what President trump said
“You go and you look at countries where they essentially have single-payer tax care, single-payer health care. If you look at it, they’re a disaster.”
“The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela. If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning.”
“If you do what he says, you’re not going to have a country and you are going to have Venezuela and you’re going to have to lift up your taxes by three times.”
— in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, referring to Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and a leading proponent of “Medicare for all.”
This lacks evidence.
That country’s health care system “played a minimal role in Venezuela’s epic crisis,” said Javier Corrales, a professor of political science at Amherst College whose research focuses on Latin America.
Instead, Mr. Corrales said, the main culprits were the government’s mismanagement of the economy, soaring deficits, declining oil production, debts racked up by the state oil company, and price controls.
The New York Times’ Interpreter column has also detailed how decades of corruption and political strife exacerbated the national economic crisis.
There is no evidence that any of that is the result of adopting a single-payer health care system. Mr. Trump’s assertion that countries with single-payer systems are “disasters” is contradicted by the fact that many advanced economies have such systems.
Moreover, the president himself has expressed admiration for single-payer health care systems in the past.
Under “Medicare for all,” all Americans would receive health insurance from Medicare instead of private companies or other programs like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Mr. Sanders, the chief sponsor of a bill, the Medicare for All Act, often compares his proposal with Canada’s national health insurance program.
While both are single-payer models, they stop short of being truly socialist programs. Under the Canadian system and Mr. Sanders’s proposal, the government reimburses private health providers like doctors and hospitals for their services.
Other countries like Britain, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden that have universal health care systems with government-owned and government-operated health care providers are nowhere near the verge of collapse.
Far from calling these systems disastrous, Mr. Trump praised both the Canadian and Scottish health care systems several times. Those include his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” an interview with David Letterman in 2015 and in the first Republican debate during the 2016 election.
Venezuela has a two-tiered health care system with government-run medical clinics staffed by certain doctors for those who are poor or working class. But private insurance and private care are available for wealthier patients, said Dr. Carles Muntaner of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
While its 1999 constitution calls for universal health care funded by the state, “the current health humanitarian crisis negates any fulfillment of this responsibility by the Venezuelan government,” said Dr. Hermes Florez of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
This system is currently in ruins as a result of government mismanagement, a lack of accountability, corruption and competing constituencies, experts agreed.
“Venezuela’s system is collapsing mostly because of regime type — corrupt semi-authoritarianism — rather than choice of health system,” Mr. Corrales said.
Sources: Javier Corrales, the Commonwealth Fund, “The America We Deserve,” International Journal of Health Services, YouTube, Time magazine, Carles Muntaner, Hermes Florez, The New York Times