Head to Head: Socialized healthcare is a bad idea for Americans

CJ Ash

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or editorial board. This is a head to head, you can find the opposing viewpoint here. 

At the forefront of politics, the American health care system is arguably one of the most highly contentious and scrutinized issues of today. Last week, Charlie Kirk, Director of Turning Point USA, visited Colorado State University to share his anti-socialist and small government philosophy. The speech of Kirk gave and the protests in response are a great indication of the contentiousness of this issue. 

Ad

The solution of many insists on transitioning to a single-payer healthcare system like that of Canada, England and much of Europe. However, the American situation is unique and must be treated as such. Health care should not be treated as a ‘right,’ and socialized health care is not the answer. 

America was not founded on socialist values, but rather free market and entrepreneurship. It is illogical to look to the health industries in countries like Canada, England or the host of eastern European nations commonly mentioned.

America was not founded on socialist values, but rather free market and entrepreneurship. It is illogical to look to the health industries in countries like Canada, England or the host of eastern European nations commonly mentioned.

Canada is famous for its problematic wait times. The Fraser Institution calls it a “defining characteristic,” and mentions that it’s getting worse every year. The nationwide average wait time for treatment is 13.3 weeks. 

England is seeing increasing wait times, along with a number of other issues. “Pressure on all services is rising and care is increasingly being rationed. Waiting lists should not be rising, and yet they are,” said Mark Porter, council chair of the British Medical Association.

The United States subsidizes the defense of many if not most European countries. This is legacy of the Cold War period, when America subsidized the defense of European states potentially threatened by Soviet aggression. For some reason this is still happening. These ‘free rider’ states have chosen to continue operating under the US defense umbrella, leaving them with a significant portion of GDP to spend on health care. Using this data, it is not reasonable for one to compare the US to any of these countries. 

Even with these countries spending nothing on their defense, they still have income tax rates between 40 and 60 percent. 

Politicians like Bernie Sanders would advocate Medicare for all, without ever saying how it would be paid for.  The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimated it would raise government spending by $32 trillion over ten years. To put that into perspective, if the government had to raise $2 trillion in taxes in one year, that would mean a minimum 60% increase in taxes.

It’s affordable for the individual, maybe, but not affordable for the state or country. California, one of the most left-leaning states in the nation, refused to pass Medicare for all in 2017 because it would have doubled their debt. Colorado and Vermont tried similar experiments, both meeting the same fate. 

The idea behind universal health care is that it is a right. This logic fails when one realizes that health care is a commodity, a service and a public good. To make a commodity cheaper and better, you need both profit incentive and freedom of labor. By mandating the health care industry, government destroys both of these things in the industry.

College students represent the next generation of influence, change, policy and revolution. However, there exists a massive generation of students that trust in the government to be responsible and manage the health care and insurance of each and every American. A 2017 poll showed that nearly half (44 percent) of millennials would rather live in a socialistic society than a capitalist one. 

Ad

Charlie Kirk touched on the dangers of trusting the government: “You can’t possibly trust this government. It’s bought by the wealthy, the few and the well-connected. It’s inherently corrupt.” 

When government mandates care, there is no individual incentive to make it better, cheaper or raise any standard of care. Free markets lift people out of poverty like no government ever could. When the government just hands out entitlements, there is therefore no incentive for someone to work hard, to create and to innovate. 

“You can’t possibly trust this government. It’s bought by the wealthy, the few and the well-connected. It’s inherently corrupt.”  Charlie Kirk, TPUSA

For an example of how the free market could work in health care, simply look to laser eye surgery. Insurance companies won’t cover it, thus leaving it in the realm of the free market. In 1998 the average cost was about $2,200 per eye, but competition brought the price down to what it is today, around $1,300 per eye

Promises of utopian programs and societies, as well as comparisons to dissimilar governments, must be surely and objectively vetted. The only proven avenue is the free market, and with it come higher quality and competitive pricing. The idea of everyone having sufficient health insurance is absolutely ideal, but the flaws in logic behind the single-payer health care system must not be ignored. 

Collegian opinion reporter CJ Ash can be reached a letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Cee_Jay_Ash