In America today we’re told people have a right to health care. Health care should be a right. Your right to all It’s pretty basic, it’s just the right thing to do. Health care should be a right. The real question is who pays for it? And that’s really not a rights question Chris Pope of the Manhattan Institute City Journal studies health care around the world. Some countries have single-payer systems meaning government pays for everything. That’s what progressives want for America. Never again in America does anyone go bankrupt just because they got sick. Never. What single-payer would do is it would make the government responsible for everybody. Instead of the government being able to focus its resources on the gaps in coverage on the people who can’t provide for themselves the government would actually end up spending most of the money on people who are perfectly able to purchase their own insurance. In England, France, Germany, they have single-payer and they’re happy. Well that’s really not the case in Germany employers provide most of the health care and fund most of the health care, just as they do in the United States. In France too. There are private insurance companies employers fund health care, people pay out of pocket the same way that they do in the United States So who does have single-payer? Canada, Norway, England. They have good outcomes in Norway, England, and Canada. In England there is rarely a week that goes by without a crisis or another in the health care system being part of the news. This year there was a crisis in emergency room care people left in the hallways for hours and hours. Admitted in terrible pain having broken her back, she spent six days and six nights on a bed in a corridor. Doctors on strike, nurses on strike. In Canada too. The average length of stay in an emergency room is four hours. One in ten people have to wait more than eight hours. What happens when you start thinking of a single-payer system is you start allocating healthcare resources like a politician you start thinking, well what’s serious enough to care about and what’s kind of not such a big deal. With public money, you should. But it turns out that the government will try and deny care or impose really long waiting lists in the hope that people won’t seek treatment. Do they need knee replacement? From a politician’s point of view it’s not going to kill them and you could save a lot of money by not providing it to them. In Britain, people buy private insurance to cover that. About 15% of the population purchases private insurance. But private insurance is what single-payer advocates want to get rid of. The private insurance companies don’t like this idea. We’re going to put them out of business. Put ’em out of business. Well it makes you wonder whether this is more about spite than it is about improving people’s health. The drug companies that are ripping off the American people and charging us the highest prices in the world don’t like the idea, tough luck. The cost of drugs is really quite cheap compared to even a night in a hospital. In England people don’t get billed for such expensive drugs but often that also means, whenever a new drug comes on the market that can save lives, the government just doesn’t have the funds to pay for it. The sick person may never know about the better treatment. Services that you would have access to in the United States you’re just entirely unaware of them. But what about poor people who can’t afford these services? The United States certainly does more than other countries. I hear we do less. Over a trillion dollars a year in public spending really, to provide health care to people who don’t afford it. American emergency rooms treat anyone who comes in, and Medicaid pays for health care for poor people. In addition, we have the Medicare program which provides care to another 50 million. So just leave it the way it is? There’s certainly a couple of areas that we can really improve things on. More competition between hospitals. We have competition between hospitals. We don’t really. It’s very hard to set up a new hospital. Many states forbid it unless a board of so-called experts determines that there’s a need. The people who will be on these boards will be the hospital’s that are already in the state, and so the hospital industry is a bit of a cartel. His main suggestion? Allow more people to choose their own healthcare plans. We currently have a system based on employers picking which healthcare plan is good for employees. If we move towards a healthcare system where individuals were more responsible for shopping around, people would choose a better system. Consumers hear that and say, I can’t keep up with this stuff. I’m not smart enough to make the decisions about where I should spend the money. I want experts to do this for me. Everyone knows what a good hospital is in the area. If you’re an individual shopping for health care, you’re looking after your own interests. Under our current system, government and insurance companies spend seven out of eight healthcare dollars for us. The question is do we improve on the health care system by empowering consumers, or do we basically just say this is the government plan, deal with it.