Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hsieh LTE on Massachusetts in New York Times

The September 7, 2008 New York Times has printed my LTE on health care "reform" in Massachusetts, responding to their August 30, 2008 editorial, "The Massachusetts Way". They edited it slightly from the version I submitted, but kept the essential meaning intact, including the concept that "health care is not a right".

It is the 7th (final) letter on this page:
To the Editor:

Far from being a "success," Massachusetts health care "reform" has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars more than anticipated and created long waits for care.

The Massachusetts system is just socialized medicine in a new guise. It is no coincidence that the long waits for care in the state resemble the long bread lines in the Soviet Union.

The fundamental problem with the Massachusetts system (or any system of "universal health care") is that it erroneously treats health care as a "right." There is no such thing as "right" to a good or service that must be created by others — that's just state-sanctioned theft or slavery. The problems in Massachusetts are the inevitable result.

Paul Hsieh
Sedalia, Colo., Aug. 30, 2008

The writer is the co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine.
As an example of the "long waits", the April 5, 2008 New York Times reported in their article, "In Massachusetts, Universal Coverage Strains Care", that some patients in Western Massachusetts with "guaranteed" health coverage must wait over a year for a routine physical examination.

Although some people blame these waits on a shortage of physicians, the New England Journal of Medicine notes that this is not true, in this article from April 27, 2008, "Physician Workforce Crisis? Wrong Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription":
Massachusetts has seen its supply of physicians per capita more than double since 1976, and it now has the highest physician-to-population ratio of any state, in primary care as well as overall.