The news that Ireland is nationalizing its healthcare system for the duration of the coronavirus crisis inspired observers including Rep. Ilhan Omar to call for the same approach in the U.S. as the world's largest economy faces the disease.
"For the duration of this crisis the State will take control of all private hospital facilities and manage all of the resources for the common benefit of all of our people," Ireland's Health Minister Simon Harris announced Tuesday. "There can be no room for public versus private when it comes to pandemic."
Health Minister Simon Harris says 'there can be no room for public versus private' healthcare during a pandemic, private hospitals to be used in Covid-19 response | Follow live updates: https://t.co/QffPYQeRRY pic.twitter.com/MW0SMtVe7S— RTÉ News (@rtenews) March 24, 2020
"There should be no going back from this," said Hogan.
"What we were told would never happen and could never happen.."— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) March 24, 2020
For the first time, Ireland will have a single tier health service.
Private hospitals to go public for #COVID19.
2,000 more beds.
9 more labs.
Critical care facilities
Ireland's decision to nationalize the nation's healthcare system was made for the country's "national unity of purpose," Harris said.
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"We must of course have equality of treatment, patients with this virus will be treated for free, and they’ll be treated as part of a single, national hospital service," said Harris.
The move was seen by observers as a sign of hope in a world battered by the coronavirus pandemic, which has sickened hundreds of thousands around the globe and killed at least 22,184 people.
"How wonderful is this," tweeted journalist Beena Sarwar. "A beautiful silver lining."
Here is maybe a radical idea to deal with some of the pressures our healthcare system is facing:— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 25, 2020
All private hospitals should be made public for the duration of the virus.
Omar, in a tweet Wednesday, cited Ireland's move as evidence that the coronavirus outbreak requires thinking outside the box.
"Maybe it makes sense to think of bold solutions that save lives in times of national crisis," said the Minnesota Democrat.