Byko: Get ready for single-payer health care

The future may have been foretold by Bernie Sanders: universal free health care for all.

If the so-called American Health Care Act will be so “wonderful,” as President Trump promises, why hasn’t he put his name on it, as he has golf courses, casinos, an airline, beef, and residences?

Ah, some of you are saying that President Obama, the notorious wire-tapper, didn’t put his name on the Affordable Care Act. That’s true, but he didn’t get the heebie-jeebies when his pals started calling it Obamacare. No one's name is attached to the current health-insurance bill. 

It’s fine having your name associated with something good, which is why some men pin their name on their sons, with Junior as the suffix. Donald Trump’s eldest son is Donald Junior. 

Having done deep — and by that, I mean adequate — research into the Republican House health-care bill — let’s call it NoNameCare — I find several points (almost) everyone agrees on.

  • Democrats are united in opposing it, while Republican support is splintered. Some feel it is too little — Obamacare Lite — while others believe it is much too harsh.

  • At the end of a decade, 24 million fewer Americans would be insured. (Some will choose to be uninsured, others won't be able to afford it.)

  • At the end of a decade, the U.S. deficit would be reduced by $337 billion.

  • No one will be forced to enroll.

When you push the envelope a little farther, based on the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, critics of NoNameCare say premiums will rise for the next few years. Yes, say supporters, but they will fall after that.

Critics say $600 billion of the change will come in the form of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, insurance and drug companies, which need all the help they can get. (Sarcasm intended.)  

The people who will be paying more are the elderly and the poor, insist the critics. Subsidies they now get will be replaced by tax credits, say the supporters.

The credits will be less than the subsidies, say the critics.

Back and forth, blah, blah, blah.

While Obamacare never enjoyed majority approval during its first few years — when people didn’t get to keep their doctors and saw premiums balloon — that has changed.

Early last month, Public Policy Polling found 62 percent of Americans wanted to keep Obamacare, with some fixes. They did not want repeal.

When Obamacare was moving toward passage, I wrote it was not fiscally possible for the United States to enroll 30 million more Americans, prohibit insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions, remove the expense cap and — as Obama said — reduce the annual cost to a family by $2,500 a year.

I was not against it, necessarily — I was just saying it could not be true. And it wasn’t. The numbers didn't add up. 

Someone had to pay for the extra costs, and that someone was the upper-income earner.

Today, as NoNameCare trudges toward possible (if unlikely) passage, I tell you the people who will get it in the neck are middle-income earners and below.

When they feel their costs exploding, to paraphrase George H.W. Bush after the invasion of Kuwait, it shall not stand.

Once people get a benefit — and that’s what Obamacare is, for millions — they put it in a vise-lock headlock. It’s human nature.

If NoNameCare is passed and it hurts enough people — and it will — it will go sidewise. Another fix will be required. 

What will replace it? Ask Bernie Sanders, who advocates universal free health care for all.

Sure, no government program is really free. Most people will pay something for it, the rich more than the poor. That’s only right.

Conservatives will freak out and call it socialized medicine. Socialism was what they called Social Security, but they never revoked it, even when they were in charge. They were afraid to, because too many Americans wanted it.

That’s where we are heading, on a societal curve that has embraced gay marriage, “medical” marijuana, life coaches, tattoos, and transgender rights — things undreamt of two decades ago.

Single-payer health insurance is inevitable. That will create another enormous bureaucracy, yes, but beneficiaries of the Social Security and Medicare bureaucracies like the way they are treated. 

Welcome to neo-socialism; put on your Che beret.