As Republicans in Washington continue to cave into acceptance of Obamacare, and Democrats are openly flirting with a single-payer system, the British National Health Service (NHS) is issuing new directives rationing care to its citizens. There is no better example on Earth of the failure of socialized medicine than the NHS, which has been plagued by chronic shortages, substandard care, and dangerous rationing. Last week we witnessed the heart-wrenching death of little Charlie Gard, who was left to die by the NHS, and this week the U.K. Telegraph is reporting that the NHS is now cutting-off access to surgical procedures depending on a person’s body mass index (BMI).
Denying surgical access to obese persons and people who smoke embodies the concept of death panels. According to the Telegraph “Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above- as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.” Wowzer! That puts into print what we already intuitively knew about socialized medicine: the group that pays determines who stays. If you are not politically connected, in perfect health, or wealthy, you may as well get your last will and testament in order. A single-payer system is too expensive to maintain without rationing, and rationing puts a price on human life.
I understand and agree that there should be incentives for making good health choices, but it should not be a matter of life or death. In a free-market system, persons who have high BMI numbers, or who have a proclivity to smoke a pack a day, will pay a higher health insurance premium than those who do not. This sort of system would economically incentivize better health decisions, without denying people medical care. Healthcare is, like most things, a limited commodity that has to be allocated in some form or fashion as supply will always struggle to keep-up with demand. The two ways it will be allocated are by price point, in a free market system, or by rationing in a socialized system. In short, in a free-market system bad health choices will just cost you more money, in socialized medicine they may well cost you your life.
For Republicans, with regard to Obamacare, failure is not an option. If Obamacare is not repealed, a future Democrat President and Congress will likely move our country to a single-payer system like the NHS in England. The result of single-payer healthcare in America would be the loss of personal autonomy, personal responsibility, and the concept of the inherent dignity of every individual. This is too high a price to pay for the false sense of security socialized medicine may provide. Just ask people in England who like to eat cheeseburgers how that “free healthcare” is working-out for them.