Betsy McCaughey: Sanders gets it wrong on 'Medicare-for-all'

Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is flaunting a “study” he claims backs up his "Medicare-for-all" health plan. Sanders bragged to Las Vegas debate watchers Wednesday night that a “major study” from a “Yale epidemiologist in one of the leading medical publications in the world “ shows that “Medicare-for-all” will reduce health care costs and save the nation a bundle.

Don’t believe it. This is not objective research.

The chief author, Alison Galvani, worked as an unpaid adviser to Sanders’ Senate office. Galvani notes that she designed and wrote the study for the purpose of supporting Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” bill. That’s the opposite of what scientists are supposed to do. Scientists are supposed to objectively study something to discover the truth – not selectively assemble information to build an argument in support of a predetermined conclusion.

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Here are the four fallacies in the study Sanders referenced.

Fallacy 1: "Medicare is a 54-year-old real-world test for the viability of single-payer government-funded health care."

That’s wrong. Medicare is able to cover some 58 million people affordably because it shortchanges hospitals and doctors, paying them only about 87 cents for every dollar of care delivered. Doctors and hospitals shift the unmet costs onto their patients with private insurance.

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However, in Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” plan, there would be no privately insured patients. Everyone would be shortchanging the health care providers. Some hospitals and doctors’ offices would have to shutter their doors, and others would operate in an environment of scarcity, laying off nurses, spreading care thinner, and cramming more beds into each room.

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Fallacy 2: "As providers reduce their administrative workload, they free time for patient care, which will bolster career satisfaction and increase their revenue."

Nonsense. The federal government imposes the most onerous record-keeping and administrative costs of all, turning doctors into data entry clerks. It’s a major cause of burned-out doctors abandoning the profession. The biggest loser is the patient whose needs don’t fit the cookie-cutter medicine protocols. Single-payer will only make it worse.

Fallacy 3: "The provision of universal health care would entail expanded use of health services by those who are currently uninsured and those who are insured but for whom cost, such as copays, imposes a barrier to health care."

True, demand for health care will increase. But with hospitals, doctors and nurses getting paid less, will supply increase to meet this demand? No. Instead, get ready for long waits, dangerous delays between diagnosis and treatment, declining cancer survival rates, and the kind of rationing against the elderly that is notorious in the British National Health Service.

Fallacy 4: If ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) is repealed, 21 million Americans are predicted to lose health insurance coverage. Elimination of the Affordable Care Act would result in the loss of 38,557 lives.

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Ridiculous. No one on either side of the aisle has proposed eliminating ObamaCare without replacing it. Suggesting otherwise is sheer demagoguery.

It's too bad when respected medical journals stoop to publishing partisan hackwork.

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