What Is This Publication?

Faced with what seems to be an increasing level of misleading rhetoric about conservative positions on public policy issues, The National Center for Public Policy Research has resolved to help bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality.

Disclaimer: We freely acknowledge that not all conservatives share every view related as "what conservatives think," nor does every speaker of what our editors perceive to be a left-wing comment think of themselves as "liberal." However, unanimity is impossible on questions such as these. We therefore offer our best judgment, and offer apologies to anyone who believes we could have done better.

Persons with an opinion on any of our judgments are welcome to write us at wct@nationalcenter.org. Be sure to tell us if you object to having your comments reproduced, as we may otherwise post an occasional comment on our blog.


Photo of Valley Forge National Historic Park by James Lemass

Single-Payer Health Care: Could America Do It Without Compromising Quality?

The Left Says:

"...In countries with national health insurance, urgent care is always provided immediately. Other countries do experience some waits for elective procedures (like cataract removal), but maintaining the U.S.'s same level of health expenditures (twice as much as the next-highest country), waits would be much shorter or even non-existent."

Source: "Single-Payer Myths; Single-Payer Facts," Physicians for a National Health Program, downloaded from http://www.pnhp.org/facts/singlepayer_myths_singlepayer_facts.php on December 5, 2003

What Conservatives Think:

Nationalized health systems set fixed annual budgets for medical services. This has the effect of rationing medical care and creating waiting lists for treatment.

In a private system, medical services providers make more money by providing more services.

In a single-payer system, the incentives are reversed. The more patients a provider treats, and the sicker the patients are, the quicker the provider will deplete its budget. When that happens, it will be forced to suspend services until new money is available. In other words, rationing.

Source: Talking Points #17 - Why National Health Insurance Means Waiting for Care, National Center for Public Policy Research, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TPHealth17.html


Issue Date: January 9, 2004
Author: Amy Ridenour


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