(Health News) In recent months as the Republican majority in Congress wrestled with repealing and replacing government-centric Obamacare, some far-Left lawmakers led by avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont have been pushing for full-on government-provided health care.
More popularly known as “single payer,” Sanders’ plan would create a “Medicare for all” system whereby every single healthcare procedure is financed via taxpayers, much like England’s vaunted National Health Service.
But even in Sanders’ home state, lawmakers and the governor figured out that such a plan would be prohibitively expensive, costing far more than the state legislature could raise through tax increases — that is, increases that Vermonters could actually pay.
“It is not the right time for Vermont” to pass a single-payer system, Shumlin told state residents in a public statement that brought an end to his signature initiative. After concluding that the 11.5 percent payroll assessments on businesses and sliding premiums up to 9.5 percent of individuals’ income “might hurt our economy,” he decided to ditch the plan.
Translation: It’s too expensive.
In addition to that, critics of government-centric plans note that they are overly restrictive, lead to rationing, and destroy health freedom.
There is a better alternative, these critics say: Private health care. (Related: The Health Ranger explains the origins of EVIL, why collectivism contradicts health freedom, and the simple answer to all politics.)
In recent weeks Sanders declared that “health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege.” But, as Real Clear Health notes:
There are a number of problems with this idea — some philosophical and some economic. While Senator Sanders is right that in a society as wealthy as ours, a person should not be denied proper health care because of lack of income, his approach will not solve this dilemma. In fact, it is likely to result in a less efficient health care industry with lower health outcomes than if we moved to a market-based health care system.
To begin with, assuming that you take Sanders’ view that health care is “a right” that the federal government must use its power to enforce, why should we stop there? Wouldn’t “nutrition” then become a ‘right?” How about the ‘right’ to shelter and clothing — and transportation? If we assume that health care is a “right” then that is a slippery sociological slope.
Consider that other rights guaranteed by the Constitution do not require the confiscation of property — federal taxes enforced by armed IRS agents — in order to provide. We have the right to freedom of speech or to be armed, but Americans do not have to pay taxes so that government can provide you with a computer and a blog or an AR-15. But the ‘right’ to food, health care, clothing, shelter — they all require that government force Americans to finance such initiatives. That’s not “freedom,” that’s tyranny.
Also, the Bill of Rights was a recognition of inherent human rights that everyone should enjoy and are not provided by government.
Furthermore, anything Washington requires financing for, Washington then assumes it has the right to make the rules for the doling out of those “benefits.” Government-run health care would be no different; bureaucrats, not patients themselves, would be in charge of deciding who is worthy of getting care, how much, what kind, and how often.
Government-run anything is inherently costly and inefficient. That’s because there is no incentive to deliver a quality product on time, and in a way that is affordable to most.
Free-market health care delivery, where doctors, patients and private insurers decide on price, services, fees, and coverage is a much better arrangement because not only does it enhance patient choice, it also creates a competitive environment whereby companies and physicians compete for patients. That usually means lower prices, better deals, more choice.