Sen. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly claimed that the US is the only country in the
world that does not provide access to healthcare for all its citizens. “If every major
country on earth can guarantee healthcare to all,” Sanders said, “and achieve better
health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is
absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same.”
Sanders, an admitted socialist, goes on to argue that, “Healthcare must be
recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman and child in our country
should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The
only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national
health care program.”
Sounds persuasive, doesn’t it? Except for one thing—it is a complete lie! First, the
assertion that all US citizens do not have access to healthcare is ridiculous.
“Everybody and anybody,” says author Mark Levin, “gets access to the same
treatment just by walking into the emergency room.” We have access to more and
better healthcare than any country in the world. And that is true regardless of your
Second, to suggest that the rest of the world “achieves better health outcomes” runs
counter to reality. See what kind of outcome you get in the UK, for example, where
healthcare is a right. “Their healthcare system sucks,” says Levin. “They can’t get the
kind of care they need in a timely fashion. Everybody has yellow teeth because
dental care is a right.” Operations are hard to schedule and often are cancelled.
There is a lack of access to innovative treatments. There is a shortage of beds. The
demand cannot be met. Yes, healthcare is a right, but the quality of that healthcare is
When people want the best healthcare, they come to the US for a very good reason:
nowhere on the planet do people have a better chance of survival than in America.
We have the best doctors and the best hospitals. “Every major country in Europe
sucks,” says Levin. “Their heathcare system sucks. We shouldn’t seek to copy
Europe. Europe should seek to copy us.”
And what about Bernie’s idea of a single-payer national healthcare program? With
the exception of the military, everything government touches is a disaster. Look at
what happened to the Veterans Administration. “Centralized government cannot
manage a complex system,” observes Levin. “They can’t even manage the
Obamacare website.” According to Forbes Magazine, “Single-payer systems have
failed everywhere they’ve been implemented, from the United Kingdom to Canada.
Americans who fall for single-payer’s promise of ‘universal health coverage’ at
lower cost will instead find themselves facing long waits for subpar care.”
What makes our healthcare system work is the availability of choices. In Europe,
you have to accept the lousy service offered by their national healthcare systems.
Americans have more choices than any country on earth. If the government takes
charge of your health, you will no longer decide what treatment you receive — government bean counters will make that decision. This will be especially hurtful for seniors and others who could be denied costly procedures.
Offering a choice of services is the way we maintain higher healthcare standards.
Our high standards will disappear the moment government decides that healthcare
is a right. Government mismanagement will destroy all the good features of the
current system. If doctors are forced to work for the government, the incentive to
study medicine will disappear and we can expect an immediate downgrade in
quality of care.
Finally, I haven’t even mentioned the cost of government-run healthcare. Sally Pipes,
president of Pacific Research Institute, suspects that much of the support for a
single-payer system is because politicians (such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) run on
“pie-in-the-sky” promises of eliminating premiums, copays, and deductibles while
giving few details about how to pay for such a plan. “People support single payer
when you ask them if they’d like a system that eliminates everything they don’t like
about the current system,” says Pipes, “but when you ask them if they want to pay
more taxes that support goes down.”
“Single-payer will bankrupt our country,” warned President Trump, “because it’s
more than we take in, for just health care.” Sanders estimates his program will cost
$1.38 trillion per year. The Urban Institute says no, it will cost $2.5 trillion a year.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the cost at $2.8 trillion
per year. The libertarian Mercator Center puts the figure at $3.26 trillion. “Even
doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes wouldn’t cover this cost,”
says House Speaker Paul Ryan. “It is just absurd.”
That’s right, Bernie, turning control over healthcare to the government is the worst
idea ever invented. Yet how many people voted for Bernie in the presidential
election? We are still a gullible electorate. Perhaps when Americans comprehend the
failure that is European healthcare, they will finally get the message.
Ed Brodow is a political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of seven
books including his latest, Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left is Destroying