When Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, is trying to sell his Medicare for All scheme, he inevitably states that the United States is the sole country in the civilized world that does not guarantee healthcare as a human right. After all, he states to his adoring fans, if Canada can provide healthcare for all, why can’t America?
However, as it turns out, even countries that have socialistic healthcare systems such as Canada and the UK do not have anything like Bernie’s Medicare for All. Under Sander’s scheme, everything will be covered, including doctors’ visits, medical procedures, drugs, vision care, and dentistry. Berniecare would have no copayments or deductibles. However, as the Washington Examiner explains, no other country on the planet does that.
Canada, which Bernie often cites as a country whose healthcare system he would use as a model, falls very short of Medicare for All.
“In Canada, two-thirds of residents have private insurance to cover medical needs not paid for by the government system, including vision, dental, and prescription drugs. At 14%, out-of-pocket-spending was higher there than in the U.S., where it accounts for just 11% of all health expenditures.”
Wait times for healthcare in Canada have become notorious, with people often waiting for many weeks to see a specialist that has been recommended by a general practitioner. The National Review noted that the quality of care in Canada is relatively poor and getting worse as Canadian baby boomers get older and sicker.
Costs are skyrocketing as well, paid for by high taxes and borrowing. The only safety valve for the Canadian healthcare system is the United States, where rich and sick Canadians go to get the care they need that is denied to them in their home country.
What about the UK, whose National Health Service has taken care of Britons since shortly after World War II?
“In the United Kingdom, the government will deny care to sick patients based on an assessment of how much spending is justified relative to how much a given treatment would extend somebody’s longevity or quality of life. A 2019 study from the Institute of Cancer Research found that 1-in-6 cancer patients there were being denied drugs that had been recommended by their doctors by government rationing boards.”
The UK keeps healthcare costs down by rationing care. The Liverpool Care Pathway, for example, was advertised as a method for easing the deaths of terminally ill patients. The Pathway was used to hasten the deaths of elderly patients and even cause some who might otherwise recover to die to keep costs down. The practice was discontinued after a media firestorm.
The case of Charlie Gard is another example of the inherent cruelty in the British healthcare system. Charlie was an infant who had been born with a major genetic defect. His British doctors had determined that nothing could be done for him and that he should be allowed to die “with dignity.”
Charlie’s parents discovered an American specialist who had expressed willingness to see him. The parents raised sufficient funds to transport their baby to America for evaluation and treatment. The NHS instead of allowing this second opinion refused to allow it, even going to the extent of posting police to make sure that Charlie was not taken from his British hospital.
After a lengthy court battle, the NHS finally relented to the extent of allowing the American doctor to see Charlie in Britain. However, the months had taken their toll on the little boy and it was too late for him. As a final insult. The NHS bureaucrats refused permission to Charlie’s parents to take him home to die.
The healthcare system in France features copays. Germany has both copays and deductibles.
Another way that countries Bernie touts for their healthcare systems is by paying medical professionals far less than they earn in the United States. One can just imagine how doctors and nurses will feel at having their incomes slashed if Bernie Sanders becomes president and imposes Medicare for All on the country.
It can safely be said that Bernie Sanders is not telling the truth about the healthcare systems of other countries which he touts as models for Medicare for All. Is it because he is willfully ignorant or is it because he is being deliberately dishonest? Either way should be concerning.