Fox Lady Has New 'Death Panels,' It Is Socialists Stealing Rich People's EYES!
On Fox and Friends today, host Ainsley Earhardt painted a picture of a bleak dystopia. A world where Medicare For All has been implemented and the government decides who gets eye surgery and who goes blind. Where the rich are cruelly forced to watch (or not watch, as the case may be) as poor people get cataract surgery before them, unable to move ahead in line by paying out-of-pocket or with private insurance.
Oh what a horrifying hellscape it will be! The cruelty! The terror! The blindness! THE RATIONING!!!!!!!!
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): As 2020 Democrats push their "Medicare for All" agenda here in the United States, thousands in Britain are reportedly left to go blind because of eye surgery rationing under their single-payer system. Is that what Medicare for All would look like here? Here to weigh in on this is Seth Denson, he's a health care expert and president and co-founder of GDP Advisors.
So tell me what's happening over there. I understand thousands of elderly patients are going blind. How do they determine who gets the surgery and who goes blind?
SETH DENSON (GDP ADVISORS): Well, listen, this should strike fear into anybody who is thinking that Medicare for All might be a good idea, right? Because what's happening in the United Kingdom is, in effect, they're running out of money. They just don't have the money, according to the head of NHS, to cover all of the things that are necessary for their citizens.
EARHARDT: So is this what Medicare for All looks like?
DENSON: It could be. And, you know, the most terrifying part of this, the plan proposed by Sen. [Bernie] Sanders is actually more restrictive than the plan they have in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, citizens can still go buy private insurance and/or could even pay cash for certain procedures, which would cut the waiting time dramatically. In the United States, what Sen. Sanders has proposed wouldn't even allow for that.
OK! So! First of all, Ainsley, I'm gonna need to point out that the cuts to the NHS that led to this rationing were pushed by Conservatives. It's not that they "just don't have the money," it's that certain people in their government did not want to spend that money on the NHS. The austerity cuts over the last 10 years have been their idea, and they have not worked out well. Pointing to a program that isn't being funded properly and going, "Oh man, this doesn't work at all!" is like trying to drive your car without gas and calling it a lemon. The problem here is that the NHS isn't being funded properly, not that it exists in the first place.
Second, it is hardly as if private insurers here will cover all cataract surgery -- patients have to meet certain criteria before it is considered "medically necessary" enough for the insurance company to cover it. They also don't always cover it entirely -- for instance, Medicaid and Medicare only cover 80% of the full cost of the procedure. With the cost of that surgery ranging from $3,500 to $10,000 per eye, 20 percent ain't exactly cheap -- which is why we've got lots and lots of people trying to crowdfund for their cataract surgery on GoFundMe.
I'm gonna say that is altogether worse than "rationing" something people get for free.
When conservatives talk about socialized medicine leading to long wait times and "rationing," what they're actually saying is "Health care is a scarcity in this country and in order for me to get the level of treatment I need, some other people need to go without."
Because let's just say, hypothetically, that rightwing economics actually did work out. That, as a result of tax cuts, all the wealth trickled down from the top to the bottom, that all the poor people pulled themselves up by their bootstraps once their welfare was taken away, and the United States became a country where everyone could afford private insurance or to pay for all their health care needs out of pocket. Would we not have the same problem then? Yes, yes we would. Obviously.
So, to quote every infomercial ever -- there's gotta be a better way!
Taking shoes off is hard!
What if the answer is not "fewer people having health care so that Ainsley Earhardt can get the level of health care she feels she deserves" but "have more health care, period"? The cost of four years of medical school tuition ranges from $150,620 to $396,056, with the average medical student graduating with $170,000 in debt. At that rate, it shouldn't be too surprising that we have only about 21,030 new medical students per year -- and that is 28 percent more than we had in 2002 -- and are headed for a doctor shortage of about 105,000 by 2030. Maybe I'm just a dirty commie, but it seems to me like the answer here is not so much limiting the number of people who are able to have healthcare, but rather subsidizing medical school so that we have more doctors.
If the system cannot support everyone having healthcare, by any means, then the system is rigged and we need a better one.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse