The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force provides recommendations in six areas of domestic policy which are a roadmap for what Biden and his team want to accomplish if he is elected president. Despite little discussion about public policy at their convention, this is a detailed plan for domestic policy. Today we will look at their plans for health care entitled Achieving Universal Affordable, Quality Health Care.
There are two parts of the plan, a 10-page narrative of what they want to do and then a 13-page description of their policy recommendations. This is the longest of six parts of the report.
A note of interest: Much like the Hillary Clinton Task Force on Health Care in 1993, not one member of this group is a practicing physician or nurse. Also, no hospital administrators are part of the group. None of these people have worked as a health care provider to inform their decisions on how to alter the system.
Here are some points of what they describe:
1. “We are going to at last build the health care system the American people have always deserved. We will build a health care system that is driven by the needs of patients and the people who care for them, instead of the profit motives of corporations.” Once again they display their hatred for the capitalist system. The only good corporation is a dead corporation. If the needs of the patients and the people who care for them are so paramount, why couldn’t they find one person from those groups to be on the Task Force?
2. They do not call for government run health insurance or use the words Medicare for All. They are careful here. They just call for a public option. If you are under the delusional belief that the public option is not just a stalking horse for government run health care, then read this report. They have so many handouts and subsidies to boost the public option and undercut private insurance that only a naïve person would not believe that, if adopted, this plan is the shortest road to government run, single-payer health care. There is only one path this Task Force sees toward universal health care — the government total control.
3. There is a long established saying in sales – “you can have price, service or quality; pick two.” There is a reason that saying has existed for a long time; it is a truism. The task force is telling you that they are going to create a low-cost, high-quality product with great service. Since no one on the Task Force has apparently ever had a real job they would not know how to create such a system if it were even possible. But it is not. Someone should teach them the other great sales saying – “under promise and over deliver.”
4. They state “we recognize that health care is a right.” Whether you agree with that statement or not, the question is who controls the system of delivery. As challenging as the current system is, wait until it all is controlled by the federal government. They want you to believe it works well in other countries, but that is a falsehood. Even Denmark partially privatized their health care system to return control to individuals.
5. “We must start by making COVID-19 testing widely available, convenient and free to everyone.” It already is. Their definition of convenience may be people going door-to-door. That is not being done. They also said they want to make vaccines free to everyone. President Trump has already said they will be. It would help if they would stop making ridiculous statements like Governor Cuomo did about doing his own testing of the vaccine.
6. “Democrats believe the federal government should pick up 100 % of the tab for COBRA. COBRA is an insurance option provided to former employees upon their termination. This is another one of their steps to expand governmental control of the health system.
7. “Democrats are appalled that President Trump failed to act on the advice of Congress to maintain a strong stockpile of critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment.” Either they have the wrong president (Mr. Obama depleted the stockpile and did not replenish it) or they have a lot chutzpah.
8. They want to eliminate tax breaks for prescription drug advertisements. Otherwise, consumers stay totally ignorant and rely totally on us to tell you what you can or cannot have.
9. “The opioid epidemic has devastated American communities and the Trump Administration has completely failed in its response.” Another case of world-class chutzpah. For eight years Mr. Obama did extraordinarily little and Mr. Trump was the first to attempt to get this under control.
10. There is no mention of the cost of these plans. They tell us by taking the profits out of the system taken by diabolic corporations will save money for us all. They did not get far on doing that with the ACA and this will just compound the lie. The only way to wring costs out of the system is to deny or delay services. That is the only plan they could have. If you do not believe that ask a Canadian.
This document is a call to arms for nationalized, single-payer, government controlled health care. There are so many expansions they are proposing to the health care system while decrying the out-of-line costs for the system as it currently exists. The reason it is so expensive in their minds is capitalist greed. If only the government would run all aspects of the system, we would have a free and fair system. The current system is racist and sexist and against the LGBTQ+ community. One question is how can the system be sexist when the life expectancy for females is longer than for males? Maybe they mean it is against males? In addition, they want to cover illegal aliens.
The other factor is they want to add personnel to the system. They want to add 600,000 home healthcare workers to the system. Many of those people who want home health care would be better off in a facility and it would be more cost-effective. They are proposing to create 600,000 jobs which then would become unionized government employees. That is at minimum a $24 billion annual tab.
On the other hand, just like the ACA, they do not address our shortage of doctors and nurses. They talk in general about creating health care jobs, but no specific reference to the two key positions – doctors and nurses. No proposal to expand medical or nursing schools. We will always have an inadequate system if we don’t have more well-trained doctors and nurses. Importing them from foreign countries is not a solution. And lowering standards to meet some perceived injustice is not a solution.
We will be back to let you know what else the Biden team wants to do so you can make an educated decision for whom to vote on November 3rd.