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THE REGULARS: U.S. shouldn't pursue single-payer health care system

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Sioux City Journal columnist Linda Holub

Journal Regulars columnist Linda Holub is pictured.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to an hourlong program on the negative consequences of a single-payer government health care system. Sally Pipes, author of “The False Premise of Single-Payer Health Care," is an international expert on health care issues. She is the president, chief executive officer and director of Pacific Research Institute. Much of the information in my column today came from Pipes' television appearance and from writings by Pipes in and elsewhere. Pipes grew up in Canada under a single-payer health care system, or what is more popularly called “Medicare for all." Pipes' mother passed away waiting on a colonoscopy. Because she was considered elderly, she was placed further down on the waiting list and died prematurely.

Two states have attempted to implement single-payer health care, but ended the effort after realizing the high cost. Vermont and California voted for it, then withdrew once projections of cost were analyzed. The New York State Assembly, the lower house of the New York State Legislature, has voted for such a system in the past and is expected to vote for it again this year, but it has not been implemented because it has not been passed by both chambers and signed by the governor. Other states considering a single-payer system are Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania, according to

The Bernie Sanders single-payer health care plan has many negatives which the mainstream media fails to inform the public about. Under his plan, all private insurance would be gone and become illegal as it is in Canada. Government bureaucrats would decide what is medically necessary. The elderly would suffer the most.

The Democrats and the media have been telling us for decades that the best example of how well government delivers services is the medical system for veterans, but recently we have seen the truth of how poorly the government delivers services to our veterans. Some veterans died before they could even see a doctor.

The Western Journal reports Canadians, according to the Fraser Institute, wait for 11 weeks to get an MRI, 20 weeks to get an appointment with a specialist and 39 weeks for a referral for orthopedic surgery.

According to Pipes, the U.S. is currently short 146,000 doctors. Single-payer health care systems pay doctors 40 percent of what doctors today get paid in the U.S. What is the likelihood more young people will go into the medical field if they know their salary will be dictated by government?

Consequences of a single-payer health care system include:

1. Long waiting lists for primary care doctors. Over a million Canadians are on that list. The New York Times reported that dogs get a hip replacement in under a week, but for humans it can take two to three years.

2. It is not free. Canadians pay through hidden taxes and fees of around $13,000 annually, rationed care, higher taxes and little access to the newest treatments.

3. The shortage of doctors will become worse.

4. The Urban Institute says it will cost $32 trillion over 10 years. Guesstimates of future costs are usually underestimated.

5. The truth about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that it's a single-payer-light health care plan that created higher premiums, high deductibles, narrow network of doctors and hospitals, and covered only 12 million people in the U.S., which has a total population of over 330 million, Pipes said in a interview. Employers were spending an additional $4,800-$5,900 per employee over a decade, Pipes wrote for The American Health Policy Institute (AHPI) found the ACA killed jobs, reduced pay and shrinks the labor force by reducing incentives to work. AHPI also found in a study that "one in ten employers has reduced hiring in order to stay under the 50-employee ACA threshold for small employers."

Why on earth would we discard a health care system that works for the vast majority of Americans in favor of a program that benefits just 12 million people? Why not tweak the system we had before the ACA? For instance, allowing people to buy across state lines like we do auto insurance and protecting pre-existing conditions. Buying health insurance that meets your individual needs, not a one–size-fits-all model, would drive costs down. Choice and market-based programs will always benefit the consumer over government-run anything every time.

Columnist's note: I want to pay tribute to dads this Father’s Day and especially to my husband, Dave. Dads have an invaluable impact on children and on the family’s emotional health. Dads bring a different perspective to life by God’s design. I encourage you to write a letter of gratitude to the dads in your life.

Next week: Jim Rixner

Linda Holub, of Dakota Dunes, S.D., has lived in the Sioux City metro area for more than 40 years. She and her husband, Dave, have four adult children. A certified life coach professional with a master of arts degree from Liberty University in Human Services, Counseling: Life Coaching, Holub is co-chair of the Siouxland Coalition Against Human Trafficking.


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