Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Canadians Would Act In Their Rational Self-Interest

Although Canadians pay lip service to the egalitarian ideals of their socialized medical system, when push comes to shove, many Canadians will quite naturally act in their self-interest in order to get the best medical care for themselves and their loved ones. Despite the official rationing and waiting lists, Canadians say they would be willing to do what it takes to "jump the queue". Here are some excerpts from a recent article in the 10/26/07 National Post:
Canadians willing to jump health-care queues: study

When push comes to shove, many people would seriously consider pulling strings to jump a health-care queue, suggests a survey of Toronto residents.

And 16% of the 101 people responding to the Toronto telephone survey said they had already contacted a friend in the medical system in an effort to get moved up a waiting list.

...About 29% said they would consider giving a gift or donation to get ahead and 36% agreed that patients should be allowed to pay extra to get quicker access.

...In one scenario, the respondents were asked if they would speak to a neighbour who is a secretary at an MRI clinic if it meant getting moved up a list instead of waiting three months. About 71% said they would likely or definitely take the step.

Another scenario asked the respondent if they would give their surgeon tickets to basketball and hockey games if it meant getting hip replacement surgery faster. Thirty per cent said they would likely or definitely do that.

A third scenario asked if the respondent was willing to pay a $20 "emergency fee" to see a dermatologist about an unattractive but apparently harmless rash instead of waiting three months. Just over half said they would.

And 56% said they would likely or definitely let a doctor who owes them a favour move them up a waiting list for cataract surgery.

...Ann Heester, clinical ethicist at the Ottawa Hospital, said she's not surprised by the results of the survey. ..."The fact that people would jump the queue is all about desperation," she said. "People makes decisions based on their own needs."
Canadians are rightly frustrated by a system in which the government forbids them from spending their own honestly-earned money on goods and services for a voluntarily agreed-upon price with medical service providers, for their mutual benefit. When government force is used to prevent people from pursuing their rational self-interest, it no surprise that the result is unnecessary suffering and death.