"Medicare for All" Would Copy the Bad Features of the UK's Government-Run System
The so-called Green New Deal is only tangentially related to climate issues.
It’s best to think of it as the left’s wish list, and it includes a paid leave entitlement, government jobs, infrastructure boondoggles, and an expansion of the already bankrupt Social Security system.
But the most expensive item on the list is “Medicare for All,” which is a scheme concocted by Bernie Sanders to have the government pay for everything.
Would this be a good idea? In a column for Forbes, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute explains that government-run healthcare in the United Kingdom has some very unfriendly features.
Nearly a quarter of a million British patients have been waiting more than six months to receive planned medical treatment from the National Health Service, according to a recent report from the Royal College of Surgeons. More than 36,000 have been in treatment queues for nine months or more. …Consider how long it takes to get care at the emergency room in Britain. Government data show that hospitals in England only saw 84.2% of patients within four hours in February. …Wait times for cancer treatment — where timeliness can be a matter of life and death — are also far too lengthy. According to January NHS England data, almost 25% of cancer patients didn’t start treatment on time despite an urgent referral by their primary care doctor. …And keep in mind that “on time” for the NHS is already 62 days after referral.
If this sounds like the VA health care system, you’re right.
And both produce bad outcomes. Here’s some of the data from the British system.
Unsurprisingly, British cancer patients fare worse than those in the United States. Only 81% of breast cancer patients in the United Kingdom live at least five years after diagnosis, compared to 89% in the United States. Just 83% of patients in the United Kingdom live five years after a prostate cancer diagnosis, versus 97% here in America.
Just like I told Simon Hobbs on CNBC many years ago.
The best part of Sally’s column is that she explains how the flaws in the U.K. system are being copied by Bernie Sanders and other supporters.
Great Britain’s health crisis is the inevitable outcome of a system where government edicts, not supply and demand, determine where scarce resources are allocated. Yet some lawmakers are gunning to implement precisely such a system in the United States. The bulk of the Democratic Party’s field of presidential candidates — including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren — co-sponsored Senator Bernie Sanders’s 2017 “Medicare for All” bill. That plan would abolish private insurance and put all Americans on a single government-run plan… Britons face long waits for poor care under their country’s single-payer system. That’s not the sort of healthcare model the American people are looking for.
The bottom line is that Medicare for All would further exacerbate the third-party payer problem that already plagues the health care system.
And that means ever-escalating demand, rising costs, and inefficiencies.
Taxpayers in the U.K. endure higher burdens than their counterparts in America, But they also suffer from the second option for dealing with the cost spiral, which is rationing.
Some of the data was in Ms. Pipes’ column.