Tag Archives: Single-Payer Health Care

How well is socialized health care working in Britain?

The National Health Service is government-run socialist health care
The National Health Service is government-run socialist health care

Back in 2009, a radical leftist named Paul Krugman wrote about the health care system in Britain. As a leftist, it’s his view that government-run health care is better than free market health care. Basically, he thinks that people get better health care if it’s run like the US Postal Service is run, instead of how Amazon.com is run.

Let’s see what he says in the far-left extremist New York Times:

In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do. By the way, our own Veterans Health Administration, which is run somewhat like the British health service, also manages to combine quality care with low costs.

And what about the people who say that the NHS doesn’t provide quality health care, despite getting a huge portion of the all the taxes that are collected in Britain?

At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.

Every bad story that you’ve ever heard about socialized health care is a lie, and you’re gullible if you believe those lies.

Well, see, now I’m confused. Because if I turn the page of the New York Times from an editorial to a news story, I read this:

At some emergency wards, patients wait more than 12 hours before they are tended to. Corridors are jammed with beds carrying frail and elderly patients waiting to be admitted to hospital wards. Outpatient appointments were canceled to free up staff members, and by Wednesday morning hospitals had been ordered to postpone nonurgent surgeries until the end of the month.

Cuts to the National Health Service budget in Britain have left hospitals stretched over the winter for years, but this time a flu outbreak, colder weather and high levels of respiratory illnesses have put the N.H.S. under the highest strain in decades.

The situation has become so dire that the head of the health service is warning that the system is overwhelmed.

[…]“The N.H.S. waiting list will grow to five million people by 2021,” Mr. Stevens said in an impassioned speech to health care leaders in November. “That is one million more people, equivalent to one in 10 of us, the highest number ever.”

Over the past week, hospitals have increasingly declared “black alerts,” an admission that they are unable to cope with demand, the health service confirmed, without releasing numbers. Most hospitals have been unable to meet emergency-ward targets of seeing patients within four hours because of a shortage of beds and staff.

Britain spends billions and billions of pounds on health care every year, but it’s never enough. And British citizens already pay far more in taxes than Americans, who get much better care.

Sometimes, statistics are not as good as a good horror story…  On this blog, I’ve written about dozens of NHS horror stories. But Paul Krugman says they are all lies, including this one from the same New York Times article:

“There’s no real system or order; it’s a jungle in here,” said Nancy Harper, who had accompanied her 87-year-old grandmother, who was lying down and complaining of excruciating pain in her lower back.

“It’s been more than five hours,” Ms. Harper said. “We get to the front of the queue and then someone more ill comes in and we get pushed back. It’s outrageous.”

The UK Telegraph had some more information about the NHS health care system:

Every hospital in the country has been ordered to cancel all non-urgent surgery until at least February in an unprecedented step by NHS officials.

The instructions on Tuesday night – which will see result in around 50,000 operations being axed – followed claims by senior doctors that patients were being treated in “third world” conditions, as hospital chief executives warned of the worst winter crisis for three decades.

[…]Trusts have also been told they can abandon efforts to house male and female patients in separate wards, in an effort to protect basic safety, as services become overwhelmed.

50,000 scheduled surgeries canceled. If this were private sector health care, then the patients would have some recourse. But when the government is running health care, good luck trying to sue them for pain and suffering. They’ve already got your money from taxes, too – you can’t get it out to go somewhere else for surgery.

Although this seems horrifying to Americans, this is pretty standard all year round for Canadians, who have a true single payer health care system. According to the Fraser Institute, the average Canadian family pays about $12,000 in taxes for their free health care. And when they need things like MRIs or knee replacements, they have to wait for months. The average wait time there for “medically necessary treatment” is 21.2 weeks. Medically  Necessary Treatment. When I ask for an MRI in America, I get in the same week that I call.

When conservatives like me oppose government-run health care, it’s because we have looked carefully at government-run health care as it exists in comparable countries, and we have decided that it does not work. Progressives need to take a look at reality in countries like Britain and Canada. How well does it work? How much does it cost? It’s no good making policy decisions with feelings instead of facts.

Government-run health care system to kill child against the wishes of his parents

The National Health Service is government-run socialist health care
The National Health Service is government-run socialist health care

I was asked to blog about this story by Trina, and so I will.

Here is the straight news story from Fox News:

The mother and father of a brain-damaged 11-month-old baby on Friday were sitting bedside with the boy after losing a legal battle that would have kept the boy on life support.

The Wall Street Journal reported that doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, who are caring for Charlie Gard received permission from a court to discontinue life support.

The boy’s parents objected to the decision and wanted to take him to the U.S. for an unproven, experimental therapy.

[…]On Tuesday, the parents lost a bid to take Charlie to the U.S. for trial therapy when the European Court of Human Rights sided with earlier rulings that continued treatment would cause “significant harm” and that life support should end. 

