Medicare for All's BernieWorld Dilemma.


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to promote "Medicare for All," and claims to be its father. ("I wrote the damn bill," he proclaimed to the nation during the Democratic presidential debates.)

His plan does not look like Medicare at all. It appears that he hardly knows anything about Medicare. He probably has no experience with it. Despite his advanced age and his recent heart attack, he does not need to depend on it. Members of Congress are allowed to receive Medicare benefits but, unlike most other Americans, they can receive other benefits as well.

Sitting members of Congress can get routine examinations and consultations from the attending physician in the U.S. Capitol for an annual fee, and military treatment facilities in the Washington, D.C., area offer free emergency medical and dental care for outpatient services.

Members also are eligible for the Federal Employees Health Insurance Program, and they will not be kicked off as soon as they reach Medicare age. They do have to go through an ObamaCare exchange, but it is a small one, the DC Health Link, which reportedfy functions well. There are 57 gold-tier plans to choose from, not one or two as in many states. Their portion of the premiums could be as little as 25% of the total premiums. Apparently, subsidies for senators do not run out just because their salary exceeds 400% of the Federal poverty level.

Funding for Medicare for All apparently will be vacuumed up from all other sources of payment for "health care," and will go into the big collective pot. Then people can get everything without premiums, copays, or deductibles--or so they say. This is not at all like Medicare.

Medicare Part A, for hospital care, is funded through the Medicare payroll tax: a 2.9% first-dollar tax--no deductions--on all employment income, half of which is paid by the employer. Seniors believe that they have been funding this through their working years, as they are constantly told. They indeed have paid, but their taxes immediately were used to pay for the care of older retirees. So, their hospital bill today will be paid from the wages of about 2.5 workers (say the persons pumping their gas, collecting their trash, and repairing their plumbing). Already that is not enough, so the lOUs in the "trust fund" are being redeemed from general tax revenues. That fund soon will be gone, as baby boomers are flooding into the system. It...

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