When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat 10-term veteran Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., in the New York’s 14th Congressional District primary, she instantly became a national celebrity, and the Democratic Party took another big step towards embracing socialized medicine.
The 28-year-old Bronx native ran as an unapologetic socialist, a protege of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and a supporter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Her campaign called for guaranteed federal jobs, free college, and, of course, “Medicare for all,” the $1.4 trillion-a-year plan to socialize healthcare championed by Sanders.
It is no exaggeration to say that Ocasio-Cortez represents the mainstream of the Democratic Party today. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called her “the future of our party.” A recent survey found that 70 percent of Democrats support single-payer.
It’s not clear that Democrats completely understand what they’re signing onto. Single-payer has been miserably failing in both the United Kingdom and Canada.
When the British National Health Service turned 70 this month, it was marked (as it has been for decades) by doctor shortages, waiting lists, and hourslong delays in emergency rooms. The system now has fewer doctors, nurses, and hospital bedsthan almost any other country in the western world on a per-capita basis.
A simple flu outbreak last winter caused the system to break down. The NHS ordered tens of thousands of nonemergency surgeries canceled.
Canada has the same problems. In Nova Scotia, seniors must wait nearly two years for a hip replacement. In Manitoba, patients with cataracts typically wait 12 weeks to see an ophthalmologist and another 41 weeks to have the surgery. Last year, a million Canadians waited for needed medical treatment — a record.
These calamities aren’t surprising. They are endemic to socialized medicine, which replaces the genius of the decentralized free market with the whims of a handful bureaucrats and central planners. Since healthcare is “free,” demand explodes and the only way for governments to control costs is by underpaying doctors and rationing care. That means that care is rationed, increasing wait times, and governments are forced to raise extra revenue to pay for added healthcare costs.
The conclusion is clear: Socialized medicine means poor care for everyone. It would be a huge mistake to bring it here.