In the name of “open debate,” Sen. Steve Daines recently introduced a frivolous bill supporting single-payer healthcare, but with no intention of voting for it. Taking the hint, none of his Senate colleagues voted for it either. He nonetheless posted on his website his speech introducing the bill, stating that “socialized medicine” would be disastrous for our nation, offering not one reason why while ignoring how privatized medicine in the U.S. has been in fact a disaster, costly to businesses and individuals.
The U.S. is the only advanced nation without “socialized” medicine. The citizens of nations that provide “socialized” medicine enjoy superior health outcomes, much lower costs and longer life expectancy than the U.S. Ironically, the U.S. spends $4,437 per capita in tax money on its inefficient, privatized system compared to Sweden’s $3,184 in tax money on its “socialized” healthcare system.
According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. currently spends $9,000 per capita per year on healthcare, the world’s highest. Yet, with a life expectancy at 78.7 years, the U.S. ranks 27th in the world. The WHO ranks U.S. health care outcomes 37th, behind Costa Rica and Columbia, and well behind Great Britain (denigrated by Daines in his speech), Greece, Norway, Italy and France among others.
Canada, under its single-payer system, enjoys a life expectancy of 81.7 years and per capita healthcare spending of $4,500 per year. Critics of the Canadian system cite long wait times and higher taxes. However, the additional taxes we would pay for single-payer pale compared to what we now pay for health insurance, deductibles and co-pays. Wait times are little better. In Bozeman, wait times to see a doctor can be up to three months. Given this, I urge Sen. Daines to next time support single-payer legislation when Sen. Bernie Sanders introduces it to the Senate floor.