Magazine article USA TODAY

National Insurance Could Prove Disastrous

Magazine article USA TODAY

National Insurance Could Prove Disastrous

Article excerpt

As Sens. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.), John Kerry (D.-Mass.), and other prominent supporters of government provision of health care continue to discuss their plans, a study by the Cato Institute, Washington, D.C., suggests Democratic Party leaders should steer clear of such schemes. Data from foreign governments with these systems contradict many of the claims made about national health insurance by supporters in the US.

In "Health Care in a Free Society: Rebutting the Myths of National Health Insurance," National Center for Policy Analysis Pres. John C. Goodman writes that, wherever national health insurance has been tried, it produces results at odds with its proponents' promises of equal access to high-quality medical care. In national health care systems, "rationing by waiting is pervasive, putting patients at risk and keeping them in pain," Goodman declares. "Access to health care in single-payer systems is far from equitable; in fact, it often correlates with income," For example:

* No country with national health insurance has established a right to health care, or equal access to care. The elderly in Canada and the United Kingdom report much more difficulty obtaining care than U.S. seniors, while racial health disparities persist. "New Zealand's guidelines for end stage renal failure programs say that age should not be the sole factor in determining eligibility, but that, 'in usual circumstances, people over 75 should not be accepted. …

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