by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Conservatives and Republicans are eager to talk about the push for single-payer because it represents favorable political ground. Obviously, “If you like your plan, screw you” is a sub-optimal strategy for Democrats in 2020.
It would be, however, a colossal mistake for conservatives to kick up their heels and enjoy this moment. If they embrace the status quo — and do nothing to address the real problems with the high and rising cost of American health care — the popularity of socialized health insurance will only grow stronger.
Nowhere is this more apparent than among the 159 million Americans who get their health insurance through their employers. While the employer-based system deploys private insurers, it is far removed from an actual market for health insurance, because few workers have the opportunity to choose their own coverage with their own money. Employers enjoy controlling their workers’ health benefits, because doing so makes it harder for employees to take their coverage with them if they leave.
Because of this desire by employers to use health benefits as a retention tool, and because workers lack a clear picture of how much is coming out of their paycheck to pay for health coverage, the cost of employer-sponsored insurance is rising faster than the cost of other U.S. health-insurance programs. …
… If Republicans stick their heads in the sand, over time, socialized health insurance will become more popular, not less.