(This post was originally posted 3/11/19.)
(Author’s note: As we enter the last few weeks of the presidential campaign, there are several campaign issues which have been previously addressed in this blog. These include Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare, socialism, school choice and others. In the next few weeks I will be re-posting many of my previous posts on these issues as a review for voters. For this limited time I will be posting five days a week instead of the usual twice a week. These earlier posts will be intermingled with new posts on current topics.)
In previous posts of this series, Part I addressed the false claims of supporters of Medicare for All that it would provide universal access to healthcare. In Part II I continued with more discussion on access to healthcare and the claim that this would eliminate approval of medical treatments. Part III addressed the impact on increased taxes and healthcare costs for patients and the government.
In Part IV we will talk about the impact Medicare for All will have on the quality of healthcare delivered in America if this government-controlled system is enacted.
Everyone wants the best healthcare – and preferably at the lowest price. Unfortunately you can’t have it all in this world. You can have great healthcare if you’re willing to pay for it – or you can settle for poor healthcare if that’s all you can afford. Healthcare is no different in that respect than any other commodity.
However, when it comes to our health, no one wants second best. We feel “entitled” to the best. America is the envy of the world when it comes to providing the best medical treatments. Many of the world’s richest individuals come here for their healthcare – because they can afford it. But our concern should be for everyone.
I have a personal friend worth billions who lives in Canada. Knowing he is stuck with a single-payer healthcare system, I asked him where he gets his healthcare. His answer was the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic – both world-class healthcare institutions in the U.S. But just in case he has to go to his local hospital in Toronto, he makes generous donations to them periodically to be sure he can get prompt treatment. The rich can always get around the system.
The same will be true in America if Medicare for All is implemented. The rich will always be able to get quality healthcare. But what about the average American?
Here is the grim reality – socialized medicine will always produce lower quality healthcare outcomes. Here is an excerpt from my book, The ObamaCare Reality, taken from the chapter on Socialized Medicine:
The problem of poor access to healthcare is so well known in Britain that the press refers to the NHS as a “postcode lottery”. This refers to a person’s chances for timely, high-quality treatment depends on the neighborhood or “postcode” in which he or she lives. The Guardian sums up the situation with this statement, “Generally speaking, the poorer you are and the more socially deprived your area, the worse your care and access is likely to be.”
Some studies bear out this impression:
- Nonelderly Britons living in areas with the worst-performing hospitals were 42 percent more likely to die on any given day than the average for Britain as a whole.
- The nonelderly population living in regions with the best-performing hospitals were 24 percent less likely to die than the average for Britain as a whole.
- Overall, the study found that if health care inequity were merely decreased to 1983 levels, some 7,500 premature deaths among people younger than sixty-five could be avoided each year.
- One study found that if the proportion of cancer-related illnesses and deaths were the same in Britain’s lowest socioeconomic groups as in the most affluent, there would be 16,600 fewer deaths from cancer each year.
- The British Heart foundation (BHF) found that the premature death rate for working-class men is 58 percent higher than non-working class men; the BHF estimates that more than 5,000 working-class men under the age of sixty-five die of coronary heart disease each year in Britain because of variations in health care accessfor different socioeconomic groups.
This excerpt from the NHS in Great Britain is representative of every socialized medicine system. Quality is sacrificed to control costs by rationing of care.
Recently the NHS was again in the news as Britain is experiencing a flu epidemic. Sally Pipes, writing in Forbes, says the flu season has pushed the 70-year-old NHS to the brink of collapse. The chronic failures of Britain’s state-run system should disabuse Americans of the notion that more government control is the answer to our healthcare problems.
“Long waits are inherent in any healthcare system dominated by the state. When governments make care “free,” they remove any financial incentive for patients to moderate their consumption of care. To keep a lid on costs, governments restrict the supply of care – by limiting funding for the construction and maintenance of clinics, restricting access to cutting-edge treatment and technology, and skimping on staff.”
Here are some alarming statistics about the NHS today:
- There is a current shortage of 100,000 doctors, nurses and staff
- Last winter NHS cancelled 50,000 non-emergency surgeries to divert resources to flu patients
- In the first week of 2019, 12,000 patients waited 30 minutes or more in ambulances before being admitted to the hospital emergency department.
- Nearly 30,000 patients died last year waiting for treatment
- Sickest Britons are seven times more likely to die than the sickest Americans (source – University College London and Columbia University)
There can be no doubt that Medicare for All will produce poorer healthcare outcomes than our current healthcare system. Such a system is not worth sacrificing our health even to save money – but this will cost so much more!
(In Part V I will talk about the popularity of such a system.)