In one case, an insurer prevented a woman from getting a CT scan her doctor ordered. In another, a mother couldn’t afford the full regimen of special bags needed to clear her cancer-stricken daughter’s lungs. In a third case, a woman lost her health insurance and could not afford end-of-life chemotherapy.

These examples come from National Nurses United, the country’s largest nurses’ union. To prevent further incidents like these, the union favors a universal, government-run health care system. A lead editorial in the New York Times last week appeared to endorse their thinking.

A recent study published in Health Affairs reached a controversial conclusion, that the United States should adopt socialist price schemes to reduce drug prices.

The study, “Using External Reference Pricing In Medicare Part D To Reduce Drug Price Differentials With Other Countries” argues that by matching prices with those in other countries, the United States can reduce spending in Medicare.

The proposal is not new, but it is dangerous.

Last year I published a study with the Mercatus Center projecting that enacting Medicare for All (M4A) would add at least $32.6 trillion to federal budget costs over the first 10 years. After the study was published, some advocates misattributed a finding to it, specifically that M4A would lower national healthcare costs by $2 trillion over that same time period. This misattribution has since been repeated in various press reports. Multiple fact-checking sites have pointed out that the study contains no such finding, as did a follow-up piece I published with e21 last year. However, because the mistake continues to appear occasionally, this article provides additional detail about how and why it is wrong.

Hospitals in Lithuania are to start advertising cheap operations to patients in the UK because of a surge in demand on the back of the NHS crisis. Health Tourism Lithuania claims it has been inundated with enquiries from Britons frustrated at having to wait months for routine treatment.

The body has now revealed that, from next month, it will target patients across the home nations with Facebook and Google adverts. NHS data revealed a total of 4.23million people in England were waiting for hospital treatment in March – the longest the waiting list has ever been.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and fellow Democratic lawmakers reached an agreement Thursday to create a public option that will allow individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance through the state. The proposal also calls for re-establishing the individual mandate—a centerpiece of the ACA that required people to have health insurance or pay a penalty—that has since been eliminated at the federal level by Congress. The bill would also have the state seek permission from the federal government to buy prescription drugs from Canada and calls for taxing opioid manufacturers. [As if Connecticut didn’t have enough problems with crippling taxes and regulations, now this…]

There’s a reason any mention of cost is notably absent from the recent CBO report on single-payer health care proposals. That’s because Democrats specifically asked for a report without cost estimates. They’re aware that the American public is unlikely to get behind their plan to outlaw private health insurance and launch a government takeover of the U.S. health care system. According to Emory University health economist Kenneth Thorpe, more than 70% of working Americans who have private insurance would wind up paying more for health care under a version of “Medicare-for-all” very similar to the one Sanders has introduced in the Senate.

The Medicare for All plan embraced by leading 2020 Democrats appears more lavish than what other advanced countries offer, compounding the cost but also potentially broadening its popular appeal. The plan from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would charge no premiums, copays or deductibles, allowing only limited cost-sharing for some prescription drugs. It would cover long-term care, dental, vision, hearing coverage and much more. But while other countries do guarantee coverage for all (but with often significant restrictions in access to actual care), the promised benefits vary significantly—and none are as comprehensive. [Supporters of the plan might want to read this scathing review of a book, “The Socialist Manifesto,” that chronicles the disasters that have ensued from this utopian political philosophy.]

Dr. Chuck Blahous, who testified (with Grace-Marie Turner) before the House Rules Committee last month on Medicare for All, lists key findings:

  • New federal costs under M4A would be unprecedentedly large
  • We do not know how or whether the federal government could successfully finance its additional spending under M4A
  • The projected additional costs of M4A’s coverage expansion would exceed the potential savings from eliminating private health insurance administration
  • Current M4A proposals would sharply cut payments to health providers while increasing health service demand, most likely causing supply shortages, and disrupting Americans’ timely access to health care, and
  • The costs of M4A would be borne most directly by health providers and those most in need of health services.

In Britain, both health insurance and the delivery of health care is socialized. But the NHS is no paradise. Open a random edition of a British daily newspaper and you will likely encounter an article about some egregious problem that the NHS has failed to solve. For example: NHS doctors routinely conceal from patients information about innovative new therapies that the NHS doesn’t pay for, so as not to “distress, upset or confuse” them; terminally ill patients are incorrectly classified as “close to death” so as to allow the withdrawal of expensive life support; NHS expert guidelines on the management of high cholesterol were intentionally not revised after becoming out of date, putting patients at serious risk in order to save money.

The latest liberal policy idea would effectively end all private health care for many Americans. The proposal, the Medicare for America Act, first appeared as a 2018 paper by the Center for American Progress. It’s been called “the Democratic establishment’s alternative” to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s single-payer scheme and has been framed as a moderate proposal. But the bill is anything but moderate. When Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced Medicare for America legislation on May 1, she included a new, radical provision. The revised bill prohibits any medical provider “from entering into a private contract with an individual enrolled under Medicare for America for any item or service coverable under Medicare for America.” Essentially, this would bar program enrollees from paying for health care with their own money.