Top Pro & Con Arguments


Universal health care would increase wait times for basic care and make Americans’ health worse.

The Congressional Budget Office explains, “A single-payer system with little cost sharing for medical services would lead to increased demand for care in the United States because more people would have health insurance and because those already covered would use more services. The extent to which the supply of care would be adequate to meet that increased demand would depend on various factors, such as the payment rates for providers and any measures taken to increase supply. If coverage was nearly universal, cost sharing was very limited, and the payment rates were reduced compared with current law, the demand for medical care would probably exceed the supply of care–with increased wait times for appointments or elective surgeries, greater wait times at doctors’ offices and other facilities, or the need to travel greater distances to receive medical care. Some demand for care might be unmet.” [207]

As an example of lengthy wait times associated with universal coverage, in 2017 Canadians were on waiting lists for an estimated 1,040,791 procedures, and the median wait time for arthroplastic surgery was 20–52 weeks. Similarly, average waiting time for elective hospital-based care in the United Kingdom is 46 days, while some patients wait over a year. Increased wait times in the U.S. would likely occur—at least in the short term—as a result of a steep rise in the number of primary and emergency care visits (due to eliminating the financial barrier to seek care), as well as general wastefulness, inefficiency, and disorganization that is often associated with bureaucratic, government-run agencies. [17] [190]

Joshua W. Axene of Axene Health Partners, LLC “wonder[s] if Americans really could function under a system that is budget based and would likely have increased waiting times. In America we have created a healthcare culture that pays providers predominantly on a Fee for Service basis (FFS) and allows people to get what they want, when they want it and generally from whoever they want. American healthcare culture always wants the best thing available and has a ‘more is better’ mentality. Under a government sponsored socialized healthcare system, choice would become more limited, timing mandated, and supply and demand would be controlled through the constraints of a healthcare budget…. As much as Americans believe that they are crockpots and can be patient, we are more like microwaves and want things fast and on our own terms. Extended waiting lines will not work in the American system and would decrease the quality of our system as a whole.” [206]

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