AAPS Responds to Elizabeth Warren’s Challenge

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In her $52 trillion Medicare for All proposal, Elizabeth Warren would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and all state laws and regulations on private insurance, observes the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Instead, everyone would purportedly receive all necessary care, courtesy of the federal government, without worrying about the cost.

Warren challenges those who oppose it to “put forward their own plan to cover everyone, without costing the country anything more in health care spending, and while putting $11 trillion back in the pockets of the American people by eliminating premiums and virtually eliminating out-of-pocket costs.” Those who can’t do that are supposed to “concede that they think it’s more important to protect the eye-popping profits of private insurers and drug companies and the immense fortunes of the top 1% and giant corporations.”

AAPS responds that those who oppose a plan to force everyone to rely on an impossible perpetual-motion machine are not obligated to devise a different model. Preventing the destruction of our existing machinery is a far better idea. We need, above all, to protect our patients’ ability to receive care.

AAPS makes the following observations:

  • No one might “ever, ever die or go bankrupt because of health care costs,” as Warren promises. But people will die or go bankrupt because of untreated illness, if care is simply unobtainable.
  • The only way Warren can ensure that everyone can “get the care they need, when they need it” is to let her experts define the term “need” to correspond to what is available and allowed.
  • Perhaps no one will need to worry about whether a physician is “in network,” but patients might worry instead about whether there are physicians in practice. While patients may no longer have to worry about insurers’ denials of treatment, they will have to deal with government denials.
  • Warren’s $11 trillion “tax cut” is the amount Americans now contribute to employer-sponsored insurance, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket spending. Whatever care they get under the Warren plan will be paid for from the giant collective pool controlled by “experts” and bureaucrats. Americans won’t be allowed to spend their savings on prompter or better care.
  • The administrative cost spiral began with Medicare and Medicaid in an effort to stem relentless increases in spending. The purported low administrative cost in Medicare is a myth and certainly does not include the huge billing and compliance costs imposed on doctors and hospitals.
  • Cutting and bundling payments to “providers” may dramatically reduce spending—by forcing doctors’ practices and hospitals to close, so fewer services can be given.
  • Warren’s “negotiations” involve de facto price controls, a government takeover of drug manufacturing, the destruction of intellectual property rights—and the end of incentives to innovate.
  • Much of the proposal is about increasing taxes. The middle class will pay the taxes imposed on the giant corporations and the financial sector through increased costs and fees.
  • Warren will greatly expand the funding and power of the IRS in order to extract more revenue. “Asking people to pay a little more” doesn’t seem to work.
  • Importing and legalizing more immigrants is assumed to raise $400 billion in tax revenue. This assumes that the revenue would exceed the increased social costs, and that people fleeing poverty will be eager to contribute to the health care of more “privileged” Americans.
  • Tying different providers—the diligent and skilled, and the nonproductive and less competent—to the same payment, as Warren suggests, is the socialist incentive system that leads to industrial collapse and starvation whenever and wherever tried.

AAPS maintains that the only way to decrease costs while improving quality and access is through free-market competition, honest price signals, and restoring control over their own money to the Americans who earned it.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.