2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg is promoting a version of “Medicare for All.” It’s called “Medicare for All Who Want It.” Buttigieg proposed his plan as an alternative to the plans from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., which aim to eliminate private health insurance at a hefty price tag of $30 trillion.
Buttigieg’s health care plan claims it will provide a government-run, affordable alternative to private health insurance without eliminating it. His plan aims to be a moderate alternative to “Medicare for All,” however, just like Sanders’s and Warren’s plans, it advocates for the complete overhaul of private insurance. Buttigieg’s plan would also end private insurance over time, instead of immediately, like the other radical plans put forth by Democratic presidential hopefuls.
“Through Pete’s Medicare for All Who Want It plan, everyone will be able to opt in to an affordable, comprehensive public alternative. This affordable public plan will incentivize private insurers to compete on price and bring down costs. If private insurers are not able to offer something dramatically better, this public plan will create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All,” the plan reads.
Buttigieg’s plan claims to cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years, much less than for Medicare for All although still the same projected cost as the entire current federal budget over a whole year, at spending levels that have already been driving record federal deficits and debt for a decade. Even the Washington Post can admit Buttigieg’s health-care plan is not moderate.
The “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan promotes the individual mandate, one of the most unpopular and problematic aspects of the “Affordable Care Act,” commonly known as Obamacare. The individual mandate fined uninsured Americans to pay for health care costs that Obamacare’s quasi-socialized medicine increased. By forcing everyone to pay for expensive coverage, the individual mandate essentially penalizes healthy people in order to pay the expenses of sick people and bureaucrats, while making the entire health system more expensive and inefficient for everyone.
Obamacare was passed in 2010. Seven years later, Republicans repealed the individual mandate in a tax bill. As of December 18, the individual mandate was also ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals. This decision obliterates Democrats’ ability to pay for “Medicare for All” through an individual mandate.
Despite the changes in legality, a Buttigieg presidency means the individual mandate could return and at a much higher price. Matt Bruenig, the head of a left-wing think tank, told the Washington Post that Buttigieg’s individual mandate will be far more expensive than Obama’s individual mandate. If an individual was uninsured under the Obamacare mandate, he or she was forced to pay a $695 annual fine or 2.5 percent of his or her income, whichever number was higher. According to Bruenig, this price could be far higher under a Buttigieg administration.
“Instead of paying a $695 fine at the end of the year for being uninsured, you are hit with a bill to pay an entire year of premiums that could be ten times that amount. This will be a political nightmare,” Bruenig told the Washington Post. The estimated costs for Buttigieg’s individual mandate, according to the Washington Post, is approximately $7,000 per uninsured individual.
It is ridiculous to claim that Buttigieg is a moderate in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Any attempt to charge individuals upwards of $7,000 per year for being uninsured can’t be labeled moderate. In fact, Buttigieg’s health care plan is just as insane as Sanders’s and Warren’s plans, he’s just trying harder to hide the underlying costs.