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The Nonsensical Nature of “Medicare-for-All”

The Jimmy Barrett Show continues on KPRC 950.

Jimmy Barrett

It is 4:33 now in the am – 950 KPRC. Yeah, we talked a little bit about this this morning, but there’s just so much information to dispense. I’m glad he could come back on this afternoon when we have a little more time to play with it. Robert Charles is with the Association of Mature American Citizens – that’s the conservative version of AARP. Although I think they’re probably better in every aspect, of everything, than AARP. He probably doesn’t want to be compared to AARP, in any way shape or form.

And one thing, of course, that they are keeping an eye on is the quest by Democrats to socialize medicine. You know, “Medicare-for-All?” Under what circumstances, in what world, is government-run health care better than the private sector? Other than perceived price – and I’ll put the emphasis on perceived – because socialized medicine cost every bit as much if not more than privatized medicine. The difference is people under the delusion that they’re not paying for it when in reality they are. Robert, welcome to the afternoon show here on AM 950 KPRC. We start again-

Robert Charles

Thank you very much, Jimmy.

Barrett

Yeah, we started getting into it a little bit this morning, but there are some things, and we’ll get into those in just a second about this, that are in the Medicare-for-all bill that people don’t even realize are there that are almost Darwinian in nature. But is there, in your mind – and I’m trying to be fair about this – is there a case anywhere in the world of a socialized medicine program that is anything close to being as good as the private sector?

Charles

Well, I mean the obvious objective answer to that question is, no, whether you’re talking about Canada or you pick your poison, but the government is not incentivized to provide the kind of care that the private sector is. And that’s why, frankly, everyone from dictators to you know Communist Party members come to the United States for their care when the going really gets tough, because ours is the best in the world. You know, you point out – first, I want to thank you for mentioning AMAC, and I am their national spokesperson and I feel very privileged to be that simply because this is a group that truly defends things like the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Fourth, the Sixth and the rest. A solvent government, very Reaganesc I guess I would describe them as they are, they’re the folks who really represent older Americans that have kind of a true-blue mentality, and they’re fast growing.

They’ve got more than two million members and to get on board you just have to go to amac.us and you get a lot of benefits in the process. To your question, you know the main point I think, Jimmy, is that most people do not realize what people are talking about when they say “Medicare-for-All.” And there really are two bills – any American can access them. One is S1129. That’s Senator Bernie Sanders in the Senate. And the other is HR 1384, which was put forward by a number of real left-leaning members of the House. The sad thing is that virtually every Democratic presidential candidate seems to be behind these bills, and if you look at them, even someone who’s not a lawyer, even someone who really has no interest in this area, comes away just shaking their heads. And I think knowing the provisions in these bills is absolutely critical. You know, just reading from their texts – and they are companion bills – one thing it says, and I’m quoting is, “it shall be unlawful for a private health care insurer to sell health insurance coverage.” So, all of those employees that currently have insurance coverage, and your doc who you have through that, they all go away.

180 million Americans immediately lose their private health care plans. If you go deeper into this it gets, I mean, that means they lose their doctors, their offices, their hospitals, their nurses, their in-home care. Everything. And the notion is that you’re going to replace this with a kind of Nirvana, or, you know, whatever it is that the US government can somehow magically dispense. But look at the provisions in this bill, under Title 1, they give what’s called a universal Medicare program – a one-size-fits-all, wait your turn, get whatever they have to offer. The irony in this is that it actually allows- it forces everyone, by the way, to register from birth with a card and the federal government knows where you are and everything about you at that moment.

But then go a step further. It allows the federal government to decide what care you will and will not get. It will decide – one singular office – will decide, which is obviously operationally impossible, but will decide what is medically necessary or appropriate. They will, by the way, cover comprehensive reproductive. In other words, everybody who wants abortions gets them. There will be cost sharing, which means it’s sort of a sleight of hand. That means that you’ll still pay your prescription drug prices over a level they decide they’re not going to pay for. Doctors are, in the provisions of this bill, doctors are actually ominously encouraged to testify against each other if they see anybody accidentally working in the private sector.

[*call drops*]

Charles

…if the federal government, you know, fails, but you can’t do that at a time when you actually need it. You have to do it at some other time. The whole bill makes no sense and the sad part is it is incredibly costly. I can get into, that if you me want to?

