It certainly sounds good: get all your healthcare that comes with 100% coverage for everyone. There are NO pre-existing condition exclusions, no deductibles, no co-pays, covers in-hospital treatments, out-patient treatments, dental, vision, and even covers pharmacy. That sounds too good to be true.
Momma always said: “If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true.” All of the “hooey” above IS NOT true. “Medicare For All” is a FRAUD!
The “Real” Story
The United Kingdom has had national healthcare for as long as most remember. Heck, I’m 65 and I cannot remember a time when they didn’t have it. Proponents for “socialized healthcare” or “Medicare For All” as it has been called in the U.S. point to the U.K. and their National Health System. It technically is “single-payer” healthcare in which the government pays the tab.
Their system is failing. We’ll get into exhaustive details of the imminent demise of their system in a minute. First, let’s talk about the healthcare systems — Medicare specifically — that the U.S. has now.
In his 2016 bid for the Democrat Party’s nomination for president, Bernie Sanders (D-VT) rolled out his “Medicare For All” plan as being free for Americans. How so? Eliminate private insurance:
What Americans need to understand is that under our current system, healthcare coverage is NOT Free! What Bernie proposes is outlawing private insurance (premiums are now paid by the insured or their employers), BUT states under his plan, Americans save millions because they only have to pay for government healthcare premiums.
Medicare is NOT free. I hate it when in money discussions, members of Congress in interviews say, “We must cut entitlements!” Most Americans when the word “entitlements” is used think of government handouts: Welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. Of those, Medicare is the one that is NOT free for its recipients. Medicare recipients pay for their Medicare coverage in 4 different ways.
First, from every paycheck received from an employer throughout one’s professional career, a small percentage is deducted and paid to the Federal government (with an employer equal matched amount) to “prepay” to partially cover the cost of Medicare when that employee retires.
Secondly, when that person becomes age-eligible and enrolls in Medicare, there is a monthly or quarterly premium that must be paid by the enrollee. The amount of that premium is based on that person’s previous year’s personal income: “means tested.” Currently, the minimum monthly premium is approximately $120.
Thirdly, there is an annual deductible that must be paid by the enrollee before Medicare payments kick-in. It is not excessive, but it still must be paid. Currently, it is approximately $180 annually.
And fourth, under Medicare Part B, (which includes most services other than those received in-patient in a hospital) Medicare only pays 80% of the approved costs of treatment for patients. The 20% leftover amount must be paid by the enrollee, and most purchase a supplemental insurance policy to cover that balance.
The bottom-line is Medicare is NOT free.
We’ll look at the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. But U.S. “Medicare For All” proponents point to European countries as the models for American healthcare that supposedly dwarf the American healthcare system in quality, accessibility, and costs for its citizens. Let’s look at a recent rating of the Top 5 European healthcare systems:
Denmark has a universal health care system financed primarily through income taxes. Danish citizens and European Union citizens are eligible to receive free medical treatment in Denmark.
Officials in Denmark have gone through great effort to reduce bureaucracy in their system so that the majority of medical administration is done at the local level. The system is also broken up into two sectors. The primary sector is for those with general health issues, and the hospital sector is for those requiring more specialized care.
Norway has a mix of public and private health insurance, but the public system is much bigger and a lot more popular. Like many of the of the countries on this list, citizens are entitled to free health care through a system financed through taxes.
All hospitals and health facilities in Norway are owned by the central government and managed on a regional level. As radical of an idea as that may seem to those reading this in the United States, these facilities actually have a great deal of autonomy, so long as they operate within the budgetary restraints imposed on them by the government.
The Swiss have a health care system that is more similar to the American system than the other countries on this list. Their health care in Switzerland is not free. Instead, all residents are required by law to purchase a health insurance policy within three months of arriving in Switzerland.
Insurers in Switzerland sell a standardized form of basic insurance that covers a range of medical services. Companies aren’t allowed to make a profit on selling these plans, but instead, make money selling complimentary insurance that covers more medical services. Swiss health insurance plans also require consumers to pay for at least part of their health costs in the form of a deductible or other fees.
The Dutch have a form of insurance based on universal health care in their country. Insurers are required by law to offer a basic government-defined health insurance plan to all those who would apply for it.
Typically the plan costs about 100 euros per month, with the insurance company optionally tacking on some extra administrative fees. Those buying Dutch health insurance have the option for extra supplemental insurance to cover more than the basic plan. For this extra insurance, you are required to apply and insurers can deny you for it.
Closing out the top five is Sweden. Swedes enjoy a high-quality universal health care system. Their system has a yearly deductible of about $170 for doctors visits and $340 for prescription drugs. Private health insurance does exist in Sweden however it’s not very common.
Health care accounts for 9 percent of Sweden’s GDP, with the state paying for about 97 percent of the cost of health care, with the rest covered through deductibles. Primarily the health care system is financed by the taxpayers.
The UK’s National Health Service: The “MotherShip”
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year, is imploding. You probably noticed in the European Union’s analysis of Europe’s best health insurance programs, UK’s NHS didn’t crack the top 15. In fact, it’s in the bottom 5.
Vacancies for doctor and nurse positions have reached all-time highs. Patients are facing unimaginable waits for care as a result. In August of 2018, a record number of Britons suffered more than 12 hours in emergency rooms. In July, the share of cancer patients who waited more than two months to receive treatment soared.
Yet enthusiasm for government-run, single-payer health care continues to build in the United States. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 70% of Americans now support “Medicare for All.” Virtually all the major candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 have come out in favor of banning private insurance coverage and implementing a single-payer system instead.
One look across the Atlantic, to the disaster unfolding in the United Kingdom’s government-run healthcare system, ought to curb that enthusiasm.
