As November’s midterm elections approach, Democrats, even the comparatively centrist members, are embracing government-run healthcare.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, for instance, has officially endorsed a public insurance option, as have other Democrats running in swing districts in Kentucky and Illinois. Meanwhile, single-payer advocates have won Democratic congressional primaries in New York, Nebraska, Texas, and Pennsylvania, among other places.
This shift is a deliberate attempt to capitalize on voters’ anxiety over rising healthcare costs. But if patients are fed up with the aftermath of Obamacare, they certainly won’t be pleased with the long waits, sub-par care, and rationing of a government-run system.
It’s no mystery why Democrats have made healthcare the centerpiece of their midterm push. In poll after poll, voters name healthcare as the most important issue in this November’s elections.
Obamacare clearly failed to fix the healthcare system. In fact, it made it demonstrably worse. The health law suppressed competition and drove up costs by imposing a raft of government mandates and regulations on insurers and providers.
Now, Democrats are seeking to clean up their mess through yet more government meddling — whether in the form of a public option, a government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, or single-payer. If they succeed, however, patients will have even less access to needed medical care than they do now.
The single-payer system in my native Canada, for instance, bans private coverage for any medically necessary treatment. This condemns patients to wait an excruciating 21 weeks, on average, from a referral from the general practitioner to specialist treatment.
In Britain’s socialized system, the NHS, the situation is dire. Chronically overcrowded hospitals, life-threatening treatment delays, and severe resource shortages have created a situation that the British Red Cross recently described as a “humanitarian crisis.”
Progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are calling for a full-fledged single-payer system. Even the centrists’ preferred approach (a public option or Medicare buy-in) would ultimately lead to single-payer, since private insurers wouldn’t be able to compete with a government insurer that can lose unlimited sums of money.
If voters want to fix America’s healthcare problems, they shouldn’t turn to the very politicians who caused the current crisis.