The ECHR decision followed other decisions by British courts, all of which sided against the parents. The courts decided that the government-run NHS health care system should kill the child, rather than allowing the parents to bring the child to the US to try the experimental treatment.

National Review summarizes the reasoning of the judges:

According to the Honourable Mr. Justice Nicholas Francis of the High Court’s Family Division, who authored the decision subsequently upheld by the higher courts, death is “in Charlie’s best interests.” There was no “scientific basis” for believing that Charlie would respond positively to the experimental American treatment; meanwhile, there is “unanimity among the experts from whom I have heard that nucleoside therapy cannot reverse structural brain damage.” “If,” wrote Justice Francis, “Charlie’s damaged brain function cannot be improved, as all agree, then how can he be any better off than he is now?” It was “with a heavy heart,” the judge said, that he sided with the doctors. Charlie should be permitted “to die with dignity.”

[…]So it was that successive courts in the United Kingdom and in Europe simultaneously found that Connie Yates and Chris Gard had devoted themselves unhesitatingly to their son’s welfare for ten months, and also that Yates and Gard could not be trusted to act in their son’s best interests.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard pay the salaries of this leftist judges and leftist NHS doctors. If these judges were elected, and these doctors were in the private sector, then the parents’ wishes would matter. But since the money disappeared in taxes, there is no accountability. The government actors have already collected the money from the parents, and now they don’t care what the parents want any more. They won’t even let them bring their child to the United States for treatment that their primitive government-run system can’t offer.

But it’s worse than that – the NHS won’t even let the parents take the child home to die.

Hot Air explains:

The couple had raised nearly £1.4 million for that effort, which would have ended NHS involvement in the case, but the courts decided that they — and not the parents — were in position to decide that death rather than potential treatment was what was best for the child. Now the parents cannot even take the baby home to allow him to die there rather than in hospital, even though they pledged to cover all the costs.

[…]In a single-payer system such as NHS, the courts have clearly ruled that the state has more standing on whether to allow someone to die than the person or his/her nearest relations. And now, the state — through its socialized-medicine providers — refuse to even allow the death to take place under the circumstances desired by the family.

Lest you think that this is an isolated incident, there are a number of other failures of socialized medicine linked in this article by libertarian Daniel Mitchell, writing for CNS News. When Obamacare was being debated, I was easily able to find dozens of NHS horror stories. Just imagine that the losers at the post office or the bureau of motor vehicles were providing you with health care. That’s the NHS. They don’t care about you, they’ve already got their money from your taxes. They have no competition from other players in a free market, so they don’t care. THEY DON’T CARE.

I should note that the UK’s socialized medicine system does allow young women to get breast enlargements, and women also get free IVF treatment. All paid for by taxpayers, of course. The first duty of politicians is to get re-elected. When you put health care in the hands of politicians, they use health care to redistribute taxpayer money in order to buy votes.

Liberal Party has made Ontario’s economy a disastrous failure

Liberal Party has dominated Ontario since 2003
Liberal Party has dominated Ontario since 2003

I like to follow the economic situations in the most liberal Canadian provinces to see how bad things can get when liberals are in charge. This article is by Joe Oliver, who I have mentioned before on this blog.

Here’s the article from the Financial Post:

The numbers tell the story. Ontario is the largest sub-national debtor in the entire world, just one alarming distinction. Its debt is more than twice that of California, a state with three times the population and one that has its own severe fiscal problems. Its debt is $294 billion, or over $21,000 per capita. Net debt to GDP is up 48 per cent in the past 10 years to almost 40 per cent, second only to Quebec. Last year’s interest obligations totalled $11.4 billion, about the same as the cost of community and social services. I doubt many Ontarians realize how much they are paying just in interest on the provincial debt. It averages $840 per person every year and rising. Not surprisingly, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Ontario’s bond credit from AA- to A+, citing a very high debt burden and very weak budgetary performance

The energy sector is nationalized in Ontario – there is no free market competition, it’s all government-run. Consumers have one choice when they want to purchase electricity – the provincial government. How well has nationalizing the energy sector (“Ontario Hydro”) worked out?

Some of its biggest problems are self-inflicted. Recently, we received a stunning revelation from Bonnie Lysyk, the province’s Auditor-General. In the past eight years, electricity cost $37 billion above market price. Even more staggering, it will pay a further $132 billion above market by 2032. The by-now infamous Green Energy Act guaranteed the price for wind and solar, so that they cost double and 3.5 times the U.S. market price respectively. As a result, energy costs have skyrocketed by 70 per cent, a regressive tax that hurts lower income earners disproportionately and depresses personal consumption. Higher energy costs also render businesses less competitive, which discourages job-creating capital investment.

Surprise! Green energy doesn’t lower electricity bills. But that hasn’t stopped the Liberal government from jumping into it with both feet.

