least three reasons, many patients will lose access to their preferred physicians and hospitals under a single-payer system.

The overall level of medical services demanded under single payer will rise, for several reasons. First, the legislation would expand the number of individuals covered to include, as we have seen recently, individuals present in the United States illegally. Based on the current language of the Sanders bill, single payer could also encourage “benefit tourism,” whereby foreign nationals travel to the United States to receive taxpayer-subsidized health care.

Sanders - Legislation - Cost-sharing—deductibles - Co-payments

Second, the Sanders legislation would virtually eliminate medical cost-sharing—deductibles, co-payments, and...
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