The coronavirus pandemic could force America to adopt single-payer healthcare, even if Americans do not want it.
For example, I think Joe Biden’s Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a blueprint for a centralized federal healthcare system similar to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Importantly, former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) is the current front runner in the Democratic presidential primaries.
Ironically, most pundits label Biden an opponent of single-payer health insurance. However, I think Biden’s plan is more radical than democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) Medicare for All proposal.
Joe Biden’s Plan for Socialized Medicine in the United States
To explain, Biden proposes offering free Coronavirus testing to all citizens.
Thus, Biden proposes giving free healthcare to all citizens. That sounds like the NHS’s mission of offering medical care to all citizens without a charge.
In particular, the Biden plan proposes: “Establish at least ten mobile testing sites and drive-through facilities per state to speed testing and protect health care workers.” In addition, the plan states: “The number of tests must be in the millions, not the thousands.”
Moreover, the Biden plan proposes converting existing federal resources into an organization similar to the NHS. For instance, Biden proposes: “Preparing to stand up multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals in any city on short notice by deploying existing Federal Medical Stations in the strategic national stockpile and preemptively defining potential locations for their use as needed.”
Biden’s Plan for an American NHS
In other words, Biden wants to create a network of government-operated hospitals similar to the Veteran’s Administration (VA) or the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).
Additionally, Biden wants to convert existing federal medical resources into an organization similar to the National Health Service (NHS). Specifically, Biden proposes converting the Pentagon’s Medical Reserve Corps into a permanent body of federal medical personal. To clarify, the Medical Reserve Corps is a pool of medical professionals the military can mobilize to care for wounded troops.
Furthermore, Biden proposes combining the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/DOD medical equipment and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Assistance Medical Teams into one organization. I think organization will become the basis of a U.S. National Health Service (NHS).
Biden wants to Federalize American Health Care
Notably the Biden Plan states: “Ensuring that training, materials, and resources reach federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and safety-net hospitals, which are typically resource-poor and care disproportionately for vulnerable populations that will bear the brunt of COVID-19.”
Thus, Biden wants to federalize many health clinics and hospitals. I think Biden’s NHS will operate those hospitals.
Finally, Biden’s plan states: “This effort will lay the foundation for a deeper and more lasting public health infrastructure for accessible national health care for all.”
Biden out Socializes Bernie Sanders
I think the Biden plan is far more radical Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal. To explain, Sanders only wants to change the way we finance healthcare, not how we administer healthcare.
In detail, Sanders wants a Canadian-style system in which the federal government acts as a health insurance company for all Americans. To clarify, under Bernie’s system, the government will pay all qualifying health insurance claims. Moreover, payroll taxes will pay for that health insurance.
However, the same clinics, doctors, hospitals, etc., will provide the health care under the Sanders plan. On the other hand, Biden wants a different system for administering and providing healthcare.
Biden’s Plan to Federalize American Healthcare
Specifically, Biden wants a federal agency that provides health care for all Americans. That is a radical step that could lay the groundwork for an institution similar to the NHS.
In particular, Biden wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set policy for hospital. Biden’s staff writes, for instance, “Instruct the CDC to provide clear, stepwise guidance and resources about both containment and mitigation for local school districts, health care facilities, higher education and school administrators, and the general public.”
Thus, Biden wants one national authority similar to the NHS that will set America’s healthcare policy. That is socialist style centralized planning and Biden loves it.
Joe Biden embraces Technocracy
Conversely, I do not think Biden is turning socialist. Instead, Biden is embracing technocracy.
In my definition, technocracy is the belief that applied science and technology can solve society’s problems. Notably, Biden’s Coronavirus Plan lists expanding the use of telemedicine including; tele-medicine, tele-ICU (intensive care unit), and telemedicine among its goals.
To explain, telemedicine is the use of video call software such as Skype to bring doctors to patients. For example, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts could examine coronavirus patients in Colorado with telemedicine.
Meet Joe Biden Technocrat
Moreover, I think Joe Biden comes across as a cold-blooded technocrat in his well-publicized speech on Coronavirus.
I suspect Biden is embracing technocracy because technocracy is popular. For instance, blatant technocrat Andrew Yang (D-New York) did well in the Democratic Presidential primary. Notably, polls show Yang beat well-candidates in some states.
I think technocracy is popular because of the failure of rival ideologies such as neoliberalism and social democracy. Notably, Biden has a long history as a neoliberal, but neoliberalism no longer sells.
I guess Biden noticed technocracy’s popularity and jumped on the bandwagon. In particular, technocracy has a strong appeal to younger voters who are disillusion with capitalism and traditional politics.
Cornavirus will bring Technocracy and Single Payer Healthcare to America
Notably, Biden has trouble attracting younger voters. In fact, only one-third of people under 45 voted for Biden in the 2020 Super Tuesday primaries, New York Times pundit Maggie Astor estimates.
I think Biden needs to appeal to younger voters to win the presidential election. Embracing technocracy is one means of attracting those younger voters.
Historically, crises such as coronavirus lead to great reforms. For instance, the Great Depression led to the New Deal and the Great American Welfare State. In particular, Congress passed the Social Security Act which created Social Security in 1935.
Similarly, World War II led to the National Health Service (NHS) and single-payer health insurance in the United Kingdom. To explain, parliament passed the National Health Service Act which created the NHS in 1946.
In addition, you can argue that His Majesty’s Government had already centralized health care during World War II. Hence, you can claim the NHS is merely a civilian continuation of the World War II Royal Army Medical Corps.
Notably, President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) is deploying U.S. Navy hospital ships and other military resources to coronavirus hot zones. Thus, Trump could lay the groundwork for an United States NHS regardless of public opinion.
In the final analysis, I think the coronavirus pandemic could bring technoracy and single-payer health care to America. Thus the question we need to ask is: how will Americans react to those developments.