Coronavirus Pandemic Shows Fatal Flaws of Socialized Medicine

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Monday, March 30th, 2020, 11:20 AM PERMALINK

In recent weeks, radical leftist politicians have exploited the Coronavirus pandemic to push their vision of government-run healthcare. 

Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) recently tweeted that the Coronavirus crisis would be a “great time” for implementing the Medicare for All government takeover of healthcare. 

Not to be outdone, avowed socialist and 2020 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that his main takeaway from the pandemic is that it has “never been more important…[to pass] Medicare for All.” 

The left has the situation completely backwards – we would be no better off with socialized healthcare.

Countries with government-run healthcare have been unable to contain the pandemic. If anything, the response of single-payer countries to this crisis shows the fatal flaws of the Medicare for All model. 

Sanders claims that countries with socialized medicine are uniquely equipped to effectively contain a Coronavirus-style pandemic. 

This would be news to people in countries with government-run healthcare.

In normal times, single-payer systems have insufficient resources, understaffed and overstuffed hospitals, and long waiting lines for patients seeking treatment. At a time when demand sharply increases in response to a pandemic like COVID-19, all of these problems are exacerbated.

In Great Britain, just 8 out of 1,600 doctors surveyed said that Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was up to the task of dealing with the pandemic. 

The problems plaguing Britain’s healthcare system predate the Coronavirus. In late 2019, the NHS was short 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses, with 9 in 10 NHS bosses saying that staffing issues presented a danger to patients. Britain also has over 4.5 million Britons currently waiting for hospitalization, a number that will only increase as the Coronavirus continues to spread. 

Canada’s single-payer model has also been unable to contain the pandemic. As cases rise, experts at the University of Toronto project that 35 to 70 percent of Canadians could be infected by COVID-19, and hospitals are already operating at capacity. Canada’s healthcare problems predate the pandemic – in 2017, Canadians had to wait a record 21.2 weeks to receive treatment from a specialist after being referred by their general practitioner. These long waiting lines have a debilitating effect on the health of Canadians patients, especially those with complex medical needs and disabilities.   

Sanders has also argued that a government-run system would make it easier to have people tested and treated for the Coronavirus. Predictably, Sanders is ignoring how America’s free market healthcare system is engaging with the private sector to curb this crisis. 

Two of the largest private labs in the country, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, will soon be able to produce 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week. 

Pharmaceutical companies are also stepping up to the plate to contain the crisis. Usually, it takes years of rigorous trials and testing to develop a vaccine, but time is drastically limited in the midst of a global pandemic. Manufacturers and scientists are working at a record pace to get a Coronavirus cure out the door and in the hands of patients. 

All health insurers will cover the cost of lab tests and visits to providers for Coronavirus screening. American patients will not have to pay a penny out of pocket to get a test. 

In response to an N95 mask shortage, American companies are stepping up to fill the void. Merck & Company recently delivered 500,000 masks to New York City Emergency Management. Harbor Freight is donating its entire supply of N95 masks and other critical equipment to hospitals in the communities where they have stores. 

Nationally, companies are retrofitting facilities to produce critical medical supplies. Hanes, a clothing company, is retrofitting large portions of their plants to produce masks. Apple is donating millions of masks globally to help contain the crisis, and GM and Ford are modifying facilities to produce medical equipment and ventilators. Anheuser Busch is also beginning to use its network to mass-produce hand sanitizer. 

Countries with single-payer healthcare systems struggled to treat patients before the pandemic – these problems are only exacerbated by a large influx of patients. Government-run healthcare systems do nothing to help contain public health crises like the Coronavirus. In fact, problems like understaffing and supply shortages may make the crisis worse. 

Photo Credit: katie chao and ben muessig

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