MSNBC Host Ali Velshi Exploits Pandemic To Pitch Single-Payer Socialism

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MSNBC host Ali Velshi once again used the current pandemic to urge the U.S. to adopt single payer health care on Saturday. Unfortunately, for Velshi and his guests, their critiques of the current system and their praises of single payer turned out to be less than accurate.

Talking to Mehdi Hasan, a columnist for the far-left Intercept website, Velshi tried to use personal experience to tout for the benefits of a single payer system and dismiss concerns, "Mehdi Hasan, you've been in a single payer system in the United Kingdom. I've been in one in Canada, and actually for all the other things outside of coronavirus, they do work well. The whole thing's been -- it's been criticized in the United States because it feels like it's socialist and they talk about lineups and they talk about people dying in hallways of hospitals. The fact is none of that is actually true."

 

 

In reality, the biggest problem facing the Canadian health care system is wait times and that's true when there's not a once in a century pandemic. The NHS is also not known for its speediness.

Velshi then conceded that "it doesn't guarantee that the response to something like coronavirus would have been stronger or better" but would still be preferable because, "It would just mean that people wouldn't be worried about going bankrupt because they got sick."

Hasan followed up by agreeing, "Ali, if you look at health policy experts they say that the U.S. was uniquely vulnerable to the pandemic, because if you have a high uninsured population, people who delay getting tested because they’re worried about the costs, delay getting their symptoms checked out." The United States ranked number one on John Hopkins University's Global Health Security Index in 2019.

However, there was good news according to Hasan.  "If we can't understand the case for Medicare for All now, we never will. Luckily the polls this week show 55% of Americans support Medicare for All, which is a good sign." Maybe that's because journalists refuse to cover the negative aspects of single payer during normal times, but use the worst pandemic since 1918 as proof that current system needs to go.

Here is a transcript for the April 4 show:

MSNBC
Velshi

9:29 AM ET

 

ALI VELSHI: So Mehdi Hasan, you've been in a single payer system in the United Kingdom. I've been in one in Canada, and actually for all the other things outside of coronavirus, they do work well. The whole thing's been -- it's been criticized in the United States because it feels like it's socialist and they talk about lineups and they talk about people dying in hallways of hospitals. The fact is none of that is actually true. Yet, it doesn't as Libby says, it doesn't guarantee that the response to something like coronavirus would have been stronger or better. It would just mean that people wouldn't be worried about going bankrupt because they got sick? 

MEHDI HASAN: And not just worry about going bankrupt, Ali, if you look at health policy experts they say that the U.S. was uniquely vulnerable to the pandemic, because if you have a high uninsured population, people who delay getting tested because they’re worried about the costs, delay getting their symptoms checked out. Don't have access to a doctor or primary health care provider, that lets the pandemic spread even more. That's a problem almost unique to the United States amongst industrialized countries. Look, 10 million people lost their jobs in the last two weeks along. 10 million people. In the U.S. That means you don't just lose your job and income, you lose your health care. Could you come one a better example of why it's so dumb to tie your health care to your employment status when you're in a situation with mass unemployment? We had top Democratic presidential candidates, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg tell us over last year, “you can't have Medicare for All, you can’t get rid of private insurance, Americans love their employer sponsored plans.” Yeah, what happens when you don't have that employer. What happens when you're looking at 30 to 40 million Americans unemployed? If we can't understand the case for Medicare for All now, we never will. Luckily the polls this week show 55% of Americans support Medicare for All, which is a good sign. 

 

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