Single-Payer healthcare system work? (Free Market response, Part 2)


I would like to respond the idea of a single payer healthcare system by quoting from David Hogberg’s article “Free Market Cure – The Myths of Single-Payer Health Care.” He notes:

A single-payer health care system is one in which a single-entity — the government — collects almost all of the revenue for and pays almost all of the bills for the health care system. In most single-payer systems only a small percentage of health care expenses are paid for with private funds. Countries that have a single-payer system include Australia, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Single-payer is popular among the political left in the United States. Leftists have emitted tons of propaganda in favor of a single-payer system, much of which has fossilized into myth.

Here are some of the more prominent single-payer myths:

Myth No. 2: Claims of rationing are exaggerated.

Jonathan Cohn, author of Sick, wrote that the “stories about [rationing in] Canada are wildly exaggerated.” Yet advocates of single-payer never say what they mean by “exaggerated.”

The fact is that people often suffering great pain and anxiety while they spend months on a waiting list for surgery. Others spend months waiting for a surgery, only to have it cancelled, after which they will spend even more time waiting for another surgery. Sometimes people even die while on the waiting list.

Media in foreign nations are full of stories about people suffer while on a waiting list. In Canada, Diane Gorsuch twice had heart surgery cancelled; she suffered a fatal heart attack before her third surgery. In Great Britain, Mavis Skeet had her cancer surgery cancelled four times before her cancer was determined to have become inoperable. In Australia, eight-year-old Kyle Inglis has lost 50 percent of his hearing while waiting nearly 11 months for an operation to remove a tumor in his ear. Kyle is one of over 1,000 children waiting over 600 days for ear, nose and throat surgery in Warnbro, a suburb in Western Australia.

These are not mere anecdotes. Much academic literature has examined the impact of waiting lists on health. A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 50 people died while on a wait list for cardiac catheterization in Ontario. A study of Swedish patients on a wait list for heart surgery found that the “risk of death increases significantly with waiting time.” In a 2000 article in the journal Clinical Oncology, British researchers studying 29 lung cancer patients waiting for treatment further found that about 20 percent “of potentially curable patients became incurable on the waiting list.” [Back to Top]

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