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Why Government Run Healthcare Won’t Work

By Terry | government growth

Single Payer Healthcare

Lefties and Dems ceaselessly cry for government run healthcare. They claim it is their “right” and therefore demand it with their carefully cultivated government entitlement mentality. Cultivated by an educational system that pushes government control from cradle to grave.

Their main eye is on what they consider the prize they deserve- free healthcare. However, what they miss is the cost of that “free” service. And that cost is not just financial which has sky rocketed since government entered into the private healthcare marketplace with Medicare and Medicaid.

Government spending in 2016 according to a report by the Journal of Health Affairs hit $3.35 Trillion annually. That works out to an average of over $10.000 per person. However, half of those expenditures were from about 5% of the population- the most frail or ill. This points to the first problem with a government run system- guaranteed coverage.

Guaranteed coverage encourages the moral hazard of the sickest people getting coverage when it is needed most driving costs up for all insureds since health care costs are a shared cost of all insureds in the pool. See my post on how this works for a more complete explanation by clicking here.

However, there are more problems with healthcare than this. Stanford policy expert Lanhee Chen for Prager University points out more in the video below:

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Problem #1- Patient Decision Making- Gone

Right now, decision making still rests in the hands of the family and patient in America. Yes, scare tactics and fear is used to induce patient choices, especially with the most serious degenerative illnesses like cancer and heart disease, but ultimately the choice still resides with the patient.

With government run healthcare that choice is flipped on its head.

With a government run system, healthcare transfers to the government bureaucrat. As Mr. Chen points out, they decide what equipment,  such as MRI machines, are going to be available and under what conditions. At present, privately owned, providers can schedule an MRI when needed fairly quickly because consumers can choose from available privately owned providers. That changes under government run healthcare.

Government can also decide when you qualify for treatment for serious diseases like cancer, a bypass operation or even when you can schedule or get back surgery. Government now owns the decision making process because “they” are paying, even if the “they” is actually public wealth since all government money always comes from the people in the end.

This is happening already in nation’s like the UK where, as Chen points out, “the national health service (NHS) sharply restricts access to treatments like hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and even prescription drugs that deal with common ailments like arthritis and diabetes.” In the UK, if you suffer from these and other ailments, you may just have to live with the pain because with government control, you lose yours.

Even emergency room visits, according to a New York Times- 1/13/18 article, are jammed with patients waiting more than 12 hours before they are taken care of. Even physicians in the  UK are complaining of the 3rd world conditions caused by the overcrowding. The NHS target for emergency room care is being seen within 4 hours. That target has been seriously missed and will likely get worse as the patient waiting list grows and costs soar with funding shortages growing as well.

So, the first value that goes out the window with government run healthcare is personal freedom of control over your healthcare choices.

Problem #2- Government Run Means- Expensive

A study by the Mercatus Center of the “Medicare for all” plan that Bernie Sanders is calling for would add (meaning above already high government expenditures) $32.6 Trillion over the first 10 years.  By 2031, healthcare spending alone would account for 12.7 percent of all economic activity in the United States. According to the study, even doubling what the government collects in taxes from individuals and Corporations would fall far short of funding such a plan.

As pointed out by Chen, in Ontario- Canada’s largest province in 2010, healthcare costs alone ate up 46% of its entire budget. By 2030, that number is projected to be 80%. By that time, if costs continue to escalate, Ontario will have little money to pay for anything except healthcare.

So, what do governments do to cut costs and prevent a national bankruptcy from healthcare alone? Refer back to point #1. They begin making decisions based on the government’s needs not the patients. If it means euthanasia or terminating terminal patients early so be it.

Medicare has been driving the expansion of surgery centers after it began paying for procedures in 1982. In 1993, Congress got into the act by exempting doctors from steering patients to other businesses they own. As these non-hospital centers grew, hospitals got into the act and began opening their own non-hospital located centers. United Healthcare alone spent $2.3 Billion in 2017. All enacted to cut costs, yet funded primarily by Medicare funds. Today there are 5,616 Medicare certified centers which receive $4.1 billion a year from Medicare.

Now, problems are arising at these centers. Unnecessary deaths, inadequate equipment, lawsuits from patients because of inadequate care, under staffing, surgery by doctors not fully trained in the procedure. All in attempts to control costs.

Problem  #3- Government Run Systems Depress Research Based Cures

Since biomedical research spending is driven by a profit motive, spending on research far outpaces all other nationalized healthcare nations- even when accounting for difference inBiomedical Research Spending population and size of economy. As Chen points out, this is one reason medical breakthroughs rarely arise in nation’s where the government controls healthcare.

The greatest share of biomedical research spending in the U.S. comes from the private sector- not government spending ($70 Billion in 2012 alone). Why? Discovering new medical care and technology is fortunately a profitable business. Take away the profits through government run healthcare and you will also remove the innovation.

Government run systems develop into inefficiently run systems that cost the public a lot of money and markedly reduce quality. They take away the incentive of profit and exchange it for power over the people in the name of helping the public.

Fact is, like all socialist based systems, they lead to decline in quality, lack of personal control and an increase in taxation that takes money from all of us- healthy or not.

Worst of all perhaps, they take don’t reward people for taking control of their own health. We all end up paying for the healthcare of those who make no effort to take care of themselves by making us all pay for their lack of personal discipline.

It is an unfair system that discourages personal choice, drives up costs, depresses research and punishes rather than rewards people for taking on the discipline of control over their own healthcare. In short, it doesn’t work for anyone but the minority in power who control the system which constitute the government.

Unfortunately, heavily propagandized leftists don’t bother to see any of this. They are too busy chanting slogans supplied to them by those seeking to control the rest of us to notice the reality that single payer systems have already produced. Once again, they are content to play the role of useful idiot- a pawn only in the game of power over the people.