Barrett

Yeah, we’ll give that, just saying, I’m you know… I’m still stuck back at the idea that instantaneously 186 million Americans lose their health care. Can you imagine the chaos alone of trying to sign up that many people to go into a government health care system? That would take years!

Charles

And do you know, and by the way, every single procedure and every single clinical engagement has to be pre-approved or approved for payment within 30 days by the federal government. There’s no way that would happen. I have a family with some kids, and we have medical issues all the time. The notion that I would no longer be able to do a yes/no, right/wrong with my own doctor, but now have to, you know, basically take a risk on everything I do as to whether or not the federal government will support it. And by the way, when you end up in those situations, whether it’s a communist country, a socialist country, the Canadian system, the British system, what ends up happening to greater and lesser extent is that you get bad care delayed at high cost. So, because actually at the end of it, the taxpayer has to pay for all this, right? Money isn’t invented. It doesn’t grow on trees. The taxpayer, the middle-class taxpayer, ends up paying for bad soviet-style medicine for which they have to wait. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Barrett

I’m guessing, too, that not only do you have to pay for it, but you’re going to pay as much, if not greater rates, than what you’re paying now for far less.

Charles

Well, I mean it’s exactly like the Obamacare promise, right? You know, your premiums will go down. Actually, that wasn’t true at all. People’s premiums went up, and their deductibles went up, and their value went down. This is even worse than that, in a way, because it’s a knowing deception, in my view. There is no one in their right mind who truly believes that, the way these bills are structured, you could ever get a workable healthcare system. But what they’re doing, just like promising free education and promising free you-name-it, free, you know, modification of the weather, and free everything, we’re going to give you now free health care. The problem is, you know, things are often worth what you pay for. And, you know, in this particular instance all the incentives are wiped out. You end up with, you know, Venezuelan-style medicine and, what do you get from that? At the end of the day you get the promise that it was going to be done for free. But what about that promise?

You know, this bill, by the admission of all of the democrats running for president – and only 20% of democrats actually support this program, that is to say 20% of voters – democrat affiliated registered voters – yet, every single presidential candidate is for this ridiculous program and they seem to be trumpeting it as if it’s, you know, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. But it costs 32 trillion dollars over ten years. That’s their numbers. So, think about that for a minute with me, Jimmy. 32 trillion dollars is thirty-two-thousand times a billion dollars. It’s one-and-a-half times America’s gross domestic product or two-thirds of all the money in the world central banks. That’s a fifth more than the entire combined value of all the fortune 500 companies or ten times the cost of both the Iraq and Afghan Wars. It is inconceivably expensive, even on their numbers. So, if you want bad medicine that, you know, shortens your life, makes quality of care go down dramatically, and costs you through the roof, this would be your option.

Barrett

Sounds like a lot of fun. I guess if you’re Canadian, you don’t know any better. I guess if you’re British, you don’t know any better because the system has been that way for so long. But…

Charles

I think I would put it exactly as you put it, but in kind of the converse. We in this country are used to good quality medical care. We can’t truly conceive how bad it gets. I’ll give you an example in the medical side, with Canada. Not only do their ambulances end up going round and around the hospitals, waiting for slots, but people wait months and months for what are, in fact, life and death operations ranging from, I mean, I could give you the list, but there’s a long list and, in fact, if you look at places like New Brunswick so – just north of the eastern seaboard in Canada you have this province of New Brunswick. In the entire province of New Brunswick there is one working MRI machine. Now, think about that when you kid-

Barrett

Can you hold that thought for me, sir? Hold that thought, I’m up against a hard break, but I want to get into that example. And I want to get into a little bit with you if you could take the time to kind of explain to us what would happen to the American medical profession under that sort of a business model. Back with more in a moment, we’re visiting with Robert Charles – Association of Mature American Citizens. Back with him in just a moment on AM 950 KPRC.

[*break*]

Back to the Jimmy Barrett Show on KPRC 950.

Barrett

We’re talking about Medicare-for-all. We’re talking about socialized medicine. We’re talking about it with Robert Charles. He’s with the Association of Mature American Citizens – that’s the alternative to AARP. He’s also a former Assistant Secretary of State for President George W Bush, and when we got so rudely interrupted by making money, Robert, you were talking about a case in Canada where there’s, I forget which part of Canada, where they have, like, one MRI machine for the entire area?

