Letter to the Editor: Socialized health care not the answer


Friday, November 16, 2018

A resident of Battleboro recently wrote a rebuttal letter titled “Universal Health Care Not Socialism.” The title alone gave me pause. It made my brain hurt.

Universal health care is literally one of the main tenets of a socialized government. In order to relieve my headache, I feel compelled to offer correct data regarding health care in the United States.

Actual U.S government expenditures in 2016 as they relate to health care: Total spending by federal, state, and local government’s totaled $6.69 trillion. Of that total, 22 percent was spent on health care. That equals just shy of $1.5 trillion. That is slightly shy of Mr. Battleboro’s assessment of $3.26 trillion in 2016.

Does government spend a ton of money on health care? Yep. “Vendor payments,” more commonly referred to as welfare, equaled $620.9 billion in 2016. Add another $463.9 billion and you get total government spending on welfare programs for 2016: 20 percent of the United States budget. Not surprisingly, some folks want to more than double the spending on health care. How do folks that want “Medicare for All” propose to pay for it? The only way presented to come up with the estimated $32.6 trillion over 10 years? Raise taxes!

The writer fails to mention what “Medicare for All” actually means when it comes to the doctors that would, presumably, provide that “free” health care for everyone. It is a very slippery slope to demand that everyone provide their professional expertise for whatever the government dictates they should be paid. Think local farmers would like the idea of charging only what the government regulates they can charge. The incentive to provide a service (or crop) goes away when the price you are allowed to charge is pre-determined.

The rebuttal letter mentions several problems with the current health care system — inefficiency, high expense and providers within the system making big money with zero thought as to medical outcomes for participants in the system. How does upping health care spending to $3.26 trillion fix any of those? Think about what would happen if our government continued to take over the health care system.

Why do folks from Canada come to the U.S. for medical procedures? Why do other countries spend upwards of 40 percent of their GDP on universal health care? Why is the average wait time across the world four weeks to see a specialist? The answer to each of those questions is that socialism/socialized health care is not even remotely a good idea.

History is a great teacher. Try to pay attention every now and then.

Wayland G. Abernathy Jr.