By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Nearly all 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are pushing some form of full-on socialized, government-controlled healthcare, most wrapped in a “Medicare-for-all” scheme the candidates say resembles “successful” similar programs in Europe.
But what these candidates are not telling Americans — nor is the Democrat-aligned “mainstream media” — is that several Nordic countries with long histories of socialist-like healthcare are moving more towards private insurance models.
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This comes as top Democratic contenders like Sen. Bernie Sanders are threatening to do away with all private, mostly employer-based health insurance, which currently covers roughly 100 million Americans (who are mostly satisfied with their coverage, despite the massive increases in premiums and deductibles brought about by Obamacare).
As noted by Dr. Kevin Pham, writing for The Daily Signal, the Nordic trend is part of an emerging hybrid government-private sector health system that is becoming increasingly popular:
Supporters often point to nations with large social programs, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian states, particularly when it comes to health care.
Never mind that these are not true socialist countries, but highly taxed market economies with large welfare states. That aside, they do offer a government-guaranteed health service that many in America wish to emulate.
The problem for their argument is that, despite these extremely generous programs, some of these countries are seeing a steady growth of private health insurance.
The Medicare-for-all scheme touted by Sanders and other Democrats is the most popular, and what it does is completely eliminate all private health insurance. Coverage becomes 100-percent the government’s responsibility, and healthcare becomes a 100-percent taxpayer-supported endeavor.
The problems, as usual, are in the details, however — details that Sanders and the other Democrats won’t dare discuss or address, as Pham notes:
In Medicare for All, there would be no cost-sharing schemes and all coverage would be comprehensive, including prescription drugs, dental, vision, and other services deemed necessary by the secretary of health and human services.
The Scandinavian systems are similar to Medicare for All in the respect that they use regional offices to administer reimbursements to providers.
Yet they differ in critical ways: They employ cost-sharing for certain services, they are less comprehensive in their coverage, and they allow for private health insurance plans to complement or supplement the government system to cover out-of-pocket expenses and to circumvent wait times or rationed access to specialists.
These are precisely the things Medicare for All would abolish. It’s intriguing that while socialists in America would rush to nationalize the health care system, Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes are all gradually increasing their use of private health insurance.
Note use of the word “rationed.” Sanders et al keep telling Americans that no, no, there won’t be any rationing, that’s just “right-wing noise.”
No, it’s not. It’s a reality in all government-run healthcare systems. When it comes time to save money — and that time will come, no matter how high taxes are raised to compensate for the additional government expense — care will have to be rationed.
And note also that the Sanders et al plan puts the federal government in complete control over healthcare and, thus, healthcare decisions. With Democrats’ history of limiting property, gun, speech, and express rights, do we really want them controlling our healthcare?
Already, the government only pays a certain amount of doctor and hospital fees under Medicare and its even stingier cousin, Medicaid. That’s what more and more doctors aren’t taking new Medicare or Medicaid patients; because Uncle Sam’s reimbursement rates are often a fraction of what it costs them to provide their services (and remember, it costs a couple of hundred grand, in many cases, to go to med school — and eight-to-10 years of education and training).
And there’s this: It’s not likely that any government-sponsored healthcare nightmare would apply to those in power, anyway. Remember, Obamacare was supposed to apply to members of Congress and their staffs; Obama exempted them.
“This growing European interest in private health insurance typically stems from dissatisfaction with the state-run systems, which often provide poor or incomplete coverage and long wait times,” Pham notes.
“By contrast, private plans offer wider coverage, shorter wait times, access to private facilities, and more flexibility in patient choice,” he added — all the things Medicare for All would decimate.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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