Michigan is the latest state to flirt with a government takeover of its health insurance system.
Earlier this year, Democratic Rep. Carrie Rheingans, who represents Ann Arbor, and several of her colleagues was introduced House Bill 4893, which would create a single-payer state health care system.
It’s part of a national trend. Lawmakers in 21 states introduced 66 different single-payer bills between 2010 and 2019, according to a study published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Like the national Medicare for All legislation from which these plans draw their inspiration, these bills would provide unlimited health care without charge at the point of service. This may sound appealing. But single-payer health care subjects patients to endless waits for substandard care — and charges them dearly for the privilege.
Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to talk about implementing a payer than actually doing it.
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that requires state lawmakers to come up with a plan for a single-payer system by November 2025. The new law is based on a waiver by the federal government to spend federal funds meant for Medicare, Medicaid and the like on a new state health plan . There is no certainty that the federal authorities will grant this exemption.
The total cost of single payer in California could reach 500 billion dollars one year. That’s more than double the state’s annual budget.
Across the country, New York lawmakers revived the New York Health Care Act, another single-payer proposal, for the umpteenth time last July. The The RAND Corporation is provided in 2018 that the Empire State would need $139 billion in 2022 to pay for it. This is 156% more than the state was projected to receive in taxes.
Historically, New York governors have been cool with single-payer. Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul is considered unsupportive. Her predecessor, Governor Andrew Cuomo, caught fire from his left side persisting that only the federal government should establish a single-payer plan;
As American progressives work to put bureaucrats in charge of the health care system, patients in countries that have already done so are suffering from single-payer.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak bound in January that “waiting lists will fall” for the care provided by the NHS. At the time, there were 7.2 million people on the waiting list. Today, there are 7.75 million, the longest waiting list in recorded history. That number could rise to 8 million by the summer, according to a recent report.
NHS waiting times have worsened as healthcare providers have started a battery strikes in the final year for higher wages. The strikes have put pressure on providers who remained at work to care for patients, including a general practitioner who told the Financial Times that she often works 10-hour days to treat a backlog of 10,000 patients—a significant increase from the 1,600 patients she cared for when she began her career in the 1980s.
In my home country of Canada, more than 1.3 million Patients waited in emergency rooms without ever being seen by a doctor between April 2022 and March 2023, CTV News reported last month. This is a 34% increase compared to the previous year. The Canadian government this year was announced it would send $200 billion to its provinces over the next decade to bail out their overburdened health care systems.
Like Medicare for All advocates in the states, some Canadian lawmakers don’t seem to realize the root of the problem. Members of the progressive New Democratic Party they push for the nation’s single-payer program for prescription drug coverage. Doing so would further burden the health care system and subject Canadian patients to the same denial of prescription coverage that British patients routinely face.
Fortunately, not all Canadian leaders have fallen prey to the single-payer delusion. Ontario in May passed a law expanding private care provision after provincial Premier Doug Ford called for measures to relieve pressure on the health care system. Such reforms will be a relief to Canadian patients, who spent there 690 million dollars leaving the country for health care in 2017.
State lawmakers pursuing single-payer should take a look at the disasters unfolding in Canada and Britain. What they see should dissuade them from the idea that socialized medicine is something worth introducing.