Mar 20, 2018
As a former Canadian, Sally C. Pipes knows from where she speaks. Her new book The False Promise of Single--Payer Health Care artfully spells it all out.
While analysts believe a government takeover of the U.S. health
care system has never looked more plausible. Support for the idea
is at an all-time high, according to Gallup. Two-thirds of
Democratic voters favor “single-payer” health care; even one in
four Republicans is on board. But take a look at the United
Kingdom's single-payer system, for instance, which is in appalling
turmoil. Most would agree that it would be foolish to import that
In The False Promise, you’ll learn:
• What “single-payer” really means;
• That if single-payer were to take hold in the U.S., private insurance coverage would be outlawed;
• That 160 million people - roughly half the population - would lose their private employer-based coverage;
• About the single-payer nightmares in the UK and Canada;
• That the supposedly “free” care offered by countries like Canada comes at an extremely high cost;
• About “illegal” private clinics in Canada where one alone performs 60,000 surgeries per year on patients who choose to pay for their own care; and
• That the Canadian single-payer system doesn’t cover dental care, vision care, long-term care, or prescription drugs as many of the current proposals in the U.S. cover.
The UK’s NHS (National Health Service) has rationed care for
decades. But wait times and delays have gotten markedly worse in
recent months. The NHS recently canceled 55,000 non-urgent
operations in order to cope with heightened demand during the
winter flu season. Some hospitals have also cancelled urgent
procedures for patients with conditions like cancer and heart
disease. Last month, nearly 15 percent of emergency-room patients
had to wait more than four hours to be seen by a physician.
Furthermore, in 2017, the NHS announced that anyone who was overweight or a smoker would be denied nonurgent surgery - rationing, pure and simple. Other recent policies required patients to be in varying degrees of pain, while some clinical commissioning groups had imposed bans on surgery for several months to save money.
To call this situation "universal healthcare," as single-payer defenders always do, is simply absurd. In 2017, the average wait in Canada from seeing a primary care doctor to getting treatment by a specialist was 21.2 weeks. No amount of money can fix a system in which government bureaucrats, and not markets, determine how to distribute healthcare resources. And Canada and the UK aren’t outliers; whenever governments try to overrule the laws of supply and demand, the results are rationing, shortages, and runaway costs.