One of the constant themes from Medicare for All (M4A) proponents is that moving to a government-run, single-payer health care system will boost economic growth.
For example, a recent pro-M4A article in New York Magazine notes, “Advocates say that by eliminating premiums and co-pays, Medicare for All would boost the economy by leaving more money in a person’s bank account.” (Note: No comment about the money leaving those bank accounts to pay the higher taxes needed to fund the program.)
So does that mean that all of those developed economies with government-run health care systems, such as most of those in the European Union, are expanding faster than the U.S.? Let’s see.
According to Trading Economics:
“The US economy advanced an annualized 2.6 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018 …. It follows a 3.4 percent expansion in the previous period. … GDP Growth Rate in the United States averaged 3.22 percent from 1947 until 2018 ….”
As for the EU:
“The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in European Union expanded 0.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 over the previous quarter. GDP Growth Rate in European Union averaged 0.44 percent from 1995 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 1.30 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999.”
Now, many factors affect a country’s economic growth. But health care is a major one for developed economies, especially in the U.S., where it represents nearly 18 percent of the economy. But if the left is going to claim that government-run health care would boost economic growth, it needs to explain why so many of their health care-model countries have such lackluster GDPs.
Actually, an easier case can be made that the reason most developed economies have such low economic growth is that they have long embraced many of the economic policies U.S. progressives are now pushing, like government-run health care.
Ironically, the left’s claim that spending less on health care will boost economic growth is a contradiction to their claims about expanding the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
As multiple states pushed back against expanding Medicaid, the left published papers claiming that Medicaid expansion would boost health care spending and consequently grow the economy.
As the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisors put it: “By pumping more Federal dollars into their economies, States’ decisions to expand Medicaid increase the overall level of economic activity.”
Now they say that reducing health care spending will grow the economy.
But don’t look for consistency among the left, because the debate over M4A isn’t really about boosting economic growth; that’s just a marketing ploy. The real issue is about giving the government more control over our health care and our lives.