by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
According to JLF’s Jordan Roberts in his most recent piece for Carolina Journal, Americans should be leery of universal health care’s claims. Roberts’ commentary highlights many reasons why universal health care may not be all it’s cracked up to be. One such reason is the overwhelming cost. Roberts details a rough estimate of $30 trillion over the first 10 years. Roberts comments that this, in addition to the current national debt, could cause fiscal trouble:
The U.S. government is projected to run an $897 billion budget deficit in 2019, adding to our federal debt of $22 trillion. The federal government will have difficulty paying for its growing obligations to Social Security and entitlement programs, let alone the trillions needed to pay for the massive new program.
It is not just the cost of the program that Roberts criticizes; it is also the potential for lags in treatment. As Roberts writes:
Would everyone get the care they need in a single-payer system? Probably not. Reports from other single-payer countries paint sobering picture. For example, patients in the U.K. and Canada can experience significant wait times for certain medically necessary services…
Research has shown that when patients are responsible for less of the bill, health care consumption increases, much of it unnecessary. In a country where upwards of 327 million people would be crammed into one health–care program, it’s not difficult to imagine the effects on wait times.
Rather than universal health care, Roberts suggests:
[T]he policy distance between patients and Washington D.C. is a critical problem in our health–care system. Health–care reform needs to focus on shifting the balance of power back to the patient, instead of toward the government.