The Rise of Political Charlatans

The growing support among democrat presidential candidates for Medicare for All suggests that they haven’t heard of or don’t believe  Groucho Marx’s observation that “politics is about searching for problems, finding them everywhere, misdiagnosing them, and applying the wrong solutions.”  Indeed, these candidates help to explain why Washington DC is known as 68 square miles surrounded by reality.

The leaders of the Medicare for All movement, Senators Sanders and Warren, have somehow convinced themselves and others that replacing an oligopoly with a monopoly will solve all of our health insurance problems.  This is truly a case of “Woodenheaded”—assessing problems in terms of preconceived notions while ignoring contrary facts.  Indeed, they are really political charlatans—see real insight.

There are no examples in history where monopolies have made lives better or perform better than markets over the long run. Do voters really want a health insurance system modeled after the Postal Service or the Veterans Administration hospital system?

Our health insurance problems can be traced to a lack of competition and third-party providers.  Allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, being tougher on the consolidation race, discontinuing employer deductibility for employee health insurance, and providing a mechanism to fund catastrophic illnesses would represent major improvements in delivery of services and costs.     

The countries that have the best health care systems have not adopted the Medicare for All model.  Sweden and Switzerland are generally viewed as having health insurance programs that are among the world’s best.  Neither promotes a health insurance monopoly.  The governments mandate universal coverage that is managed at the local level but allows for private insurance for those who want more extensive coverage.  Individuals bear the cost of insurance.

While free everything might sound good to many voters, most will realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone always pays and the top 1% don’t have enough wealth to pay for all the promises that progressive democrats are making.  Just Medicare for All has been priced at over $32 trillion in its first decade.  These promises are a prescription for economic disaster.  But the politicians who make them are probably not sincere and believe that voters don’t know when they are being bamboozled.


Founder and president of Solutions Consulting which focuses on public policy issues, strategic planning, and strategic communications.

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