Charles

Yeah, so that was just an example of how lucky we are in the United States because, when you need an MRI or x-ray your GP generally has access to one nearby. In the entire province of New Brunswick, you know, one recent report indicated there was just one MRI machine. So – and of course the queue for that, the lineup for that, is long. I, you know, I think when you think about Medicare-for-all it, you know, the phraseology – this is the trick of politics. They pick a good name, you know, the “Save America Bill” and you know Medicare-for-all sounds like it’s providing medical care for all. It’s actually the exact reverse. It not only is so costly that it would bankrupt – I mean, if we’re talking about the government taking over 20% of the entire United States economy – it would not only bankrupt the middle class, and provide poor quality care, but you have to remember that, you know, we fall into the trap of kind of believing what the media tells us, as a general matter, and I think it’s important to go back to the data points, not just in these two bills which we’ve discussed, you know, a moment ago but just the basic facts.

Look, medicine is created by the private sector. The government does not create anything. It moves a lot of paper around it allocates and appropriates and ultimately apportions money for things. But it does not create anything. Medicine and the quality of American medical care is based on the incentives that are attached to creating good medicine by everyone from small to large businesses and the provision of that medicine to people in a personal way. That is why people all over the world come to the United States for their medical care. You know where I grew up, in rural America, we had a phrase – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And, you know, that’s sort of where we are right now. I, as an Assistant Secretary of State, I had the good fortune of being in a lot of countries.

I’ve probably been in 50 countries in my life and there is not one of those countries that provides the kind of responsive, effective, high-quality, lowest-possible-cost medical care that you get in the United States. Everything else is a fiction. It’s the idea that, you know, we can somehow lump it all together, centralize the distribution process, and everybody will be happy. One size will fit all. And what we know empirically is it simply doesn’t work that way.

Barrett

I don’t know what it does, specifically, to the medical profession itself, but here’s what I do know. My cardiologist is from Brazil. I think the best other countries have to offer, when it comes to the field of medicine, end up here in the United States. I’m sure there’s a reason why they end up here.

Charles

Absolutely. So, you know, I tend to believe that the best possible system for the allocation of high-quality goods and services is capitalism. And that’s because the producer of those goods and services responds to the demands of the people. And if there is a need for high-quality flu vaccinations at a low cost, then the markets clear because people say, I will pay this amount of money for that. When you get the government, which is an artificial setter-of-prices, and of standards of care, involved in this what you’ve really done is you’ve taken something that’s done well in the private sector and just for the purposes of aggregating power around a central few, you’ve given that authority to the federal government.

And that is – it just doesn’t work. I mean, I understand that there are people who need care that don’t have it, and that’s why we have something called Medicare and that’s why we have something called Medicaid. And those are essentially a safety net for those that cannot afford high-quality care, and we take care of the poor in this country for that exact reason. But that’s not a good argument and, you know, you used, I think, earlier today, the VA as an example of care that is very disparate. In some parts of the country it’s good, in other parts of the country it’s terrible, and ultimately the bureaucracy – all kinds of errors and omissions and, sadly, life and death mistakes that get made as a result of having it all be centralized.

So, the bottom line is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And the medical profession in this country not only attracts people from around the world to serve in it, but actually attracts patients from all over the world because the smartest and the wealthiest people in the world know that if you want to get good quality medical care the place to go is the United States of America.

Barrett

Alright, Robert, before we let you go tell us how to get a hold of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Charles

Yes, sir. Again, as you said, it is the conservative version of AARP. They’ve got all the benefits that come with that kind of a membership, but they also give you a great magazine every month. It’s better, in my view, than Time magazine. It’s a true news that you’re not going to get anywhere else, and other benefits. And you just, literally, Google AMAC- A-M-A-C, or amac.us, and they are also, frankly, defending some of our constitutional rights and the solvency of the government and other really, I’ll call them all-American principles – a strong defense, a strong southern border. They do that every day in Washington, and I think the good news about that kind of an organization is, in a world where a lot of Americans don’t think they have a voice, AMAC gives them a voice.

Barrett

Robert, thank you so much for taking all the time with us today. Appreciate it so much. Take care, sir. We’ll talk again.

Charles

Yes, sir.

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Rik

Just ask “these Medicare for All politicians” … if you believe in this 100%, then ALL OF YOU DEMOCRATS SHOULD HAVE IT TOO!!! … If it’s not good enough for you, then it’s not good enough for me!!!