“Patients will wait months for treatment. Keep in mind, care delayed is often care denied…That’s why what’s being proposed by the Democrats in this one-size-fits-all approach – a British plan, a Canadian plan – is completely unacceptable to American citizens.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about how the Democrats’ one-size-fits-all health care will lead to rationing and worse care for patients.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor, today, to once again give the facts about the Democrats’ one-size-fits-all health care proposal, the legislation that many Democrats are referring to as ‘Medicare for All.’
“My focus today is what’s going to happen to American patients if the government takes full control of our nation’s health care system.
“Now, I speak as a doctor who practiced medicine for 24 years in Casper, Wyoming.
“It’s so interesting as a doctor to take a look at what is being proposed because I know the specifics of the impacts on the lives of patients. Patients I’ve taken care of as part of my training and then part of my practice in Wyoming. And as a doctor also who has personally studied what’s happening to health care in other countries around the world.
“You’ve no doubt heard about the worsening crisis of care in England, the doctor shortages, and of course there is rationing of care.
“British rationing has actually become the focus of a recent article in the magazine the Economist. The article is entitled: ‘The front line of England’s National Health Service is being reinvented: A shortage of family doctors leaves little choice but to try something new.’
“The story opens with this simple observation: ‘The national health service is free, so it is also rationed.’
“That’s what we are seeing and that’s what people are living with every day in Britain. Under the guise of health care being free, they live in a world where health care is rationed.
“So how bad can that be? What would this mean with this one-size-fits-all, Medicare for All which the Democrats are proposing.
“The Economist writes that in Britain today, ‘only patients with the most complicated or urgent problems make it to a doctor.’
“Because actually you, today, need a doctor’s referral to see a specialist in England. But now in some parts of that country, a British bureaucrat must pre-approve your visit to the family doctor who will then make the referral to the specialist.
“I can’t imagine people in our country tolerating that.
“So ironically, ‘access to the rationers is now, itself, rationed.’
“According to the article: ‘Only half of British patients say they almost always get to see their preferred doctor.’ So only half get to see the doctor that they choose.
“Remember that old line, ‘if you like your health care, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.’ In Britain only half get to see their doctor if they get to see it, if they get to go through the rationer who is then a bureaucrat.
“And then what happens after you wait through all of this? What does the article say about when you actually get to see a doctor? ‘The average consultation lasts just nine minutes.’
“Nine minutes, on average.
“As a doctor, I can tell you, nine minutes is one of the shortest consults I’ve ever heard of. I cannot imagine nine minutes after waiting all this time to see the doctor. Nine minutes and then you’re done. And they’re on to the next patient who has also been waiting and waiting and waiting to see the doctor.
“So what does this tell us about what would happen to the United States? To patients trying to see doctors if we followed this one-size-fits-all government run health care program that Senator Sanders and so many of the Democrats are supporting.
“Well, if we adopt a government-run, one-size-fits-all, health care system, which is what they’re proposing, I would tell Americans to expect to pay more to wait longer for worse care. That’s what we would see.
“Or to borrow the line from The Economist, bureaucrats will, as they say, ‘reinvent’ what health care means for you.
“You may have seen the stories about the thousands of elderly patients right now going blind in Britain.
“Why are they going blind? It’s because the British health service is rationing eye surgery.
“The president of the Royal College of Opthalmologists has said that the rationing is part of the government’s cost-cutting drive in England. And people are going blind as a result.
“Thousands of elderly patients desperately in need of eye surgery. But the bureaucrats who must approve it are denying the treatment. The number of denials has doubled in the last two years.
“According to the Royal College of Surgeons, a quarter of a million British patients have been waiting more than six months for planned medical treatment.
“That is happening in England today and the waiting times are getting longer.
“Now, let’s look at Canada.
“According to the New York Times, Senator Bernie Sanders likes the Canadian healthcare system because, he says, it’s ‘free’.
“Now of course Senator Sanders knows it’s anything but free. After all, the health care proposal that Senator Sanders is proposing would be a $32 trillion dollar price tag.
“The senator admits his plan hikes taxes on middle-class families. He said it in a debate the other night. The truth is that even doubling our taxes couldn’t cover this huge cost.
“Apparently Senator Sanders approves of the Canadian long wait times, because he says the ‘waiting times are not a problem.’
“Well, maybe he should check with the Canadians to see if wait times are a problem. Because patients in Canada typically wait three months for treatment. For certain treatments, much, much more.
“In some ways the Canadian health care system has been called ‘trick or treat’ medicine because if you don’t get your care by Halloween, you have to wait until the next year because they’ve run out of money allotted for that procedure in that year.
“As a doctor, practicing in Wyoming, I’ve actually operated on people from Canada who came to the United States for care, and it’s free up in Canada, but they couldn’t afford to wait for the free care they were going to get in Canada. So they came to the United States to pay for the care here.
“Democrats’ one-size-fits-all government-run approach would force all Americans to pay more through their taxes to wait longer for care that will be worse care.
“Because even the Congressional Budget Office, the people who looked at this in terms of funding, and looked at what it would cost to do a Senator Sanders style approach, said it would be expensive, complicated, and the delays would not be just in treatment, but also in technology.
“And many Democrat candidates for president have also endorsed free health care for illegal immigrants.
“You take a look what their proposal actually is, this Medicare for All, this one-size-fits-all approach, it actually takes health insurance away from a 100 million people who get it through work, but gives it to illegal immigrants.
“So 180 million American citizens will lose their on-the-job insurance while illegal immigrants will get it for free.
“That’s the Democrats’ Medicare for All proposal.
“The Congressional Research Service recently reported that the Sanders bill ends Medicare as well as on-the-job health insurance.
“What we’ll be doing is all entering into a one expensive new government-run system.
“Still, the Democrat senators running for president and 118 Democrat members of the House support the Sanders legislation, they have cosponsored it. Saying let the Washington, D.C. bureaucrats call the shots.
“Unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats calling the shots as they ration your care. They will micromanage your care, they’ll delay your care, and delay your treatment, treatment that you urgently need.
“People will lose the freedom to see their own doctor, we’ve seen that happened in England.
“Patients will wait months for treatment. Keep in mind, care delayed is often care denied. And if they finally get to see a physician, the amount of time and consultation is incredibly short.
“That’s why what’s being proposed by the Democrats in this one-size-fits-all approach – a British plan, a Canadian plan –is completely unacceptable to American citizens.
“You don’t need Democrats’ phony promises of ‘free’ care. What you need is to get to have the freedom to get the care that you want, that you need, from a doctor that you choose, at lower costs.
“That’s why Republicans continue to work on real reforms that improve patient care, that increase transparency, that lower the cost of care, that lower the cost of what people pay out of their own pockets, without adding these incredibly long wait times. And the loss of the ability to make choices on your own.
“Why should we pay more to wait longer for worse care? Which is what we’re seeing with a one-size-fits-all approach.
“Let’s make sure patients can get the care that they need, from the doctor that they choose, at lower costs.”