by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the midst of a fast-moving virus, in which data are changing every day, and in which governments are taking different reactions in response to that data, it’s difficult to draw any concrete conclusions about whether one type of healthcare system is working better than another.
But the data we do have does not support the notion that the United States would have fared better had the nation had something akin to “Medicare for all.”
The vicious coronavirus has ripped through countries regardless of their healthcare systems.
The virus started in China, a communist country that provides health coverage to everybody.
Italy, which has been a poster child for the worst-case scenario in confronting the coronavirus, has a system that automatically covers everybody and provides urgent care for illegal immigrants. Just 1% of the spending in the Italian healthcare system comes from private health insurance. Though the U.S., as of this writing, has more cases than Italy (about 133,000 to 98,000), it is 5.5 times the population of Italy. Were one to adjust the Italy total for the population of the U.S., it would have the equivalent of over a half-million cases. More importantly, nearly 11,000 Italians have died — an insane fatality rate of about 11%. That compares to 1.7% in the U.S.
Spain, which is starting to rival Italy as one of the global hot spots, has a system of guaranteed universal coverage and a fatality rate of over 8%. So does the United Kingdom and France, which have case fatality rates of 6% and 7%, respectively.