Lessons From the Coronavirus Pandemic
To say the last few weeks have been surreal would be an understatement. In January, the Democratic Party was having hearings in the House of Representatives on the impeachment of President Trump. That same month, as the bureaucratic establishment was wasting our time with dumb partisan politics, a deadly virus from China had been unleashed on the world.
In the weeks that followed, there were a series of good, bad and ugly experiences that will forever be part of the lore in this time of pandemic. Here are a few observations that deserve attention now as our nation and the world face the still mysterious “invisible enemy,” as Mr. Trump recently described the Wuhan virus.
If there is a clear lesson so far, the coronavirus pandemic made it deadly obvious that the last thing humanity needs is so-called universal health care. Italy has laid bare the horror during a crisis that socialized medicine unleashes on a nation, making it imperative that handing over health care to a government is the last thing anyone should ever allow.
Italy has been suffering through the pandemic with 27,980 cases and 2,158 deaths (as of this writing). Widely recognized as a main contributor to this is the fact that the Italian “free” health care system was structurally unable to handle the crisis. According to the libertarian Mises Institute, Italy “is overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases it is already facing. They have turned to rationing care to prioritize the young leaving those most at risk to the virus to essentially fend for themselves. …
It is a “situation made far worse by a reliance on government centralized healthcare that manages costs by de facto price rationing rather than a free market system.” Moreover, the report noted that Italy was experiencing an ongoing health worker shortage before the pandemic hit, and the number of hospitals has been on a steady decline over the last couple of decades.
Here in the United States the painfully slow testing procedure made it clear that our bureaucratic government establishment was incapable of the simplest of actions — getting tests to the public and having them analyzed within a reasonable amount of time. The glut of regulations endemic to a massive bureaucracy made it impossible to get the job done with the urgency it required.
Mr. Trump acted and reversed an onerous FDA rule and streamlined the process, while creating public/private testing partnerships which finally ended the bureaucratic debacle. As a businessman, he was more committed to getting the job done than massaging the bloated establishment. Italy’s ongoing tragedy alone should serve as the undeniable warning against so-called universal or nationalized health care.
The latest headline from the Telegraph newspaper in England is blunt, “Italians over 80 will be left to die as country overwhelmed by coronavirus.
As the Mises Institute warned, “If US officials wish to effectively handle the rising number of cases in big cities they would do well to take lessons from South Korea [as opposed to the failed socialized ‘free universal’ system in Italy] and start freeing the market for healthcare rather than bungling a monopolized testing protocol that did not need to be monopolized.
And then there’s remarkable news from San Francisco. As Fox News reported, “Residents in six San Francisco Bay area counties will be confined to their homes for the next three weeks under a new shelter-in-place order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
That’s nice, if you’re one of the Bay Area residents who has a place within which to shelter. Living in a tent on a sidewalk smeared with human feces won’t help you much with “social distancing.
Considering San Francisco’s significant homeless problem, many people looked askance at that new order.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the region’s estimated 28,200 homeless individuals are “exempt from the order.” They are instead encouraged to seek shelter.
In the midst of all of this there is some good news from, you guessed it, the private sector. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Amazon to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in mid coronavirus shutdowns. The company will raise pay by two dollars an hour for warehouse and delivery employees through April.
Then there’s ShopRite supermarkets which is promoting on social media, “Displaced from your regular routine? Join us. We’re hiring. …” ShopRite supermarkets has stores in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
There are many questions that still need to be asked and answered about this unfolding debacle, but one lesson has already been made clear: The federal government should never be given control over our health care. They’ll call it “universal” and “free,” when as the Italians are finding, it’s really incompetent and deadly.