What do Minnesotans want when it comes to health care? We want:
- To see the doctor of our choice, conveniently and affordably.
- Access to the most appropriate treatments.
- Access to good insurance that meets our needs at an affordable rate.
- To know how much our care will cost, upfront before we pay for it.
- Safety nets that protect the vulnerable.
How can we achieve those goals? The best way is to remove barriers. Barriers between patients and medical professionals, between patients and needed therapies, and between inventors and life-saving medical breakthroughs.
Some people argue for a very different approach. They want a government takeover of health care. This simple “solution” (which goes by various names, such as “single-payer,” “national health insurance,” “socialized medicine,” “Medicare for All,” and “a public option”) might sound appealing, but it cannot guarantee the basic protections people need.
People in countries with government-run health care typically endure bureaucratic rationing and long wait-lists due to unavoidable shortages of personnel, equipment, and therapies. And tragically, the burden of such rationing falls heaviest on the most vulnerable: the sick, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions. Access to a waiting list is not access to care.
In Canada, health care is “free,” yet patients pay for it in other, tragic ways. Canadians receive fewer cancer screenings than Americans do and have higher mortality rates for certain cancers. While Americans enjoy access to 89 percent of new drugs, Canadians only have access to about half, because their government deems most new drugs “too expensive.” The median wait time in Canada for an MRI scan is more than two months – to be treated by a specialist, more than five months. Canadians end up paying for their “free” care by being forced to endure needless suffering, lost income, and preventable death.