There is no respect for the taxpayer in Ontario… every dollar earned there is seen by the ruling elite as more fuel for her vote-buying schemes. They want to spend their way to prosperity, as if spending money in the right way will cause economic growth. Well, here’s the truth: the government can never cause the people who start businesses and create value to produce more by taking more from them. The more the government takes from job creators, the more job creators scale back their productivity.

We should learn from the failure of socialism in other countries so that we don’t repeat their mistakes here.

Related posts

Donald Trump should be running as a Democrat, he has no conservative views

Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants
Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants

I’ve been trying not to pay attention to the fact that a leftist is leading the Republican primary. You see, I’m actually familiar with Trump’s previous positions on things like taxes (he’s for raising them), partial-birth abortion, i.e. – infanticide (he supports it), amnesty (he’s for that), government-run health care (he’s for it)… and so on. In fact, Donald Trump’s record is not conservative on a single issue. He has never advocated for conservative policies. Not one. He’s a leftist, through and through.

What this 90-second video, showing Trump in his own words:

Leftist clowns like him do not change their positions short of some serious study, and there is no evidence that he has studied a thing.

Here’s Jonah Goldberg writing in National Review to express how frustrating it is to people like me who prefer conservative candidates who have actual records of achievement on conservative issues.

Jonah says:

Yes, I know Trump has declared himself pro-life. Good for him — and congratulations to the pro-life movement for making that the price of admission. But I’m at a total loss to understand why serious pro-lifers take him at his word. He’s been all over the place on Planned Parenthood, and when asked who he’d like to put on the Supreme Court, he named his pro-choice-extremist sister.

Is that real? Yes, you can read about it here. Trump has no pro-life record. You cannot believe anything that a person running for office says during his campaign speeches. We already had that happen when Obama promised so many things in speeches that he never delivered on. And yet here we are in a GOP primary and a bunch of lazy Republican voters are just believing everything that a candidate says, and not looking at his actual record.

More from Jonah:

In his embarrassing interview with Hugh Hewitt last night, Trump revealed he knows less than most halfway-decent D.C. interns about foreign policy. Twitter lit up with responses about how it doesn’t matter and how it was a gotcha interview. They think that Trump’s claim that he’ll just go find a Douglas MacArthur to fix the problem is brilliant. Well, I’m all in favor of finding a Douglas MacArthur, but if you don’t know anything about foreign policy, the interview process will be a complete disaster. Yes, Reagan delegated. But he knew enough to know to whom to delegate.

Yeah, guess what? A clown like Donald Trump knows nothing about foreign policy. He could not tell the difference between Iran’s Quds force and the Kurds in northern Iraq. I am only a software engineer, and even I have blogged about the Quds force, and their leader many, many times. I understand that lay people don’t need to know about the Quds force, or the threat they pose to us, but presidential candidates do need to know. Trump’s ignorance on national security and foreign policy ought to terrify us. We can’t afford to elect someone completely unqualified.

More from Jonah:

If you want a really good sense of the damage Donald Trump is doing to conservatism, consider the fact that for the last five years no issue has united the Right more than opposition to Obamacare. Opposition to socialized medicine in general has been a core tenet of American conservatism from Day One. Yet, when Republicans were told that Donald Trump favors single-payer health care, support for single-payer health care jumped from 16 percent to 44 percent.

I blogged before about the horrors of government-run health care in Canada and the UK. And yet the TV-watching clowns who support Trump cannot be bothered to look at the research. If Trump praises single-payer health care (and he has), does that one sentence from a clown override the good, solid data from studies? Are Republican voters too busy watching TV to do any research? Or do we just accept whatever a “confident” clown tells us without looking at the evidence for ourselves? Can facts be established by a clown’s confident words?

You know, I really thought that we were electing the leader of the free world here. Someone who has a record of moving laws and policies that solve the actual problems we are facing: Iran nuclear weapons, loss of religious liberty, abortion, gay marriage, demographic crisis, $18.5 trillion dollar debt, record low labor force participation, aging ballistic missile submarine fleet, only 10 carrier strike groups, aggression from Iran, Russia and China, rising health care costs, rising tuition costs, poorly-educated young Americans who can’t find work, aging Minuteman ICBMs, declining entrepreneurship because of over-regulation, Obamacare, Social Security funding, Medicare funding, welfare reform, Keystone pipeline, and on and on and on. I didn’t realize that we were so pleased with the last incompetent comedian we elected that we want to elect another one. Is this a serious country? Or do we think that presidential elections are for our amusement?

I really recommend that you take a look at this article from the leftist Washington Post, which looks over some of Trump’s past words, past actions, and past affiliations. In it, you will find that Trump does not have any record of achievements as a Republican. He just hasn’t moved the conservative ball forward in any way, shape or form.

