by David Keptsi
I’d like to think every New York Times has its own Paul Krugman, a douchebag using his economics degree to justify presenting his opinion as fact. Truly an essential part of any publication, I’d also like to believe that I am to the Review what Krugman is to the Times. That being said, if you’ve missed me this last semester I apologize, as I know my commentary must have been just as missed as Krugman’s would be if he was to stop his editorials (I really do hope he stops though). This past semester I decided to go on a journey to find myself on a study abroad trip to the highlands of Scotland, bottle of scotch whiskey in hand. In my travels through the socialist shithole known as Europe, I came to learn a lot about the people and the geopolitical landscape around me. I learned that most people in favor of Brexit supported it for reasons having nothing to do with immigration, I learned that being “white” as a blanket group was a much stranger concept in a land where English, French, Spanish, and Slavic people all had their own unique cultural and ethnic backgrounds and struggles each distinct from the other. I learned that everyone left of center in Europe was actually a full blown commie, and their republicans were basically our democrats. In my sojourn abroad, I discovered a great many things and much like the great American hero Sojourner Truth, I’ve come back to bring the truth to you.
One of the more interesting set of facts I was able to learn on my travels was the advisory structure of the U.K. healthcare system. The U.K. has had a socialized healthcare system (much like the one clamored for by democrats in this country) since the 40’s. In fact, the U.K’s health system is ranked among the top in the world. Have their healthcare costs still gone up at an exponential rate?
Yeah, that’s still an issue. But their expenditure as a percentage of GDP is still way lower than in the U.S. That’s not too surprising, our system is a mess that needs fixing especially with Obamacare regulations driving the number of insurers per state to as low as one in several states. However, the purpose of this piece isn’t necessarily a debate over which solution will work best. Rather, it is to point out a major issue in one of the core arguments the left has in favor of socialized healthcare: coverage of pre-existing conditions.
In the United Kingdom, the healthcare is provided through the National Health Service (NHS) with guidelines as to who gets the treatment and in what order determined through a system of cost benefit analysis. The organization charged with setting out these guidelines is the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (N.I.C.E), but what I’ve learned from these guidelines isn’t very nice at all. In a cost-benefit analysis system of deciding who gets healthcare, the results are largely based on how much longer the patient is expected to live after receiving the treatment. It makes sense, someone will benefit from an artificial heart a lot longer and the money spent on the operation will be put to better use if the patient is 30 as opposed to 50. But age is not the only factor on which these considerations are based. There are many factors that determine who is prioritized when receiving treatment. Some are factors that some people can’t help but be born with, also known as pre-existing conditions. In the world of cost benefit analysis, the person with a pre-existing condition will be at the end of the queue waiting to receive their crucial treatment while someone in good health will be at the front. Remind you of something? Yep, it’s quite similar to the issue people are quick to point out with our private health insurance system. Being sick costs more than being healthy. Except in this case, the issue isn’t insurance costs, it’s getting treated for your sickness in the first place! But queues shouldn’t matter as long as everyone gets processed in time right? Well, according to the New York Times (But sadly not Paul Krugman), U.K. hospitals are highly underfunded and overcrowded. I know how much people like to accept anecdotal evidence as fact these days so let me quote that same article:
At some emergency wards, patients wait more than 12 hours before they are tended to. Corridors are jammed with beds carrying frail and elderly patients waiting to be admitted to hospital wards. Outpatient appointments were canceled to free up staff members, and by Wednesday morning hospitals had been ordered to postpone non urgent surgeries until the end of the month. (NYTimes)
Doesn’t sound very great does it? Of course the go to response from anyone on the left will be that the U.S. system is still relatively worse. Thanks Obama.
Look, healthcare is a complicated topic and I can’t possibly pretend to know all the answers. But I do know something fishy when I see it and the argument of covering pre-existing conditions through Universal healthcare is pretty fishy since you’re just transferring the status of pre-existing conditions from a determinant of insurance price to a determinant of receiving treatment. But who am I to talk? I’m just some kid with an economics degree using my education to present an opinion as fact, right?
All I know is that when many supposed liberal icons such as Corey Booker are so deep in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies that they consistently vote to prevent Americans from buying their drugs from Canada, the swamp needs draining.
- Graph: Institute of Fiscal Studies