Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jeffers on Socialized Medicine

The October 13, 2008 Rocky Mountain News carried the following LTE by Tish Jeffers on Canadian health care:
Socialized medicine great, but don't get sick
Tish Jeffers, Centennial

I had the opportunity to live in Canada for almost 20 years, so I think I have a fair background in how socialized, government-orchestrated medicine works.

Keep in mind, there are approximately 32 million people in Canada and approximately 302 million people in the United States.

My assessment then, as it is now when I talk to my aging Canadian friends: Socialized medicine is great... as long as you never get really sick!

What I find interesting is that if socialized medicine ever comes into play here in the United States, Americans will never stand for the waiting, the lines, the paperwork and the bureaucracy the Canadians put up with when they go to the doctor. We won't have the option, like our Canadian friends do, to load up on buses and come over to the United States to get the instant care most of us take for granted!

It isn't medicine that needs reform, it's the insurance companies that need reform. The government has screwed up so many things, like our current issue with our finances! Do we want them messing around with our medicine, too?
Jeffers is quite right -- the Canadian system controls costs through rationing and waiting lists.

However, the problems in the US should not be blamed solely on insurance companies. Much of their behaviour is driven by onerous government regulations that prevent them from offering cost-effective services in a free market to willing customers. For more, please see our article on "universal health care".