By Christopher Lomauro
The notion of a socialized medical system in the United States has been growing in popularity among young Americans over the last several years. According to a 2018 poll conducted by PBS, 69 percent of young Americans support government-run healthcare programs. 1 In other words, it is now the common consensus among young Americans that countries with single-payer, universal healthcare systems have more effective and well-equipped medical services in comparison to countries that rely on capitalism in their private sectors to drive their healthcare systems.
The reality is that socialized healthcare systems prioritize quantity over quality in regards to patients’ ability to receive the necessary treatments and procedures. While it is true that universal healthcare systems tend to provide more accessibility to healthcare services for citizens, degrees of quality and efficiency associated with those provided services are much higher when capitalism incentivizes medical professionals to do their best and most innovative work when dealing with each patient. 2
Despite being seen by the public as one of the world’s top universal healthcare systems, 20% of the U.K’s hospitals fail to give patients the basic care they need when visiting, and 82% of its citizens fear that the country’s model of universal healthcare is not sustainable in the long term. 3 Additionally, the number of elderly people in the U.K receiving the quality healthcare they need has fallen by 25% since 2014, and the percentage of patients who receive care within four hours of visiting healthcare facilities has been steadily falling since 2013. 4
The replacement of private healthcare sectors with government centralized public healthcare systems also leads to higher-priced insurance premiums, tighter restrictions on innovative medical treatments, and an overall higher number of uninsured citizens. 5 After the main regulations and mandates of Obamacare took effect in the United States in 2013, the cost of health insurance premiums in states using healthcare.gov doubled from 2013 to 2017. This came after the Obama administration promised to cut the typical family’s premiums by up to $2500 per year through the implementation of these socialized healthcare regulations. 6
While 41 states to date have passed right-to-try laws, which enable private healthcare professionals to prescribe promising investigational drugs to patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses who want access to them, there are still 9 states that have not passed right-to-try laws. 7 When government-approved options have been exhausted, and a patient is not seeing favorable clinical outcomes, the next step regarding medical treatment should be agreed upon privately between patients and their doctors.
Recently established government restrictions on the use of the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients are an aspect of socialized medicine that has exacerbated the current pandemic in the United States. 8 Out of the five states with the highest COVID-19 mortality rates: New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island; Connecticut is the only state that has passed right-to-try laws. Even though President Trump signed a federal right-to-try act into law in May 2018, 9 failure of states to do so still
creates challenges for terminally ill patients looking to seek investigational treatments with the private consent of their doctors.
In socialized healthcare systems, freedom for medical professionals to innovate in practice is suppressed by the government. 10 As a result, patients in need bear the consequences of the lack of market forces driving and incentivizing medical professionals to give the best care possible to each individual patient, 11 which is less of an issue in privatized healthcare systems where professionals can elevate their social status through their own practical successes. 12
When weighing the pros and cons of a socialist transformation of the United States’ healthcare system, do consider the likelihood that such a perceived reality is much more enticing in theory than it would be in practice.
Chris grew up in Freehold, NY and is currently a graduate student at Rutgers University obtaining a degree in Media Studies. Chris was disturbed by the fliers covering the walls of his school promoting the "Marxist-Leninist Club," and was encouraged to join the fight against socialism after his professors began endorsing the club. He enjoys cooking, working out, fishing, reading, writing, and PC gaming.