This single payer trick doesn’t work for the UK


We’re interrupting your ill-timed programmed recession – made worse by Congressional spending sprees and absurd tax hikes – to bring you the latest from London. Britain’s famous ‘single-payer’ national health insurance system is in crisis. Still.

According to The Telegraph, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, the total number of patients awaiting medical attention soared to a record 6.6 million British citizens, almost ten percent of the total population. The journal’s Data Tracker contains a remarkable set of revealing figures about the oldest model of socialized medicine in the Western world.

Ugly data

The failure of the government’s health program to meet its central planning goals for access to care, cancer treatment and primary care appointments is particularly significant. Here are some examples.

  • Waiting lists: Only 63% of UK patients are treated within 18 weeks; the UK government’s target was 92%.
  • Accident and emergency care: Only 72% of UK patients requiring emergency care are seen within four hours.
  • Primary care appointments: only 55% of UK patients have face-to-face appointments; before the pandemic, it was 80%.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, UK waiting lists have increased by 2.4 million; 543,000 UK patients had to wait more than four hours receive care in the event of an accident and emergency; 2300 British patients had to wait more than one month start cancer treatment; and 407,000 UK patients failed to have MRI scans or colonoscopies within six weeks.

In short, according to The Telegraph, “The NHS is failing to meet each of its key care obligations to patients.”

Mounting constraint

Healthcare professionals in Britain are under increasing stress. They are paid much less than their American counterparts. Many are demoralized and working less than full time, adding to growing pressure on UK patients.

The English branch of the NHS is estimated to be short of 12,000 hospital doctors and around 50,000 nurses and midwives. According to a survey sponsored by the Royal College of General Practitioners, a third of UK GPs plan to leave medical practice within the next five years. Meanwhile, nurses are also complaining about low pay and many may be forced out of the profession.

In a separate account of the system’s woes, The Telegraph reports that 50,000 people die every year because of “bad treatment”. Of the 6.6 million registered on medical waiting lists, some patients wait “more than two years”.

One of the biggest problems facing the NHS is the effective treatment of cancer. Last year, John Butler, a British cancer expert, told a UK Parliament select committee that cancer survivorship measures in England were 10 to 15 years “behind leading nations”.

A chronic disease

Britain’s multiple medical crises are more deeply rooted than the issues that have surfaced with the NHS’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Laura Donnelly, Telegraph health editor, and her colleagues write:

When the pandemic hit Britain in spring 2020, it collided with a health service that was already struggling to keep its head above water. Not only were the beds thin to the floor and the rooms ventilated of the type common in Singapore, but many basic items such as ventilators, surgical masks and even plastic aprons were in short supply.

Moreover, it quickly became apparent that the Department of Health and its public arm, then Public Health England, had never planned to stop or even slow down a rapidly evolving pandemic.

A reminder

Given the performance of the NHS, it is worth recalling the promises of American “progressive” champions of a single-payer national health insurance system for the United States. They insisted, after all, that such a system would be far better prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic than the existing public-private financing and delivery systems that characterize American health care.

That was the key message from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and more than half of House Democrats co-sponsoring a “single-payer” bill.

Their bill would create an American version of National Medicare and abolish virtually all private and employer-sponsored health insurance, as well as existing federal health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and the popular and successful federal employee health benefits program.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” recently reintroduced a similar “single-payer” bill in the Senate, along with 14 of his Senate colleagues.

Basically, Sanders’ latest bill resembles previous versions. Not only would his National Insurance program cover everyone, but the senator insists it would cost less than today’s public-private coverage arrangements: “More premiums. No more co-payments. More franchises. No more expenses. And we’re going to fund it publicly, and for the average American, it’s going to be a significant reduction in their health care costs.

Well, not quite.

The unprecedented federal spending required for Sanders’ version of national health insurance would also result in a gigantic increase in federal taxation.

This taxation, as Sanders concedes, would be broad and not limited to the wealthy. Indeed, according to a detailed econometric analysis by the Heritage Foundation, such a program would require an additional tax of 21.2% on income, and 65.5% of American households would end up paying more for health care than they could afford. do it today. The biggest losers would be US households with employer-sponsored health coverage.

But beyond the high dollar cost, it’s worth noting that these versions of National Health Insurance assume “savings” by dramatically reducing, up to 40%, reimbursement for doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals. health.

American patients would pay an even heavier price in the inevitable delays and denials of care – the waiting lists that are characteristic of a government-run national health insurance system, as evidenced by Britain’s ongoing experiences. Britain and Canada.

It’s hard to imagine anything more expensive than “free care for all”.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

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