One of the cornerstones of Democratic Party Presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders’ campaign is the full nationalization of America’s health insurance. He promises that, by not only creating his “Medicare for All” program, but also prohibiting private health insurance entirely, he’ll provide better and less expensive health care for all Americans.

He’s been properly challenged on the economics of this proposal, and he’s been carefully dodging the matter of “who pays” by asserting that the money is going to be found by coopting the premiums currently paid by employers who provide health insurance to their employees, rather than raising taxes on middle and working class Americans. Bernie’s supporters, a snide and dismissive bunch in my experiences, tend to accept Bernie’s assurances at face value, and they assure us that Bernie is a good man, sincere and principled. Thus, he’s not a scumbag who’ll lie to us to get elected.

Even if this is true, you can be a person of principle and still be flat-out wrong, so the mere fact of personal integrity means nothing in terms of wisdom of policy.

At the core of Sanders’ ideas about health care (and just about everything else) is the premise that government can do something more efficiently than the private sector, because selfishness and profit motives are removed from the equation. That history shows us the absurdity of this premise doesn’t matter to him or his supporters, of course, because ‘this time it’ll be different,’ and because “Democratic socialism” is somehow a new and untested paradigm, instead of a mere repackaging of a failed, ruinous, and murderous ideology for a generation that’s been indoctrinated by people who should know better.

What should give pause to anyone who might be inclined to believe Sanders’ promise is the current state of Medicare/Medicaid inefficiency. The program loses, to waste, fraud, duplication, and “improper payments,” $50B-$100B a year. That staggering figure is several times the annual profit of the entire private health insurance industry, and it’s not a matter of any dispute. Documentation and reporting abounds, and can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Moreso, Medicare currently ‘succeeds’ by underpaying health care providers, to a degree that doesn’t even cover the cost of services provided, let alone provide any profit margin. Because it’s a monopoly, and because its rates are dictated by legislation rather than negotiation, Medicare freeloads on the private sector. What happens when the private sector is disappeared by Bernie’s grand plan? How will doctors, nurses, staff, hospitals, technicians, testing facilities, pharmaceutical research, and all the rest of it get paid for?

We have daily evidence of how terrible government is at managing money and running things, and not just in Medicare/Medicaid. Believing that expanding a government program that’s already mismanaging tens of billions of dollars is a good idea, or that doing so will improve efficiency and produce better outcomes, should boggle the mind.

Before we give even more power and money to the government, we should demand it do right with what it currently has. And, that extends to everything else, including defense, Social Security, and untold thousands of discretionary programs.

If socialist politicians want us to believe that they can do a better job than the private sector, they’ve already got giant piles of our money with which to prove it. First, fix what’s not working. THEN, maybe, we can have a conversation about giving them more power and money.

But, we all know that they can’t. Moreso, they won’t even try. They’ve no incentive to do so, not when there are millions of people who are perfectly willing to keep re-electing them and keep giving them more power. They won’t admit that the problems with health insurance today can be traced to decades of government meddling, and so they won’t even consider the many proposals to improve things by correcting and undoing those distortions.

Make no mistake. Electing Sanders to the Presidency will not turn out the way the BernieBros hope. It won’t make health care better, it won’t make it more efficient, it won’t save the nation money. It’ll just do what socialism always does: make things worse.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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