By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
Last week, House Republicans attempted to pass the new GOP health care plan with the intention to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. However, they were unable to receive the necessary votes in order to pass it. In response, Senator Bernie Sanders announced that he will introduce a bill to create a single-payer health care system in the near future.
As Trump promised throughout his entire presidential campaign, the president finally took steps toward repealing the ACA. However, the Republican party’s attempt to repeal Obamacare fell apart when it did not receive the necessary 218 votes to get through to the senate. House Speaker, Paul Ryan, pulled the repeal bill from the floor on Friday, and Trump pointed the finger directly at Democrats to place blame for his failure. He probably should have blamed his own party instead, which holds the majority in the House.
This is where Bernie Sanders comes in. Sanders intends to counter the Republicans’ effort to repeal the ACA with a program that would provide affordable health care to all Americans.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on March 24, Sanders stated, “We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and move forward to a Medicare-for-all single-payer program. I will be introducing legislation shortly to do that.”
This suggested system was one of his most popular proposals throughout his presidential campaign. Single-payer is designed to cover all people regardless of age, income, employment, or diagnosis. It makes health care both affordable and accessible to all.
With a single-payer system, every American would be covered by the insurance plan in their state or region. A 2016 Gallup poll suggests that the majority of Americans do, or would, support the creation of a federally funded national health care system, as many have grown weary of the pharmaceutical and the health insurance industries as a whole.
At this point, however, it seems nearly impossible to transition to a single-payer system, especially when it is Bernie Sanders’ proposition. I love Bernie, I really do, but he’s a Democrat within the Senate, for all intents and purposes. I also think single-payer health care really only works on paper.
A single-payer system eliminates a competitive market between insurance companies. Because we are a capitalist society, we have a free market system where the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and consumers. If we transition from a multi-payer program, the health care system will no longer be a free market, but a government-controlled entity.
Additionally, government-controlled programs such as Social Security demonstrate that it might not be the right idea. Social Security, a program under the government’s control, is already failing after being founded less than a hundred years ago. If there is potential for the single-payer system to end up like our Social Security program, which is predicted to run out of money in the next twenty years, it’s not smart for America. And with that, Bernie’s legislation doesn’t really stand a chance.
The reality is that the Republicans have the majority within the government and will soon have an even more conservative Supreme Court. In addition, the Democratic Party has been apprehensive in supporting such a program, because many establishment Democrats are supported by donations from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
I admire Bernie for his proposition and for pushing this very new, even radical legislation among a House of more conservative senators than not. But even though Trump’s first proposed health care act failed, I don’t think that gives Bernie’s a chance.