The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has quickly spread from country to country causing schools, businesses, and restaurants to close down. Empty shelves and rising death tolls have caused an overall state of panic. Both sides of the political aisle have used this situation to score points against those they disagree with. Donald Trump has been criticized for not taking this virus seriously enough and not taking enough precautions.
Those who advocate for universal healthcare have not let a good crisis go to waste and are using this pandemic to make a case to finally adopt a single-payer healthcare system.
These changes would allow the government to have full control of this industry by employing all providers and running all facilities.
Socialized healthcare increases cost, decreases quality, and slows the production of medical supplies and procedures. The pitfalls of this system have become glaringly apparent in countries like Italy and China in the face of this global crisis.
Italy has seemingly been hit the hardest with more than 31,000 confirmed cases as of March 18th. Their hospitals are overwhelmed as ICU beds and ventilators are quickly dwindling. The doctors in these countries are forced to choose between younger patients and their elderly ones.
Despite criticisms of the U.S. healthcare system, America is the most efficient in handling emergencies of this magnitude. Countries with socialized medicine are ill-equipped to handle the demand a rapidly spreading disease places on it. To those who idolize the healthcare system of every other country on earth, look at how much they are struggling.
Italian officials have set up inflatable tents to extend space for the mass influx of patients that had been previously placed in hospital hallways. Massimo Puoti, the head of infectious medicine at Milan’s Niguarda hospital said, “This is a war.” Health officials say they haven’t seen a crisis like this since World War II and because of their healthcare system, things are expected to get far worse. The lack of available resources and enormous patient numbers have forced healthcare providers to prioritize younger patients who have more life to live. Italian doctors have floated the idea of placing age restrictions on care altogether to save medical resources.
In China, where the virus reportedly started, the Communist government has simply silenced whistleblowers and covered up the truth about the virus. They had no way to treat all of their patients and were forced to convert local venues and entertainment centers into makeshift hospitals.
Despite these wartime conditions and astronomical infection rates, politicians like Ilhan Omar have made bold claims that completely abolishing the private insurance industry will fight Covid-19.
If hospitals had adequate supplies and medical personnel, more lives could be saved. Life-saving treatment is made possible by the free market and private healthcare industries.
It is unclear how government-controlled healthcare would yield a positive result given what’s happening all across the world. Interestingly, Democrats like AOC have criticized how the Trump administration has handled the crisis thus far. In a tweet last month, AOC said:
“Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic. This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have.”
Whether or not you believe her claims are true, political strife and policy disagreements show how dangerous government-controlled healthcare can be. AOC makes it clear that she doesn’t want political figures with whom she disagrees to have a say in healthcare and crisis such as this. Her anger towards Republicans and Donald Trump supports a case in favor of a small government that does not interfere with the private sector.
Within a socialized healthcare system, all political leaders are in charge of this industry, regardless of which political party you prefer. Patients need to have confidence in the medical care they receive and should not fear harmful shifts within the healthcare system based on which party is in office.