First, Medicare is not currently sustainable. Adding more beneficiaries makes the problem worse, not better. The Part A trust fund, which pays for hospital care, is projected to be insolvent by 2029. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the liberal Urban Institute have both concluded that Medicare beneficiaries earning an average wage receive more in lifetime benefits than they paid in Medicare taxes. Further, entitlement spending is already projected to grow faster than the rest of the economy and the federal budget, crowding out other spending. Massive federal tax increases would be the inevitable result.
Second, tens of millions of Americans would be forced off the plans they currently like. Almost 160 million Americans are in employer-provided coverage, fewer than 30 million are uninsured, and about 10 million participate in the Obamacare exchanges. Even within Medicare, almost 20 million beneficiaries have chosen a Medicare Advantage plan, and the number choosing to get their health care via a private insurer is growing. Let Democrats try to take away this popular benefit and explain why so many should have to give up so much to accomplish so little, as opposed to a more targeted approach that helps those in need without punishing those happy with their current coverage.
Third, government-run health care leads to longer lines, less care, and politicized decision-making.