The NHS has struggled to fully staff its hospitals and clinics since its inception in 1948. But today, the shortages are growing worse. 9% of physician posts are vacant. That’s a shortfall of nearly 11,500 doctors.
The NHS is also short 42,000 nurses. In the second quarter alone, nurse vacancies increased by 17%. Meanwhile, in the United States, nearly all states will have a surplus of nurses by 2030.
It’s not surprising that people don’t want to work as nurses in Great Britain; it’s a stressful job, with long hours and terrible working conditions. Some NHS nurses are taking positions at supermarkets because stacking shelves comes with better hours, benefits, and pay, according to a report in the London Economic.
Consider one nurse’s letter explaining why she quit the profession. She described horrific working conditions. Medical professionals worked 12-hour shifts with little time for necessities like bathroom breaks or food. Managers felt they couldn’t do anything to change unsafe conditions created by overcrowded hospitals. “You cannot safely practice under such conditions,” she wrote. “Mistakes will be made and people will be harmed, some fatally.”
The shortage of providers has resulted in longer wait times for patients. In May of 2018, 4.3 million people in the United Kingdom were on waiting lists for surgery, a 10-year high. Adjusting for population, that would be like having everyone in the state of Florida on waiting lists. Roughly 3,500 British patients have been on hospital waiting lists for more than a year.
More than one in five British cancer patients waits longer than two months to begin treatment after receiving a referral from a general practitioner. In Scotland, fewer than 80% of patients receive needed diagnostic tests — endoscopies, MRIs, CT, scans and the like — within three months.
These delays are deadly. An analysis that covered just half of England’s hospitals found that almost 30,000 patients died in the past year while waiting for treatment — an increase of 57% compared to 2013.
In some cases, the NHS has refused to provide treatment at all. In June of 2018, NHS England said that it would discontinue coverage of 17 procedures, including tonsillectomies and knee arthroscopies for osteoarthritis patients.
Even when patients receive treatment, the quality of care is poor. Patients in British hospitals are four times more likely to die than in U.S. hospitals, according to an analysis of outcomes from 2,000 similar surgeries conducted by researchers from University College London and Columbia University in New York. Among the more severely ill patients, the disparity was worse; the sickest Brits were seven times more likely to die.
It’s no wonder that Britons who can afford private health insurance pay for it. About 10% of the population uses private coverage to help cover the cost of care delivered outside the NHS system — sometimes by NHS doctors. (Notice that U.S. Democrat candidates for president in 2020 who have Medicare For All in their campaign commitments ALL demand ALL private insurance in the U.S. be banned)
NHS defenders claim that the system’s poor results are the inevitable result of underfunding. Yet spending on health care in the United Kingdom has more than doubled in the past 18 years, after adjusting for inflation.
The problem is one of supply and demand. Single-payer systems offer “free” care, so patients have no incentive to moderate their demand for care. But government cannot procure enough supply to meet that demand without bankrupting taxpayers. Government officials’ only option is to ration care.
Despite the failings of the NHS, Democrats want to establish a single-payer system in the United States. The “Medicare For All” bill sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders would outlaw private insurance and funnel nearly all Americans into a one-size-fits-all, government-run health plan. That bill promises comprehensive medical, dental, and even vision care, courtesy of John Q. Taxpayer.
The total bill? A cool $32 trillion over 10 years. Next year, the federal government projects it’ll take in $3.4 trillion in revenue. So “Medicare For All’s” yearly tab is nearly equivalent to the federal government’s entire annual tax take.
Put another way, the feds would have to essentially double tax revenue in order to pay for “Medicare For All.”
And “Medicare For All’s”multitrillion-dollar cost estimate banks on bringing payments for healthcare providers down to the level paid by the existing Medicare program. That would represent a reduction of about 40%, compared to private insurance rates. Such pay cuts are likely to drive providers out of business — or discourage the next generation of doctors and nurses from entering the field.
“Medicare For All’s” proponents say single-payer delivers high-quality, free care to all. Britons stuck on wait lists, unable to secure the care they need, would surely beg to differ.
Before I weigh-in with my two-cents in summary, let’s get a “different” perspective from talk-show host Kennedy:
This will be brief. When considering “Medicare For All,” ask yourself these questions:
- Can we trust our government to manage our money? Should we trust our government to financially manage our healthcare system?
- Can we legitimately expect doctors in a single-pay healthcare system who have their compensation slashed as government employees to provide the same level of care as we currently receive?
- Do you want a Washington bureaucrat making a decision on your receiving or not receiving a heart by-pass because you are “too old?”
- Are politicians who rave about the viability of single-payer healthcare really being honest? Why haven’t any of them presented statistical facts as you heard here today to Americans?
There are many more unanswered questions that should be answered, and their answers given to us should be the priority for politicians. Why don’t they do that? Simple: they don’t want Americans to know the truth. They are simply using “Medicare For All” as the “cool” talking point that sounds so good, Americans who are not armed with facts will want to vote them into office for “Free Stuff.”
Do you want facts? We are just now after years of watching our own veterans who each volunteered their lives in combat for us to preserve our freedom, die from the inability of our CURRENT government health program to “get around” to seeing them: V.A. hospitals. The government does so many things better than the private sector, right?
Do you want facts about a plan that will comfortably and cost-effectively plug the holes in our existing government/private healthcare partnership program? On July 19th and 20th of 2017, we published that plan in two parts here at TruthNewsNet.org. Go back and take a look: “The Only Healthcare Plan that Will Work, Part 1 and Part 2.”
“Medicare For All” — especially under THIS government the way it is currently structured — WILL NOT WORK! And if implemented in the U.S. will destroy healthcare. Count on it.