Thursday, February 14, 2019

Single-Payer: The Gateway to Socialist Paradise - Andrew Thomas

by Andrew Thomas

And by "paradise," one actually means "health care rationing hell."

"Free health care for all is not only a no-brainer, but immoral to dismiss." That was in the email I got from my successful, highly educated daughter in 2010, just before every Democrat in Congress voted to implement Obamacare, also known as the ironically named "Affordable Care Act." 

They also simultaneously voted to exempt themselves from the "benefits" of Obamacare and instead bravely shouldered the burdens of maintaining their own privately run luxury health care program. 

Now it appears that almost all Democrats in Congress, at least among their leadership, favor implementing a "single-payer" (i.e., government-owned and operated) health care system. For you, of course, not for them. Do you seriously believe that Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or any of the other Dem single-payer advocates has any intention of giving up his Cadillac private health care to go on single-payer himself?

As in George Orwell's Animal Farm, some animals are more equal than others. There's one set of laws for those who are ruled and another for the rulers.

But they really, really believe that a socialized government-run health care system is for your own good. The fact that it dramatically expands the government and their own political power has nothing to do with it. The "free health care is a no-brainer" crowd swallows it whole.

The latest Dem tactic is to call it "Medicare for All." This is intentionally misleading. Whatever it is called, the result is the same. The entire supply chain of medical services, from drugs and medical devices to doctors, nurses, and hospitals, all comes under the complete control of the government.

When you have only one buyer (i.e., "single-payer"), everyone in the chain is forced to become that buyer's provider, to work for him and do his bidding. It can be no other way.

In the new health care supply chain, we give up our role as "customer" to the government. Instead, as patients, we become only the "end product."

The communist constitution of the old USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) promised the people free health care, free education, and a right to affordable housing, to achieve equality and "social justice." Instead, the government bankrupted the country's economy and impoverished the people. The truly horrifying realization here is that this may be the platform of the Democratic Party in 2020.

In his great book, Hotel USSR, Oleg Atbashian describes the horrors and insanity of life in a socialist system.
[M]y stomach problems kept sending me back to the hospital every few months, without anyone bothering to explain why, or how to make it stop. The state covered the expenses, but at some point I wished I could see a paid private doctor who would give me his full attention instead of the lab rat treatment. Then I realized that even if private doctors existed in our country, most people including me and my parents would have no money to pay them. Why did our working people end up so poor? Because the state had taken all their money to pay for their free substandard healthcare, whether they liked it or not. This was the invisible trap in which we all lived.
The reality is that getting anything for "free" from your government requires giving up your income, liberty, and individual freedoms in exchange for a rationed, poor-quality product. 

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a single-payer system as proposed by Sen. Sanders would double our national debt, adding almost $19 trillion to our already unsustainable debt burden. They estimate that the debt would rise to 154% of U.S. GDP (instead of a projected 86%) by 2026.

This means that our government-issued health care (aka "Medicare for All" or "Berniecare") would soon become unsustainable as well. Aside from bankrupting the country and impoverishing the people, health care would become a carefully rationed commodity. Our lives would be placed in the merciful hands of unaccountable government bureaucrats.

Government agencies run by such people couldn't be abused, could they? They would never think of delaying or withholding necessary health care from people who have unacceptably deplorable political opinions or wear MAGA hats, would they?

And then there are those protected classes that cannot be denied access to health services under any circumstances, such as illegal aliens, transsexuals, and women wanting abortions. That leaves the scraps for the rest of us to fight over.

Eventually, the inevitable need must arise for the much-derided concept of "death panels." With rationing, it is essential that decisions be made over how much care people are entitled to. Those who contribute the least to the state are also the ones who require the most expensive health care. 

If you are chronically ill or in the last years of your life, will the government decide you are on the wrong side of a cost-benefit ratio? It appears that some officials in N.Y. and Va. are currently willing to consider "post-birth" abortions of unwanted babies. Is that not a "death panel" function?

A six-month-old Gallup survey showed that socialism was viewed favorably by 57% of Democrats and 16% of Republicans. That's enough of a majority to swing elections and affect the direction of the country. Apparently, the lessons of the failures of socialism and socialized medicine throughout the world have not been learned.

In 2009, under Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan health care system was touted as a breakthrough in "participatory democracy." As of a year ago, February 2018, NPR reported:
The entire Venezuelan health care system is on the verge of collapse, says Francisco Valencia, head of the public health advocacy group Codevida. Some hospitals lack electricity, and more than 13,000 doctors have left Venezuela in the past four years in search of better opportunities.
"They don't give food to the patients in the hospital," Valencia tells Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd. "They don't have the proper medical supplies to take care of the people who go to the emergency [room] like gloves, like every basic thing they need for an emergency."
It took only nine years for this socialized health care system to go from riches to rags. It could be credibly argued that it was the fault of the failing economy in Venezuela. But do we want to have our access to life-or-death medical treatment dependent on the relative health of the U.S. economy?

History has shown that giving up individual freedoms and ceding power to government is a fatally flawed idea. Sometimes the true motives of our political betters are revealed. In 2012, the Democratic National Convention released a video featuring the meme, "Government is the only thing we all belong to."

Thank you, no.

Andrew Thomas,


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