In this Easter season, it appears that Single-Payer healthcare is rising from the dead.
Sally Pipes, writing in Forbes, warns that false teachers are spreading the gospel of single-payer healthcare and the uninformed public is listening. Chief among these false teachers is single-payer evangelist and senator Bernie Sanders (D –VT). Though Sanders failed to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, he has apparently won over all the prominent Democratic candidates for the next election.
Congressional Democrats are getting on board, too. Sanders’ Medicare For All bill introduced in 2013 didn’t garner a single supporter. Today one in three Democrats in the Senate and sixty percent of House Democrats support a similar bill.
New research from the left-wing think tank Data For Progress claims a majority of voters in 42 states now favor single-payer. Even if this research is bias, it does reflect a disturbing trend. The same research from only last September showed fewer than half of Americans supported single-payer.
False teachers always makes false claims to convince others of the virtues of their ideas. Sanders and his minions are no different. They preach universal coverage and high-quality care – two things they can’t deliver. But it is an appealing claim for those on the outside looking in at our current healthcare system.
Alas, the public is ignorant, and that makes for fertile soil when trying to grow support for this healthcare change. But Americans need look no farther than their northern border, Canada, to see the problems of single-payer healthcare.
Pipes, a native of Canada, is very familiar with the evils of single-payer healthcare. Like all single-payer systems, Canada rations care to control costs. She says this rationing can occur in one of two ways:
- Nationalizing hospitals and clinics
- Low reimbursement rates for physicians and hospitals
Nationalizing Hospitals and Clinics
This is the system in Great Britain. The National Health Service (NHS) holds down costs by hiring a limited number of doctors and building relatively few hospitals. Shortages and delays are so bad in Great Britain that the British Red Cross last year warned the system was experiencing a “humanitarian crisis.”
Pipes says, “Amid chronic overcrowding during this winter’s flu season, NHS doctors were forced to treat over 100 patients a day in hospital hallways due to a lack of beds. Thousands of patients waited in ambulances for an hour or more before receiving care. Only one in three British patients is satisfied with the NHS, according to a recent poll.”
Low Reimbursement Rates
This is the system in Canada. The government sets such low reimbursements that the country suffers from a chronic, and worsening, shortage of doctors. Last year, the typical Canadian patient waited 21 weeks to receive treatment from a specialist after obtaining a referral from a general practitioner.
A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found one in three Canadians 65 or older is dissatisfied with the quality of care. The study compared 11 developed countries and found that Canada ranks dead last on patient satisfaction scores. Wait lists are so long that many patients leave Canada to seek care abroad, even though they have to pay for treatments out of pocket. In 2017, an estimated 63,000 Canadians sought medical treatment in another country.
The facts on single-payer healthcare are well known to anyone who has studied the experiences of other countries such as Canada, Great Britain, or Sweden. The consistent and inevitable result will be the following:
- Increased waiting times for diagnostic testing and treatment
- Delayed or denied surgical procedures
- Massive tax increases
Beware the false teachers who would try to convince you otherwise!
(For more on single-payer healthcare and socialized medicine, see the following posts: Single-Payer Advocates Distort the Truth, Single-Payer v. Market-Driven Healthcare, Single-Payer Wastes Money and Time (Parts I-V), or read my book, The ObamaCare Reality.)