Health care is one of the more pressing issues facing American politicians today with the most likely outcome being a socialistic universal health care system such as those that we see throughout other developed countries like Canada and the United Kingdom. However, this result is not one to be desired — the aforementioned countries have an immense bevy of complications due to the universalization of health care; namely, a system that is complicated, overloaded, low quality, and doomed to fail those who utilize it. Some examples that exhibit the failures of, for example, the Canadian single-payer health care system would be the lack of high-standard care. This, in large part, comes from bureaucrats and politicians telling you what treatment you need based on what they deem medically necessary — not doctors.
Longer wait times are also a continual quandary that many Canadians must endure. According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund, approximately 57% of adults in Canada who needed a specialist said they waited more than four weeks for an appointment, compared to just 23% of Americans. That’s because a vast majority of Canadians are using supplemental insurance rather than private insurance, clogging up the system. Additionally, according to a study by The Fraser Institute, Canadian wait times for medically necessary treatment soared from nine weeks in 1993 to 20 weeks in 2016. According to the study, “Wait times can, and do, have serious consequences such as increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish. In certain instances, they can also result in poorer medical outcomes—transforming potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions, or even permanent disabilities. In many instances, patients may also have to forgo their wages while they wait for treatment, resulting in an economic cost to the individuals themselves and the economy in general.”
Affordability for the citizens living under the Canadian health care system is, as expected, okay. A majority of Canadians will not pay out of pocket for treatment throughout their entire life. However, its funding source, taxes, is used to allocate an exuberant amount of money towards health care. You, as a Canadian taxpayer, are no longer responsible for just your own health care, but everyone else’s too! And it’s costing provinces a fortune, as noted by Candice Malcolm of National Review:
Canada’s largest province is projected to see health-care costs soar to the point where they will consume 80 percent of the entire provincial budget by 2030, up from 46 percent in 2010.
Those provinces that can’t foot the large bill are going to borrow the money necessary, which is why many are extremely beholden to their lenders. Sound familiar? Well, it should. America is currently $20 trillion in debt; an issue that, unlike climate change, for instance, is an immediate threat that must be taken care of now. Only by cutting spending, not increasing it can we break ourselves free, as a country, from the shackles of debt.
The same failures of the Canadian health care system can also be found in other countries, such as the United Kingdom.
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and advancement to socialized medicine is failing the country. Prohibitive wait times also plague the citizens of the UK thanks to folks on the left, as reported by The Patients Association. Under the NHS, tens of thousands of people are being forced to wait more than a whopping 18 weeks for “routine surger[ies],” like hip or knee operations and expect the situation to continue deteriorating.
Socialized medicine kills. A study from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that one in 28 deaths in NHS hospitals could be ascribed to poor care. The Guardian reports:
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said one in 28 deaths could be attributed to poor care such as inattentive monitoring of the patient’s condition, doctors making the wrong diagnosis or patients being prescribed the wrong medicine.
There is a bevy of other issues that can be attributed to the promulgating of socialized health care by the left, such as death rates in NHS hospitals being 45% higher than in American hospitals. They all come from the basic but flawed sentiment that health care is a human right. This is false. Health care is a commodity, like any other. A necessity, perhaps. But a commodity nonetheless. Just as food, water, and shelter are all basic necessities, no one has the right to steal said commodities from others — that’d be illegal and villainous. Why, then, should we treat health care any differently?
The government’s role in health care is as follows: nothing. It is no more the government’s job ensure you are medically covered just as much as it is not my job to pay for your treatments with my tax dollars. If you decide to be unhealthy by, for example, eating like garbage all of your life and not exercising, you don’t get to punish me for your crappy decisions.
The best thing to do to the insurance market is full privatization, not collectivism. Capitalism has successfully uplifted hundreds of millions out of poverty by revitalizing industries; why can’t insurance be one of them? Deregulating the market and offering proper competition guarantees a freer market with affordable but quality options for consumers. The only guarantee government intervention offers is the loss of quality and accessibility. And, as we’ve seen under Obamacare, the rising of premiums.
I feel that pre-existing conditions is worth mentioning here. 90% of Americans with health insurance were covered by employer- and government-based plans, prior to Obamacare, according to Avik Roy of Forbes. Employers and insurance companies have crafted deals that cover pre-existing conditions, which apply to 50% of insurance holders.
Remember, if one purchases insurance after falling ill, it is no longer insurance. That is not commodities like flood insurance works. You don’t buy insurance after your house gets flooded. If low quality, hard to access insurance that costs the taxpayer a fortune, steals from doctors and forces me to pay for your care is your goal, then by all means, advocate for socialized medicine. However, if you are someone of true compassion and wants to create a better market for all, the privatization of the health insurance industry is where you should be looking.