by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s begun. We are having a debate over socialism.
Not over whether it’s fair to call Democrats socialists. Not over whether socialism has been good for Venezuela or some other faraway, unfortunate country. But no-kidding socialist policies right here in the United States.
The press attention to a new study of the costs of “Medicare-for-all,” or universal health coverage paid for by the government that goes much further than Obamacare, is a sign that it is a live issue.
Popularized by the socialist Bernie Sanders, Medicare-for-all is not just a fringy left-wing talking point anymore. It’s a fringy plank of a growing element of the Democratic party. A raft of prospective Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed the policy, while about a third of the Democratic members of the House have joined a caucus devoted to it.
The good news for Sanders and Co. is that, in the wake of the failure of an attempted GOP repeal of Obamacare, the health-care debate is clearly moving left. The bad news is that Medicare-for-all is still a completely batty, politically unserious idea.
The new study of its costs, from the conservative Mercatus Center, concludes that Medicare-for-all would increase federal spending by almost $33 trillion during the first ten years. To put it in nontechnical terms: That’s a lot.