One of the prevailing obsessions of the Left during the past few years has been the notion that “universal healthcare” is a human right. The calls for “Medicare for All” have only increased exponentially as we become further entangled in the coronavirus saga.
Bernie Sanders has been over-using his familiar non sequitur template: “If there ever was a moment that showed us the need for all people to be able to get health care regardless of their income, this is that moment. Medicare for All now.” Unsurprisingly, Sanders’ logic is echoed by the yin to his yang, the peanut butter to his jelly, the Stalin to his Lenin, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Rather like the use of Sweden and Norway as evidence for the unquestionable virtues of socialism, the use of South Korea as evidence in favor of Medicare for All is both ignorant and drastically misleading.
Firstly, anyone who has heard the phrase “correlation does not imply causation” will understand the illogical leap that is required to argue that South Korea’s universal healthcare system was solely responsible for their comparative success against coronavirus.
If universal healthcare was the primary variable in the equation of “solving” coronavirus, we would expect all countries which have similar systems to have experienced similar success. Unfortunately for Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it's trivial to find counterexamples to their theory. China, the source and cause of the global pandemic, “made a commitment to providing affordable health care for all by 2020.” Presumably even Bernie Sanders would agree that padlocking citizens inside their homes does not constitute “healthcare.”
What about Italy, the country “firmly at the centre of the global crisis” who passed China to become the country with the most coronavirus deaths last week? Italy has one of the world’s best healthcare systems (according to the World Health Organization), and yet has been brought to its knees by the coronavirus. Italy also has a “regionally based national health service that provides universal coverage largely free of charge at the point of delivery.” Spain became the second European country to report more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths, leaving Germany and France as third and fourth in Europe by number of cases. Spain has a universal health care system. France has a universal health care system. Germany has a universal “multi-payer” health care system. If Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are correct, why are Italy, Spain, France and Germany failing in their fight against coronavirus?
The answer is obvious: Medicare for All is not the magic solution to coronavirus. There are countless other variables conveniently ignored by those who hope to capitalize on the global pandemic which, arguably, have a far greater impact, such as population size, border control policies, and social attitudes.
It’s important to note that there are certainly ways that the United States can learn from South Korea, such as their impressive testing strategy and their societal acceptance of social distancing. However, arguing that universal health care is the only way we can fight coronavirus is demonstrably idiotic, and we cannot allow Sanders and his ilk to use coronavirus as a socialist Trojan Horse.