Police Academy was a moderately funny movie. It gets a little more of a nostalgic boost in reviews, scoring 54% on Rotten Tomatoes even though it probably belongs somewhere lower. It was a moderate success at the box office in 1984, making $34 million in profits. All of this tells us it should have been a one-and-done comedy to float in the middle of the raunchy 80s flicks that dominated the decade.
Except, it didn’t die. Five more movies were made. Another movie is allegedly in development. It makes very little sense, yet even the franchise status of Police Academy is more feasible than the idea that there are currently three variations of Medicare-for-All being officially floated with others on their way. And just as the movies got progressively worse, so too do the radical progressives’ healthcare plans continue to plummet with each subsequent variation.
The latest plan comes from Senator Kamala Harris who is trying to put out something concrete after changing her story multiple times over the last couple of months. This is important ahead of the 2nd round of Democratic debates this week where she’s certain to be asked for clarity on her position after reversing herself following the 1st debate. Now, she has a concrete plan and it’s utterly abysmal. As bad as Senator Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-All plan is (which Harris co-sponsored in the Senate), Harris’s plan is even worse.
At least Bernie’s plan is honest. He plans on paying for it by adding a 4% tax on revenues above $29,000 per year. It’s horrible and quite unfair, of course, since it means high earners will be paying several times more in healthcare tax than they currently pay for private health insurance. And even with the middle-class tax increase, it’s still likely going to cost more than what the outrageously high new tax would cover.
But again, he’s honest about it. Harris is not.
In her variation, private health insurance would be available to those who want to buy it. Moreover, the additional tax would only kick in for those making over $100,000 per year, adjusted in areas with higher costs of living. This is as populist as a progressive healthcare plan can get. It’s also mathematically impossible and will result in one extremely detrimental result the plan does not account for in its flawed calculations.
“Tax the rich more!” It’s the rallying cry Harris has been echoing with other candidates since announcing. But pulling out the revenue Sanders’s plan would generate from the middle-class aspect of tax increases makes Harris’s plan even further from economic reality than Sanders’s plan. Offering “free” healthcare to everyone that will be paid for by those who have high incomes isn’t just pure redistribution-of-wealth socialism. The resulting revenues would be missing a couple of zeroes at the end when it comes time to pay the bill.
Sanders isn’t demanding a middle-class tax increase because he thought it would be popular with voters. He’s demanding it because there’s no other way to get in the same ballpark as the price tag that will be attached to his plan. The funny accounting being used in Harris’s plan is a bald-faced lie. She must either take the unpopular move of raising taxes across the board or she can’t come close to initiating her plan.
But the real oddity among the many messes in her plan is the offering of private insurance for those willing to pay extra. It would be different if doing so eliminated the tax, but it won’t. People won’t be able to replace their government-supplied insurance and costs. They can only add to it. This means over a hundred million Americans with good private health insurance will have to decide if they want to pay the tax AND the premiums on a private plan or stick with whatever monstrosity comes from full-blow government-managed health insurance.
The negative effect Harris’s plan doesn’t address is the fact that since so few people will be willing or able to add private insurance to their Medicare-for-All mandated coverage, costs will skyrocketed. And when the insurance companies realize the people who are opting for better private coverage are generally going to take full advantage of it, expenses will rise for insurance companies like revenues plummet.
When the math is all worked out, private health insurance will end up costing tens of thousands of extra dollars per year. The benefits will be getting away from the DMV-like service that invariably comes whenever DC tries to handle something themselves, especially something as complex as medical insurance. And since the costs will be so high, it will only be feasible for the wealthy. If the numbers don’t jibe, we can expect private health insurance companies to abandon ship, leaving one or two major players to control all of the private insurance market. In the end, our premiums will truly be premiums that only the rich will be able to afford.
The saddest part is Harris’s team likely knows these things, but they’re willing to put out an unworkable plan anyway in hopes it will differentiate her and give her good talking points that will seem on the surface to make sense. She’s counting on most Americans having very little understanding of the implications and long-term effects of her plan. Her best hope if she wins the general election is that Republicans control the House and/or the Senate so she won’t be forced to deliver on her commitment.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren may have horrible policy proposals, but at least they’re built from an ideological core. Kamala Harris is playing in a fanciful world. She and her team are either stupid, liars, or both.
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