Dems’ plans sabotage workers
Would you rather show up at work on time or stretch out on the sofa and watch TV? Stupid question. Most people punch a clock out of necessity. But progressive Democrats want to make work optional, and to guarantee a slew of benefits to everyone, whether they get off the couch or not. It’s a slap in the face to America’s workforce.
Some 70 Democrats in the House of Representatives — more than one-third of the party’s representatives — endorsed a plan on Thursday to outlaw private health insurance and force all Americans into a government-run system. Let’s be clear. This plan is not about helping the needy. The plan would rip away medical coverage from half of all Americans, including the 157 million who get their insurance the old-fashioned way — earning it through a job. The plan, dubbed “Medicare for All,” would prohibit employers — even giant companies that self-insure — from covering workers, retirees or their families.
Union workers with gold-plated health benefits would have to give them up and settle for the same coverage as people who refuse to work at all. Why work?
Apparently, the Democratic Party no longer believes in work.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is taking the opposite route — beefing up work incentives. Last Thursday, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers revealed that about half of able-bodied adults who collect benefits, such as food stamps, housing aid or Medicaid, work zero hours, while the nation’s working stiffs pay the tab.
Why should people toil if they can get take it easy and get freebies instead? No wonder nearly 1 out of every 5 working-age adults collects these benefits. Dependence soared during the Obama administration, while workforce participation plummeted.
The Trump administration wants to reverse this grim trend. The administration is urging states to require able-bodied adults on Medicaid to do something — work, go to school, go to job training, get addiction treatment, take English as a second language or care for a family member. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., bashes these efforts as “mean-spirited,” and left-wing advocacy groups are suing to stop them.
No surprise. After all, back in 2010, Dems sold Obamacare to a doubting public with the argument that it would allow them to quit their jobs in the “pursuit of happiness.” Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and health plan subsidies would liberate them, Pelosi promised. “Just think, if you could be a photographer, a writer,” instead of being locked in a job to get health coverage. The Congressional Budget Office warned that the Affordable Care Act would reduce the incentive to work. Astoundingly, Democrats considered that a positive.
And the predictions are coming true. Medicaid rolls are nearing 74 million, and are projected to reach 87 million within a decade.
Even more outrageous, the progressive wing of the party is ready to sabotage those working stiffs. Congressional bigwigs like Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are staying quiet about the Medicare for All proposal. It won’t become law anytime soon. But confrontational progressives like Democratic Party Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, D-Minn., New York’s newly nominated congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and salivating presidential wannabes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., are pushing hard for it, showing where the party is headed. They don’t care that employees with on-the-job coverage would be the biggest losers. Working people be damned.
Unlike single-payer in the United Kingdom, which allows residents to buy private insurance, Medicare for All outlaws any escape from the government-run system. Even if you’re desperate for better care, you’re trapped. The idea is no one should receive more or better care by earning it.
That’s crazy. People who work hard should have the freedom to spend their earnings on top-of-the-line health insurance, if that’s what’s important to them. Democrats used to be the party of working people. But the party’s fast-becoming their worst enemy.
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a former lieutenant governor of New York State. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.