Free Health Care…
Leftists are pushing ‘Medicare-for-all’. Sixteen senators publicly support Bernie Sanders’ vision of “Medicare-for-all.” Sanders’ bill, S.1804, was explicit about outlawing private health insurance. It will mandate participation in a government run system. The determination of what care would be available, to whom and when would be usurped by the federal government. The proposal takes away the private insurance coverage of about 200 million people.
Wait what does it cost?
“Medicare-for-all’s” advocates promise a health care system that’s free at the point of service. That means no co-pays, no deductibles, and no coinsurance. Those advocates are not upfront about how they’d pay for it. They don’t want the responsibility for imposing the more than $3.2 trillion/year tax increase required to implement the program. Independent estimates say the program requires more than doubling the federal government’s total individual and corporate income tax revenue. Got that? Taxes have to more than double. How much of a hit will that take out of your standard of living?
The bill proposes reimbursing doctors and hospitals at Medicare’s current rates, which are 40% below what private insurance pays. Health care providers are unlikely to absorb those cuts. Those with narrow margins will be forced into bankruptcy. Some doctors will respond to lower payments by not seeing government patients. Others will retire early or leaving the practice of medicine. Logic tells us those choosing medicine will become a different group. Imposing wage control on medicine will dampens the enthusiasm of the best and brightest for a medical career.
Legislatively ratcheting down the price of care will cause health care providers to supply less of it. We will pay more and get less. The result will be longer waits. American patients should not have to stand for imposition of higher taxes, in order to get lower-quality care and less of it. Those will be the results “Medicare-for-all” will bring. The experiences of other countries with single-payer health care demonstrate what the results will be.
How’s it working out in Canada?
In Canada private health insurance is outlawed. There the median wait for treatment from a specialist, following referral by a general practitioner, is 19.8 weeks. That is according to the Fraser Institute. Waits are longer for some specialties such as orthopedic surgery where the median wait for specialist treatment is 39 weeks. Many Canadians are uninterested in waiting multiple months for treatment. When they are in pain or fear they may have a serious illness, those with the ability, pay out of pocket for care abroad. More than 63,000 Canadians went to another country to receive medical treatment in 2016.
Yeah, well, How’s it working out in the U.K.?
The United Kingdom’s government-run, National Health Service (NHS), has proven itself similarly incapable of providing timely, quality care. The system is currently short 100,000 health professionals; doctors, nurses and other workers. It’s no wonder 14% of operations are canceled right before they are supposed to happen, usually due to a shortage of staff or beds. Last July, 4.3 million patients were waiting for an operation. That illustrates governmental concern for healthcare. During the winter, the NHS goes into crisis mode. Between December 2017 and February 2018, more than 163,000 patients waited in corridors. People waited in ambulances for over 30 minutes before admission to the emergency room. To deal with the crunch, officials ordered hospitals to cancel 50,000 operations.
Polls know everything.
Currently about 56% of Americans believe that they’d be able to keep their private insurance under “Medicare-for-all.” Support for the idea plummets from 56% to 37% when they learn private health insurance would be eliminated. The same happens after they learn it would require doubling their taxes. About 70% of Americans say they’d oppose “Medicare-for-all” if it led to delays in getting treatment and tests. Such delays are not hypothetical. They are endemic to single-payer.
And so the battle rages on. Are we going to continue to believe that Santa will bring us free health care? Maybe he will… But even so we are likely to have to wait for it until his once a year delivery. And when we do get it, the treatment will be what your senator says it should be, regardless what your physician may think. Ho, Ho, Ho boys and girls… Ho, Ho, Ho…