Rebecca Otto’s health care pipe dream

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In her attempt to attract Bernie Sanders voters, State Auditor Rebecca Otto is proposing universal health care, saying “I’m providing a path for us to change what we’re doing as a state.”

According to the article, “Under Otto’s plan, every Minnesota resident would get basic health care coverage and would be able to choose his or her doctor. There would be no premiums or deductibles. Doctors would be paid to improve patients’ overall health rather than just treat ailments.” Later, Otto said “We should be able to reduce our cost of health care by 15 percent overall. That’s a big deal.”

That would be a big deal if it was possible. Unfortunately, it isn’t. In fact, it isn’t even close to possible. It’s a pipe dream. I wrote this post about California’s attempt to implement single-payer. It was scrapped when they found out how expensive it was. According to the article, “California’s single-payer plan would cost their state $400,000,000,000. Per year.” That’s half a trillion dollars per year for California. If the cost per patient was the same in Minnesota, Minnesota’s bill would be approximately $56,000,000,000 per year. That’s roughly the size of Minnesota’s biennial state budget plus an additional 33%.

Clearly, this isn’t a serious policy proposal. It’s meant to be a play for Bernie Sanders’ voters. That’s entirely predictable considering the fact that Tim Walz just picked Peggy Flanagan, a woman with impeccable ‘Bernie credentials’, as his running mate.

Otto did not put a price tag on her plan. She said the cost still needs to be worked out. Otto said the plan will rely on existing state and federal health care money, which would be redirected to a dedicated trust fund. She said a tax increase would also be part of the equation.

Then there’s this fantasy:

Despite strong Republican opposition to tax increases and to an expanded government role in health care, Otto is convinced that she can get bipartisan support for her proposal. She said Republican small business owners have already approached about fixing health care.

I suspect that that’s an outright lie. I suspect that that’s a lie because there isn’t a chance that Otto’s tax increase would be directed at the middle class. Small business owner won’t volunteer for a tax increase to pay for an expensive universal health care plan. Anyone that thinks that’s possible is using expensive illegal narcotics.