Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why California Should Avoid A Canadian-Style Single Payer System

The California state legislature has recently reintroduced a bill to eliminate all private health insurance in the state and replace it with a government-run "single-payer" socialized health care, like in Canada. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year.

On May 29, 2007, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, warned that California should not adopt a Canadian-style system. Brett Skinner (director of health policy research) noted the following important points:
Health care only appears to cost less in Canada than the U.S. because Canadian public health insurance does not cover many advanced medical treatments and technologies commonly available in the U.S.

Canadian patients do not get the same quality or quantity of care as American patients.

On a comparable basis, Canadians have fewer doctors, less high-tech equipment, older hospitals, and receive fewer advanced medicines than Americans.

Canadians currently wait an average of almost 18 weeks between the time they see their family physician and the time they receive treatment from a specialist.

11 per cent waited longer than three months to see a specialist

17 per cent waited longer than three months to get necessary non-emergency surgery

12 per cent waited longer than three months to get necessary diagnostic tests.
According to Skinner, "Canadian doctors say patients wait almost twice as long for treatment than is clinically reasonable". (Emphasis mine.)

And to add insult to the injury, "while Canadians are forced to wait for treatment, the system legally prevents them from seeking treatment elsewhere and paying for it out of their own pocket unless they choose to leave the country."

In other words, the Canadian government deliberately uses force to prevent their citizens from spending their own money to seek what's best for themselves and their loved ones.

Further details are available in their full article, "California Dreaming: The Fantasy of a Canadian-Style Health Insurance Monopoly in the United States".