Followers of healthcare debates are well aware of the dark side of government healthcare in countries like Canada and Great Britain, but what’s about its track record when it’s been tried here in the United States? As it turns out, we have plenty of examples.
Department of Veterans Affairs
It seems like there’s a new horror story about VA medical care every week. Exposing “10,000 veterans to the AIDS and hepatitis viruses” and a Pennsylvania facility giving “botched radiation treatments to nearly 100 cancer patients.” “Often fail[ing] to provide adequate medical care to female military veterans.” Walter Reed. “More than 600 veterans wrongly told they had ALS.” And, of course, a “death book for veterans” which was reinstated by the same administration that insists we have nothing to worry about from death panels for the rest of us. It’s bad enough when anyone suffers due to bad policy, but that we treat those who take up arms to defend our country this way is especially disgraceful.
Indian Health Service
Things aren’t so great on the Indian reservations, either. There, federal government’s IHS provides care “in one of two ways. It runs 48 hospitals and 230 clinics for which it hires doctors, nurses, and staff and decides what services will be provided” or “contracts with tribes,” in which “case, the IHS provides funding for the tribe, which delivers health care to tribal members and makes its own decisions about what services to provide.” Predictably, the disastrous effects of the former method (“the common wisdom is ‘don’t get sick after June’”) are leading tribes to turn toward the latter, which is a step up but “still frustrated by funding constraints.”
Maine has a plan not unlike ObamaCare. How’s it fared? “The program flew off track fast. At its peak in 2006, only about 15,000 people had enrolled in the DirigoChoice program. That number has dropped to below 10,000, according to the state’s own reporting. About two-thirds of those who enrolled already had insurance, which they dropped in favor of the public option and its subsidies. Instead of 128,000 uninsured in the program today, the actual number is just 3,400. Despite the giant expansions in Maine’s Medicaid program and the new, subsidized public choice option, the number of uninsured in the state today is only slightly lower that in 2004 when the program began.”
Launched in 1994, TennCare was supposed to “save the state money, reduce costs, and increase coverage. Instead, in a decade, the program went from a budget of $2.5 billion to nearly $8 billion, became mired in litigation, and was forced to make major cuts.”
Cato’s Michael Cannon writes that “Massachusetts reduced its uninsured population by two-thirds — yet the cost would be considered staggering, had state officials not done such a good job of hiding it. Finally, Massachusetts shows where ‘ObamaCare’ would ultimately lead: Officials are already laying the groundwork for government rationing”…“ The Legislature also plans to leverage its power under the individual mandate to require ‘evidence-based purchasing strategies,’ which is another way of saying government bureaucrats may soon be deciding who gets medical care and who does not.”
Please take the time to read these reports in their entirety, especially the full profiles of the three state healthcare plans. For further resources in the healthcare debate, please see: