A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that 56% of Americans favor “a national health plan, sometimes called Medicare-for-all, where all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan,” while 42% oppose it.
On the surface, that seems like good news for the Democrats. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has launched her presidential nomination campaign, and universal health care features as one of her major campaign promises: “I am running to declare, once and for all, that health care is a fundamental right, and to deliver that right with Medicare for all.”
…Americans would prefer unicorns – if they were real.
However, those poll numbers come with major caveats. If Medicare for all led to eliminating private health insurance companies, 58% of Americans would oppose it. If it means higher taxes for most Americans or threatens the current Medicare program, 60% would be against it. Finally, and significantly, if it leads to delays in people getting tests and treatments, a whopping 70% of the populace would reject it.
The message from the American people is surprisingly clear: something is wrong with the current health care system, and if somehow America were able to avoid the problems and drawbacks observed with universal health care in every other country where it has been tried, they would be in favor of that.
In short, Americans would prefer unicorns – if they were real.
As such, Harris may have more of an uphill battle than she believes. Even among Democrats, who unsurprisingly are positive about the idea, most voters (51%) want to improve and protect the Affordable Care Act rather than passing a national Medicare-for-all plan (38%).
Something Is Wrong
The main takeaway from the poll is that most Americans believe something is wrong with health care in America. They are right. Despite prideful contentions by some that America has the best health care system in the world, the opposite is in fact true when cost is considered.
Few people know that America’s public spending on health rivals all the major welfare countries in Europe. However, in addition, Americans spend an equal amount on private services.
There is no diplomatic way to say it: In terms of health expenditure, the United States is the worst country in the world by a wide margin, clocking in at a stunning 17% of GDP per capita. No other system comes even close to the sheer awfulness of the American one.
The worst part is that Americans have the same excuse for mismanaging their country as Venezuelans do: absolutely none. Most people ask themselves why Third World countries insist on implementing long-time defunct policies, to the detriment of the poor. Americans should ask themselves the same question: Why do they insist on clinging to an inferior system when other countries have proven superior by a massive margin?
The Singapore Model
The main problem with health care that causes Americans to flirt with socialism is cost. That has been solved by, among others, Singapore, which spends only one-quarter as much on health care as the United States but matches the level of services.
Liberty Nation described this model in greater detail earlier, but a few highlights are as follows:
- Individual savings accounts, which lead to better money management.
- Different tiers of service: Those who choose first class partially subsidize the economy class, just like in air travel.
- A free health care market.
The result is that Singapore spends less totally on health care than the United States spends on health-related bureaucracy alone.
Americans are right to want a better system, but they have been fooled by both parties into believing that an over-regulated bureaucratic nightmare is the best they can ever hope to achieve. That’s provably false.
If America simply copied the superior and well-tested Singapore model, voters would achieve what everyone wants: affordable health care for all.