By Monica Showalter
Italy’s in dire need of help.
Its health care system is collapsing. The coronavirus has put the whole country in quarantine. There are now 15,000 cases, along with 1,018 deaths, the last 24 hours bringing in 188 more. The casualty count is the highest outside China. And it’s spreading fast. Until a few days ago, the problem as concentrated in the north. Now, it has spread throughout the whole country.
Anyone with a heart can feel pity and an urge to help them. They need help, bad.
But don’t go asking the European Union.
Turns out the open-borders globalist set-up is stiffing the Italians in their hour of need:
First, the EU created the problem by failing to shut down their borders with China, enabling its spread into Italy in the first place. While President Trump was acting swiftly to protect America from the lethal virus, the European Union was saying there was no crisis and calling Trump a xenophobe.
Now, with Italy hit hard based on that hate-Trump ‘logic’, its medical system is overwhelmed. Its doctors and nurses are exhausted. There’s not enough equipment or supplies, and the patients keep coming. Health care is being doled out by triage, old people being told ‘no health care for you.’ The Italians are appealing for help with masks, surgical equipment, doctors, anything that will enable them to get through it and save human lives — and the EU is not giving it.
David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner has a must-read column on how the EU is leaving Italy to fend for itself in its hour of need.
Maurizio Massari, Italy’s permanent representative to the European Union, wrote an opinion piece for Politico Europe Tuesday evening publicly shaming fellow EU states for their failure to help, and once again asking them to come together. Instead, European countries are banning the exportation of face masks and other medical equipment needed to deal with the crisis. Germany’s health minister, quoted by Politico, argued that this was necessary: “The market is such at present that masks are not going where [they’re most] urgently needed, it’s where people pay most money for them.”This is absurd. First of all, if Germany’s government is really so worried about masks not getting where they’re needed (as opposed to covering its own backside), they can donate masks to the Italians, can’t they? This complaint about profiteering is really just cover for their own fearful selfishness. Maybe Germany is worried about becoming the next Italy, but that isn’t the excuse they’re giving. They’re hiding behind the immorality of profiteering as if that were the real motive.
Why is that a problem? Because the European Union is supposed to be all about lovey-doviness, nations giving of their surplus to help others in need in the name of the greater good. Helping the poor out, putting people first, so unlike that cowboy regime across the pond.
And it may be perfectly understandable for Germany to want to protect its own national interest in a time of crisis, but it runs counter to the entire concept of the EU that we’ve been hearing so much about during the debate over Brexit. Member states are supposed to benefit by putting aside their own selfish needs. French President Emmanuel Macron has cayled for an even more united post-Brexit EU. What happened to that? Right now, his government is seizing control of masks throughout France. I haven’t seen anything about them ending up in Italy.
And as Freddoso notes, all they are getiting is empty EU words, nothing more. So much for all that ‘sharing.’
The hard reality here is that nations act in their own self-interest whether they say so or not. That so much propaganda to the contrary has been mouthed by the European Union in the name of preserving its stateless unaccountable bureaucracy, and is often believed by local citizens, is a sad story. Up until now, the Italians had to have been confident their association with the EU would help them. Turns out that is a load of hooey, and reason enough to leave the EU as if the restive nation didn’t already have enough of them Open borders for disease, closed borders for help with disease, what a bargain. One hopes the Italians will get wise to this and finally pull the plug.
That’s not the only thing that’s being discredited, though.
Globalism, as it turns out, seems absolutely lethal when combined with socialism.
Italy has socialized medicine, the kind Bernie Sanders seeks to push on America, leaving the country way less prepared to handle the pandemic than countries with free market health care systems.
The central planners don’t have enough beds. There’s not enough staff. There’s no free market to step in and pick up the slack, it’s not allowed. According to this disturbing piece in the Wall Street Journal, there are signs of a medical system failure, the same kind of thing that in past socialist hellhole regimes, has triggered man-caused famines. Now it’s a health-care famine for Italy, because, like Venezuela’s oilfields, the cash was spent on today-needs and political crowd pleasers such as “free” stuff, instead of invested in to increase “production” (read: profitability). The net result is the same as it is in Venezuela and all socialist hellholes: underinvestment, leading to shambling, subpar, shortage-brimming results. Ain’t party-elites making all the decisions grand? According to the Journal:
Italy lags other large European countries in provision of acute-care hospital beds, furnishing 2.62 of them per 1,000 residents as of 2016, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In Germany it’s 6.06 and in France and the Netherlands it’s 3.15 and 3 respectively. That year, Italy devoted around $913 per capita to inpatient acute and rehabilitative care, compared with $1,338 in France, $1,506 in Germany, and $1,732 in the U.S.
The writer, Joseph Sternberg, notes this:
What accounts for these divergences in health-care resources requires more study than a single newspaper column can provide, but a few early hints emerge. One is the observation that the U.K. and Italy are significantly more dependent on direct government financing of health-care than is France or Germany.
Government accounted for 79% of total health-care spending in the U.K. in 2017, according to Eurostat, and 74% in Italy. Germany and France both rely on compulsory insurance schemes with varying degrees of subsidy and government meddling, but outright government expenditure amounts to only 6% of total health spending in Germany and 5% in France. Covid-19 in this sense is a test of how much one trusts central health planners to make wise long-term decisions that boost resilience in the face of unusual dangers.
And with government making all the decisions about ‘universal’ health care, what happens now is inhuman. According to Paula Bolyard at PJMedia:
Health officials in Italy have issued guidelines for rationing care as hospitals there struggle to keep up with the surge of patients infected with the coronavirus. Doctors are being told that they’ll likely need to deny care to senior citizens and those with other health conditions as the virus explodes across the nation.
Italy has been rocked by the still not-well-understood COVID-29, with more than 1,200 confirmed cases and 827 deaths—second only to China—and 16 million residents currently under quarantine.An article published by the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (translated here by Yascha Mounk) warns that “It may be necessary to establish criteria of access to intensive care not just on the basis of clinical appropriateness but inspired by the most consensual criteria regarding distributive justice and the appropriate allocation of limited health resources.” The report goes on to recommend rationing care to certain populations. Imagine paying for high taxes for socialist health care all your life only to be told in your hour of need ‘too bad, you’re too old, no health care for you’? It’s enough to make one hope that Italy snaps to attention on what multilateral globalism combined with socialized medicine, have done for it. If it can’t do that, it remains a lesson for the rest of us, as Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other socialist siren-songers promise the world from all their socialization schemes, always done with the best of intentions, and always collapsing into rubble right when it counts. Socialism fails every time it’s tried. Wrap it in the European Union and it fails spectacularly.