FILE – In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014, file photo, passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila’s International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila. One expert says recent outbreaks of MERS in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that led to more than 20 infections, many among health-care workers, “have put us into uncharted territory.”Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah sacked the country’s health minister on Monday, April 21, 2014, amid a spike in deaths and infections from the virus known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. The official Saudi Press Agency carried the royal order that said Abdullah al-Rabiah was relieved of his post as Health Minister, and that Labor Minister Adel Faqih will temporarily take over the health minister’s portfolio until a replacement is named. The statement said al-Rabiah is now adviser to the Royal Court. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
We’ve heard a lot from Democrats about coronavirus and universal healthcare or Medicare for All.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the socialist running for president has argued Medicare for All as a fundamental part of his platform and he pushes it as the answer in a situation that we face with the coronavirus.
From Washington Examiner:
“Besides passing Medicare for All so everyone can see a doctor or get a vaccine for free, my administration will greatly expand funding for the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health, work with the international community, including with the World Health Organization, and invest in research and technology to make vaccines available quickly,” Sanders said.
Now of course the problem with this is it’s unpopular because it would take people’s private plans away. The CDC funding has increased under President Donald Trump and the Congress just passed a huge $8 billion bill to address the problem. No one is turned away from being treated due to cost. Not to mention that it would kill medical jobs and disincentivize the private sector from inventing and coming up with vaccines. Basically it would give us nationalized healthcare with all the deficits that are inherent in the system.
What could that mean in practical terms?
Well, we frequently hear from Democrats and such proponents, “Oh, we should just have the system they have in Europe. Free healthcare as a right.” But what does that actually mean? As we have seen, in some places it means that you don’t get all the treatments you might need and/or that you have to wait for months for a procedure that would get done in a couple of days in the U.S., sometimes with tragic results.
Now comes there are reports coming out of Italy and how they’re dealing with treating the coronavirus. It’s a prescient look of what could happen here if we “became Europe.”
The virus is hitting the area of Lombardy especially hard and they’re imposing a quarantine on the entire region of 16 million people. One reason appears to be that they Their universal health care system is reportedly already overloaded and collapsing, with medical people being very concerned that they don’t have enough intensive care space.
Why is this a particular problem there? According to The Guardian:
Twenty-three per cent of the Italian population is over 65, making it the oldest in the world after Japan.
“Italy is a country of old people,” said Prof Massimo Galli, the director of infectious diseases at Sacco hospital in Milan. “The elderly with previous pathologies are notoriously numerous here. I think this could explain why we are seeing more serious cases of coronavirus here, which I repeat, in the vast majority of cases start mildly and cause few problems, especially in young people and certainly in children.
But with the system in trouble, resources and intensive therapy (intensive care) beds are scarce. They are now having to consider some troubling things.
According to Il Fatto Quotidiano, a daily paper in the region, the Italian society of Anaesthesia, Resuscitation, Intensive care is considering setting an age limit to access intensive care, prioritizing those who have more years to live & and more likelihood of survival.
They are not the only ones. The U.K. is also admitting they may need to ration care, as the Independent, UK is noting. NHS already starts out with issues and overload.
Latest figures show NHS intensive care units were running at around 80 per cent capacity at the start of March. Overall the NHS has one of the lowest ratios of hospital beds per head of population in Europe.
UK hospitals are already discussing how they will need to ration care to those most likely to survive in the event there are not enough beds, ventilators or staff to care for the numbers infected if the worst case scenario predictions prove accurate.
Meaning treatment might not be given to those who are less likely to survive/have fewer years to live.
That’s incredibly problematic and unimaginable that that would happen here.