Government-Run Health Care Does Not Work
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)
Comprehensive health care reform is necessary to relieve American families from our current failing health care system. Following recent votes in the Senate, it’s clear that reforming our health care system is no easy task. However, I remain committed to working with my colleagues toward a solution. We believe affordable health care is best achieved through a competitive, market-based system that allows for innovation, competition and optionality.
In the quest to address Obamacare’s failures, some have been advocating for a single-payer, government-run health care system in which health care is provided for every single citizen for free and financed by taxes. Care is rationed, and citizens cede their health care decisions to a central government bureaucracy. Additionally, the cost makes it unsustainable for future generations. Either taxes – which are already too high – will continue to skyrocket in order to pay for universal care, our debt will spiral even further out of control, or both. Our ability to make decisions for ourselves and our families will suffer. Bureaucrats don’t like taking advice.
And we have many examples to substantiate this: In the U.S., California and Vermont recently tried to implement universal health care at the state level; both were abandoned as quickly as they were enacted due to its cost. In Canada, long wait times in their single-payer system are the norm. According to a Fraser Institute report, British Columbia residents have to wait up to six months just to get an MRI. Ontario’s own Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care states that residents may have to wait up to 11 months for hip replacement surgery. Droves of Canadians seek care here in the U.S., at an additional cost to their already-high taxes to pay for government-run health care. Across Europe, where universal health care is prevalent, the cost to governments for this care is exploding, contributing to rising national debts. But instead of increasing taxes, which oftentimes are already over 50 percent of one’s income, governments are slowing down care to curb the cost, and innovation is stymied.
Here in the U.S., the federal government has proved inept at running any large, nationwide program effectively, especially when it comes to health care. Look no further than Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service (IHS) for proof. While there are good employees in South Dakota at both agencies, nationwide these programs have been plagued with decades of long wait times, bureaucratic mismanagement, corruption and – most importantly – providing inadequate quality of care to Americans. In some cases, patients have even died waiting for care. Meanwhile, administrative costs have skyrocketed, wasting countless taxpayer dollars on paperwork instead of focusing on patient care.
I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should have access to quality health care if they want it. No one should be priced out of health insurance for themselves or their families. But forcing all Americans onto a costly, ineffective system that will reduce the quality of care and making them surrender all control of their health care decisions to the federal government is not the answer. America is home to the best health care providers in the world, due to a free market system that allows for innovation and competition. Replacing Obamacare with a competitive, free-market system that actually controls costs, allows for innovation and focuses on the patient will allow us to continue our proud tradition of being the world’s health leader.