Look:

Abortion

Then: On “Meet The Press” in 1999, Trump said he was “very pro-choice.” “I hate the concept of abortion,” he said. “I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. … but I just believe in choice.”
Now: In an interview with Bloomberg Politics in January, Trump said, “I’m pro-life and I have been pro-life.” He said he believed there should be exceptions in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Healthcare

Then: In an interview with Larry King in 1999, Trump said he was “very liberal when it comes to health care” and that he believes in “universal healthcare.”
Now: During his announcement, he called Obamacare “a disaster called the big lie” and said the deductibles were so high they were “virtually useless.”

Hillary Clinton

Then: Either Trump or his son donated to Clinton in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, he invited her to his 2005 wedding in Florida, where she sat front row, and he’s donated at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. He also said in an appearance on the Howard Stern show in the mid-2000s that she was a fantastic senator.
Now: On NBC on Wednesday, he called Clinton “the worst secretary of state in the history of our nation” and said she would be “a terrible president.”

The Stream has an article talking about where candidates stand on de-funding of Planned Parenthood. All the Republican candidates who have addressed the issue are either clearly for de-funding Planned Parenthood (Cruz, Carson, Fiorina, etc.), or even better – they’ve actually done it as governor (e.g. – Jindal, Walker, Perry, Bush, etc.). Trump is the only one who has waffled on the issue, which is not surprising given his past statements on abortion. Republican voters – there is a huge difference between “I de-funded Planned Parenthood as governor” and clowning in front of cameras. When assessing candidates, we have to look at the past record of the candidates, not their words during a campaign.

We have single-payer health care already in the VA system – is it working?

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

This is health care policy expert Sally Pipes, writing in Investors Business Daily.

She writes:

new report from the Government Accountability Office has confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t take care of those it’s supposed to serve.

The GAO has placed the VA’s health system on the “high risk” list of federal programs that are vulnerable to “fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.” The agency is still struggling to recover from an 8-month-old internal audit that revealed that returning soldiers had to wait more than 90 days for care. Some patients died while waiting.

The GAO’s findings apply far beyond the VA. The agency’s problems — which include long wait-times and out-of-control costs — demonstrate what happens in any government-run, single-payer health care system.

The VA’s failings ought to give pause to the liberal politicians and policy analysts who would love to introduce single-payer health care for all Americans. But they don’t seem to have heeded the GAO report. Within a week of its release, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., called for “Medicare for All.”

Champions of socialized medicine used to point to the VA as proof that single-payer worked. In 2011, economist Paul Krugman called it “a huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform.” In a 2009 debate with me, Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt said that there’s an example of a single-payer system in the U.S. that works — the VA.

The VA offers lessons about health reform — just not the ones single-payer’s proponents have in mind.

Defenders of government-run health care claim that it will control costs by cutting out middlemen such as insurance companies. The evidence shows otherwise. According to the GAO, the VA budget more than doubled between 2002 and 2013 even as enrollment increased by less than a third.

Single-payer’s “guarantee” of access to high-quality care is a myth, too.

“Despite these substantial budget increases,” the GAO report says, “for more than a decade there have been numerous reports … of VA facilities failing to provide timely health care.”

Over the last decade, more than 63,000 veterans have been unable to get a doctor’s appointment. At least 40 veterans have died because of long waits.

Things aren’t likely to get better anytime soon. The VA has yet to act on more than 100 GAO recommendations for improving care.

Last summer, lawmakers allocated $10 billion to a program intended to reduce wait times by permitting veterans to see private doctors outside the VA system. So far, the agency has only authorized 31,000 vets to seek private care — out of a possible 8.5 million.

That has to change — 88% of veterans say that they want the ability to choose where they receive their care.

However, there is one military person who is getting health care – convicted traitor Bradley Manning. He’s getting sex-change surgery while he is in jail for leaking national security secrets to our enemies. He won’t have to wait at all for his health care. This is what happens when you take money out of your wallet, give it to the government, and then hope that when you get sick, someone in the government will decide that you are worthy of treatment. Which you aren’t, unless they want your vote.

It’s not just the VA health care system – government-run health care doesn’t work in other places:

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, for instance, is notorious for denying patients everything from certain cancer medications to hip replacements.

The program is also financially unsustainable. According to its own medical director, Bruce Keogh, “if the NHS continues to function as it does now, it’s going to really struggle to cope because the model of delivery and service that we have at the moment is not fit for the future.”

In Canada’s single-payer system, the average wait time between referral from a general practitioner and the actual receipt of treatment by a specialist was more than four months in 2014. That’s nearly double the wait time of two decades ago.

The Canadian system is the one that Democrats want to emulate – but Canada’s rich left-wing politicians come here when they want care. They don’t want to wait in line. Why should we want to wait in line? We need to prefer consumer-driven health care over government-controlled health care.