Medicare for All would not only impact your wallet, but the quality of care you receive. Government-controlled health care introduces a third player into the doctor–patient relationship: Uncle Sam. There is no opt-out—whether you like it or not, the federal government would be a part of your health care. In Section 6, two Heritage Foundation scholars—Robert E. Moffit, PhD, and Kevin Pham, MD—explore how government-controlled health care would affect every aspect of the medical profession, including the doctor-patient relationship, physician morale, and even medical progress.
Government bureaucracy is extremely hard on doctors; it adds layers of complication to an already stressful job. Medicare for All would increase physician stress and decrease physician morale. Physician suicide is already twice the rate of the general population; 62 percent of physicians have reported being somewhat or very pessimistic about the future of medicine. The 2018 Physicians Foundation survey found that excessive bureaucracy and regulations is part of what stresses doctors. Americans should be wary of adopting a system that adds to their health care providers’ burden and takes them away from what they should be doing: practicing medicine, not filling out paperwork.
Not only would government-controlled health care influence physician wellbeing, it would add blockers to medical progress. Research and development is often funded by private companies, and Medicare for All would endanger that funding. In 2017, the U.S. spent $182.3 billion on medical research, $121.8 billion of which was from private companies. While this is an enormous amount, and more than other countries spend, Americans also have access to some of the most innovative medical treatments.
Americans can take justified pride in the responsiveness of medical care that the U.S. is able to provide and the quality of doctors in the U.S. While our current health care system is far from perfect, health care reform should make medical progress and the jobs of physicians easier, not more difficult. The Left’s proposals move the country in the wrong direction.