Commentary

‘Free’ Gov’t-Run Health Care Jeopardizes Very Freedom Americans Value

Twila Brase
By Twila Brase | April 3, 2019 | 3:16 PM EDT

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) touts Medicare for All plan. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A crowded field of 2020 presidential hopefuls is already sharing platforms with the American people. And most of the would-be candidates support an expanded role for government.

But socializing medicine bit by bit, as the Affordable Care Act has done, or in one fell swoop, such as Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All bill would do, certainly isn’t the answer.

The United States already has partially socialized government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare that are facing insolvency, jeopardizing state budgets and restricting access to care. So in the land of the free, Americans need to recognize that these “free” government programs are not free, but instead jeopardize the very freedom we prize.

The focus should not be on how slow or fast liberal progressives want to switch us to a socialized medicine system of government control and global budgets. It should be on how much it would cost in patient lives, citizen pocketbooks, access to medical care and individual freedom. The vulnerable have the most to lose.

Socialized medicine would lead to negative outcomes for patients: long waits to see a doctor, limited options in choosing a doctor, denials in coverage and delays in treatment, which could even prove to be deadly.

White House hopeful and self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders recently tweeted that the U.S. should be following in the footsteps of Finland’s socialist health care system, where the individual’s direct cost to have a baby is just $60, the Washington Examiner reported.

But, the country’s underlying total costs are far greater. According to the Examiner, the Finnish healthcare system is collapsing. The entire Finland government resigned last month, as “their attempts to reform their sinking healthcare system failed.” In fact, even though leftists envy Finland’s universal health care system, multiple Finnish governments have “attempted and failed to reform the increasingly insolvent system.”

According to the coverage, Finland is facing an aging population and rising costs for treatment. As a result, its government struggles to pay the bills, and care shortages occur. For example, hospital beds have decreased almost 40 percent, and patients are waiting longer to see a general practitioner—more than four out of five people across the country wait more than two weeks. In fact, patients can’t even see a specialist unless they visit a GP first; the government forbids it.

Finland’s situation shows real-life medical consequences we should be running away from, not moving toward. There is abundant evidence that socialized medicine just doesn’t work, and patients are the ones who suffer the most. This is not what we want Americans to face in the United States.

Twila Brase, RN, PHN, has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care.” She is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and author of the new book, “Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records.”

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