The Propaganda of Single-Payer Healthcare

The attraction of universal healthcare (Medicare For All) should be obvious -- it is all about receiving care for little or no money and not the quality of healthcare one receives. If one simply scans the Internet long enough, an article with anecdotal stories extolling the virtues of Canada’s universal healthcare model can be found that paints a lovely picture (my infant son spent a week in intensive care and it only cost us a gift basket!) but even if the anecdotes are true, does that mean that the United States should follow the example of Canada or the U.K. and implement a single-payer healthcare system? That would be an extraordinarily bad idea, for several reasons.

Nobody is saying that the U.S. healthcare system is perfect, but the socialists never talk about one of the best ways to fix the current system—tort reform. Sleazy lawyers have driven up the cost of malpractice insurance and forced doctors to order unnecessary medical tests in order to avoid expensive and unnecessary future litigation.

According to the National Institute of Health, “[C]hildren born by cesarean have no documented reduced risk of other childhood neurologic problems or cerebral palsy. Yet parasitic tort lawyer John Edwards fleeced doctors and insurance companies for somewhere between $40-$80 million dollars by suing them under the false pretense that a C-section could prevent cerebral palsy, in effect blaming the physician for a birth defect.

But the problem is that the public is being sold the idea of “free” healthcare where you go to the doctor or the hospital and all you pay out of pocket is what you choose to voluntarily spend on a gift basket to thank the doctors and nurses for taking such excellent care of your child.  But the reality is that you’re buying managed healthcare, which is rationed healthcare. With a total population of only 37.59 million people, maybe Canada really can afford to provide quality healthcare but the problem is on a completely different scale here: California alone has three million more people than Canada, and the difference in population is probably “undocumented,” which used to be known as illegal, aliens.

George W. Bush might have been a decent president overall, and certainly a vast improvement over the options presented by the Democrats, Al Gore and John Kerry, but if for no other reason, he can never be called a “great” president because of his horrific expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs as he pandered to seniors and the AARP. Socialists love to demonize the pharmaceutical industry and accuse them of overcharging (somewhat tough to dispute, given the number of commercials for new drugs that we see on television) but the price of a drug is affected by several factors, and greed only plays one part. The most important function of a pharmaceutical company is new research and development into treatments and cures of serious diseases and traumatic injury. Yes, people like Heather Bresch ought to be put under the prison for jacking up the price of an Epi-Pen so she could give herself a whopping $16 million dollar pay raise, but don’t hold your breath because Heather happens to be Joe Manchin’s daughter, and royalty doesn’t often go to prison.  Martin Shkreli’s worst crime was apparently not having the right father. 

 Say it ain’t so, Joe.

American hospitals are often harshly criticized for what appears to be obscenely overpriced services.  Several years ago, my wife suffered a medical emergency that eventually required an overnight stay in the hospital, and the bill was over $24,000. After the sticker shock, I remembered a call I’d received a few years prior from a hospital in Virginia, inquiring about treatment I’d allegedly received but they had been unable to bill to my insurance, probably because I hadn’t been in Virginia. The person who claimed to be me and provided my Social Security number as identification had received medical services using a false identity. He had used mine, in fact.  Naturally, the hospital in Virginia could not pursue me for medical expenses incurred using my name and identity and had to write them off, but somebody has to pay for the medical equipment and hospital staff. When my wife’s hospital bill in Georgia was $24,000, I sort of understood why our bill was so high, even after our insurance paid its part.

Doctors don’t work for free. Nor should they. Medical school is ridiculously expensive, and they suffer long and hard internships before they ever earn the right to offer their services to the general public. One of the biggest problems with single-payer healthcare is that doctor compensation is suddenly mandated by government fiat, and the very last thing we need to do is kill the incentive of our best and brightest to pursue a career in medicine because the federal government has decided to cap their earnings potential. If medical schools can’t produce future generations of brilliant, innovative new physicians, the future demands of single-payer healthcare will inevitably cause longer waiting times for routine care and rationing for medical services. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the imposter John Leonard and I both showed up at the hospital at the same time in the distant future, requesting medical treatment when healthcare services are being rationed and he received treatment, but I was turned away?  

Irony would be one word for it. Criminal might be a better word.

Getting back to the Canadian propaganda piece (the gift basket) for a moment, one thing the article didn’t explain: why are there so many American hospitals on the Canadian border? Is it possible that treatments are created and developed in the U.S. long before they ever become available in Canada, and that contributes to the overall cost of American healthcare? Here in the Deep South, we have an expression: “You only get what you pay for.” If you want the best healthcare system in the world, you shouldn’t expect to be treated for free. Socialists have somehow managed to convince the general public that universal or single-payer healthcare is actually about healthcare when it’s really only about control of our money.  If you think a socialist will care more about your health than you do, perhaps you deserve socialized medicine because it doesn’t really matter.

 Socialists only care about two things: their power and your money. Ignorance is treatable, but stupidity is incurable. Implementing socialized medicine as a solution to the problems with our current healthcare system is a lot like hunting a housefly with a bazooka—yeah, you just might get the job done (then again, you might not) but the only guarantee is that you’ll make a terrible mess in the process.

 This is what socialists always do—they promise the people the paradise of Sweden but deliver to them the hell of Venezuela.

Graphic credit: Piqsels

John Leonard writes novels, books, and articles/blogs for American Thinker. You may find him on Facebook or his website at His books are available here.

If you experience technical problems, please write to