American health care is at a crossroads. Health spending reached $3.5 trillion in 2017. Yet more than 27 million people remain uninsured. And it's unclear if all that spending is buying higher-quality care.
Patients, doctors, insurers, and the government acknowledge that the healthcare status quo is unsustainable. America's last attempt at health reform — Obamacare — didn't work. Nearly a decade after its passage in 2010, Democrats are calling for a government takeover of the nation's healthcare system — Medicare for All.
The idea's supporters assert that health care is a right. They promise generous, universal, high-quality care to all Americans, with no referrals, copays, deductibles, or coinsurance.
With a sales pitch like that, it's no wonder that seven in ten people now support Medicare for All. Doctors, especially young ones, are coming around to the idea of single-payer, too.
Democrats, led by the progressive wing of the party, hope to capitalize on this enthusiasm. In 2017, they introduced companion legislation in the House and Senate that would establish Medicare for All. They have already promised to do the same when the next Congress convenes in 2019. More than 70 House Democrats have joined a new Medicare for All Caucus. Senator Bernie Sanders is effectively already on the presidential campaign trail, making his case for single-payer.
If Democrats take the White House and Senate in 2020, and hold onto the House, a Medicare for All bill could be among the first pieces of legislation presented to the new president for a signature.
In this book, Sally C. Pipes, a Canadian native, will make the case against Medicare for All. She'll explain why health care is not a right — and how progressives pressing for single-payer are making a litany of promises they can't possibly keep. Evidence from government-run systems in Canada, the United Kingdom, and other developed countries proves that single-payer forces patients to withstand long waits for poor care at high cost.
First, she'll unpack the Medicare for All plans under consideration in Congress. She'll explain how radical they truly are. Medicare for All will not save $5 trillion, as some of its proponents claim. It will cost about $32 trillion over 10 years, according to analyses from the Urban Institute and the Mercatus Center. It will outlaw private health insurance. It will raise taxes by trillions of dollars. It will cut pay for doctors to the rates paid by Medicare and thereby exacerbate our nation's shortage of physicians. And it will ration care.
Then, Sally will detail the horrors of single-payer. She'll start in Canada, whose single-payer system most closely resembles the one progressives have in mind for the United States. Analyses of the government-run systems in the United Kingdom and a few other developed countries will follow, with particular focus on the problems that these systems pose for patients and doctors.
To substantiate her indictment of single-payer, Sally will marshal both quantitative and qualitative evidence.
She'll highlight how Americans fare better than their peers in Canada and the United Kingdom on the health outcomes that are directly linked to the quality of a healthcare system, including survival rates for patients with cancer and cardiovascular issues. She'll also explain why the health outcomes where the United States performs poorly relative to other nations, like infant mortality and life expectancy, tell us little about our healthcare system.
Sally will pepper her text with heart-wrenching stories of the human costs of single-payer — of people who were injured, were forced to remain in pain, or even died because their government-run healthcare system delayed or denied care.
Too often, evangelists for free markets limit their arguments to facts and statistics — and fail to appeal to the public's emotions. Sally will feature the stories of individuals and families who have been victims of single-payer systems. These vignettes will help drive home the truth about single-payer — and why it must not come to the United States.
She'll conclude with her vision for delivering the affordable, accessible, quality care the American people are looking for.