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OPINION

COVID Exposes the Ugly Side of 'Single-Payer' Health Care

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Democrats are busy trying to ensure a victory in the 2022 elections. If public opinion plays any part (and if the elections are honest), they'll likely lose in even larger numbers than in 2020, which was bad for them, President Joe Biden's "victory" notwithstanding.

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But the Democrats in power are very, very good at gaming the system; we can expect them to exploit "fear porn" associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. They will demand the continuation of practices that are rife with potential for fraud, such as ballot harvesting and mail-in ballots, and fight tooth and nail against election integrity efforts state legislatures are enacting. Indeed, Eric Holder, attorney general under former President Barack Obama, has already called for people to be "in the streets," using "considerable civil resistance" and "getting arrested" to protect their "voting rights." Holder's call to arms sounds like he's summoning rioting mobs such as those that did up to $2 billion in damage in cities across the country in the summer of 2020.

This effort at intimidation is pure propaganda, and irresponsible to boot. In truth, no American citizens' voting rights are threatened by the legislation currently making its way through a number of states. State legislatures must hold the line and enact legislation that will protect election integrity and prevent fraud and other illegal voting that does disenfranchise Americans.

Democrats know all this. They also know that they lose elections when Americans are told the truth about the policies they're pushing – which is why they rely upon the media to lie for them, and Big Tech to prevent anyone from telling the truth.

A perfect example of this is so-called universal or single-payer health care, which is one of Democrats' pet projects. Imposing a socialist form of health care has been at the top of their wish list since long before Obama managed to get the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") rammed through Congress in 2009 -- without a single Republican vote, and based upon a series of lies repeated to the American public for months. (No, insured people could not keep their doctors or their plans; no, insurance was not going to cost less; yes, sorry -- premiums were going to skyrocket, and did.)

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The launch of healthcare.gov, the website where Americans were supposed to sign up for insurance, was an unmitigated disaster, as were the state-run health care plans and exchanges, most of which closed or went bankrupt due to higher-than-predicted costs and inadequate revenue and government reimbursements.

That's proof that health care should not be run, administered or "paid for" by the U.S. government. But in truth, it isn't the government that "pays" for health care in a single-payer system; it's the taxpayers.

In that vein, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed another ugly reality: what collectivist healthcare does to us as individuals, and the attitude that people begin to take toward other people's health, their personal behavior and their medical care decisions.

The ongoing debate over the medical necessity and constitutionality of mask and vaccine mandates has brought out the authoritarian impulses in no small number of Americans. Pundits describe those with serious concerns about vaccines as "evil" and "malicious." Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger notoriously said "screw your freedoms" in response to people opposing mask mandates. Actor and activist George Takei is among many on social media who have called for the unvaccinated to be denied health care; or worse. Talk show host James Corden joked that unvaccinated people should be punched in the face. One Twitter user (who later deleted his account) actually said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should tell people to "get the shot or get shot." Those who refuse, he tweeted, should be lined up in front of a trench and executed by a firing squad.

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Even among those not moved to violence, the rationale offered for penalizing people is that the choice not to wear a mask or be vaccinated causes harm. When one points out that the same could be said of smoking, substance abuse or obesity, the response is, "That's different. Those choices don't affect other people."

Oh, but under single-payer health care, they would.

That would prompt the same hostility we're seeing about COVID, and we already have the proof.

A Google search for "Should the unvaccinated receive health care?" pulls up dozens of links to editorials arguing against providing care. One author, Trish Zornio, explicitly uses limited resources as justification for denying care to those whose choices strain the system when "resources become scarce." "Choices have consequences," she wrote.

Yes, they do.

As the socialized health care systems in Canada and the United Kingdom both demonstrate, a "single-payer" system inevitably results in budget shortfalls. Governments are never accurate (or honest) about the costs of social programs, and you can only raise taxes so much. When the money runs low, here come the delays, waiting lists and rationing. Now the government will decide who receives care and who doesn't.

How will Americans feel about each other then?

Let's use obesity as an example. More than 40% of Americans are obese. Obesity is the single greatest comorbidity presaging serious complications from COVID. But even without the coronavirus, the costs of treating obesity-related illness – heart disease, stroke, renal failure, hypertension and even some cancers -- runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

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How long will it take before Americans start saying "choices have consequences" when they discover that other people's behavior affects their access to health care?

Collectivism isn't kindness or charity; it's compulsion. We cease being neighbors and instead become rivals for limited resources dispensed by powerful people over whom we have no control, so we seek to control our fellow citizens instead.

Don't be fooled. Socialized health care is a prescription for social disaster. Vote against those who would impose it.

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