As we’re being told to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic, it’s time to ask how Medicare for All would handle a global breakout of an infectious deadly disease. An honest answer won’t inspire confidence in the socialist health care systems Democrats want to force on America.
Health officials say a Wuhan coronavirus spread in the U.S. is inevitable, and are telling us to prepare. They are encouraging schools and businesses to conduct their activities over the Internet and through conference calls when possible, and want Americans to practice “social distancing.” At the same time, markets are hurting, and trade has been disrupted, as has travel. The potential damage is enormous.
Meanwhile, leading Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, a genuine socialist from Vermont, continues to tell us Medicare for All is good for the country. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the fading candidate from Massachusetts, supports Medicare for All, while surging Pete Buttigieg, former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, supports Medicare for All Light.
Other Democratic candidates’ plans are no better. All favor heavy government intervention into health care matters and would limit, and in some cases eliminate, private-sector participation.
President Donald Trump has said the virus is “under control” in the U.S. He might be overconfident. But at least this country has a functioning health care industry that has a strong interest in stopping the outbreak. The same can’t be said for nations that have Medicare for All-type government medical care regimes.
“Countries with single-payer health care may have a more difficult time,” Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, wrote earlier this month in a Fox News op-ed. “In the not-too-distant past, Canada and the United Kingdom have struggled to handle outbreaks of everything from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to the seasonal flu.”
Pipes says that “because these countries’ government-run, ‘Medicare-for-All’-style systems lack enough health care personnel, hospital beds and other resources to meet the needs of their populations even in good times,” an expanding health threat such as “a pandemic can stretch single-payer health care to its breaking point.”
This point shouldn’t be in dispute. Even supporters of government health care have acknowledged that some will go without treatment under their preferred system.
“In 2018, People’s Policy Project President Matt Bruenig claimed that while demand for care might rise under single payer, ‘aggregate health service utilization is ultimately dependent on the capacity to provide services, meaning utilization could hit a hard limit,’” Christopher Jacobs reported this week for Texas Insider.
A native of Canada who has firsthand experience with Canada’s socialist health care system, Pipes says currently overcrowded hospitals, a common occurrence in countries where demand for medical care is high because it’s “free,” “make quarantining patients difficult, if not impossible, in the midst of an outbreak.”
“Leaving someone with coronavirus in a hallway could expose countless patients and staff to the highly contagious pathogen.”
Expect the crowded conditions in Canada, Great Britain, and other countries where government controls health care to grow even more unmanageable as the sick, as well as those who don’t have coronavirus but are afraid they do, overwhelm providers and facilities.
Socialist health care systems also discourage innovations in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices that save and improve lives. The companies that make drugs and devices have little incentive to develop the next generation of products when the government takes away their ability to profit from their work, which would happen under Medicare for All.
J.J. Rich, a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, was not exaggerating when he wrote “Medicare for All Means Innovation for None.”
“A brief review of Medicare’s real-world results reveals a chief problem of socialized healthcare — its destruction of innovation,” Rich said, later adding:
“Public health care has little incentive to introduce new technologies and prolong life.”
Even without Medicare for All, or the presence of a single-payer regime, U.S. government regulators are already obstructing development of a coronavirus vaccine. Under DemocratsCare, want of treatments for all diseases and conditions will only get worse.
The media is unlikely to challenge the Democratic candidates in regard to their health care plans and the coronavirus. This is grossly negligent, because the public needs to know a vote for a Democratic presidential candidate is a vote to make Americans sicker.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt
Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. We’re just getting started, and we’ll be adding new features as time permits. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide.
Be sure to tell all your friends! And if you’d like to make a contribution to support our effort, feel free to click the Tip Jar over on the right.