Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pipes: Get Ready To Wait

As the US Senate prepares to pass its version of ObamaCare, Sally Pipes warns us "American Patients, Get Ready to Wait".

Here is an excerpt:
...Democratic politicians, liberal leaders, and the mainstream press are fond of criticizing America for spending a greater share of GDP on health care -- 16 percent -- than other countries do. Their remedy for "fixing" our country's high-cost system is more government control.

Yet they rarely disclose the high nonmonetary costs posed by government-controlled healthcare systems. Countries like Canada only spend less on health care by consigning their citizens to waiting lists and depriving them of access to effective cutting-edge treatments.

As of this year, 694,161 Canadians are on a waiting list for medical procedures. Assuming one person per procedure, that means 2.08 percent of the population is queued up for "free" care, according to the Fraser Institute's annual survey on wait times.

These Canadians pay for their health care in both taxes and the hard currency of pain, anguish, and lost wages.
She notes:
...[A]n incredible 16 percent of the population -- five million people -- is waiting to get a primary care doctor.

Once they get one, they have to wait yet again. On average, Canadians waited 16.1 weeks from the time their general practitioner referred them to a specialist until they actually received treatment in 2009, according to the Fraser Institute. That's 73 percent longer than the wait in 1993, when the Institute first started quantifying the problem.

Some specialties fare particularly poorly. Seniors should take note. In the United States, the average wait to see an orthopedic specialist is 16.8 days, according to a survey by medical consulting firm Merritt Hawkins and Associates. Canadians wait 17.1 weeks for the same appointment.
(Read the full text of "American Patients, Get Ready to Wait".)

Under universal health care, governments only promise theoretical "coverage", not actual health care. And the policies they adopt actually worsen the ability of patients to seek and receive actual care.

Canadians have already learned this lesson the hard way. Will Americans be next?