Saturday, January 26, 2008

What's a little waiting if it means universal care?

Mark Stein hits it on the head:

Canadian dependence on the United States is particularly true in health care, the most eminent Canadian idea looming in the American context. That is, public health care in Canada depends on private health care in the U.S. A small news story from last month illustrates this:

A Canadian woman has given birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets. The four girls were born at a U.S. hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units. Autumn, Brook, Calissa, and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefice Hospital in Great Falls, Montana. Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada, but none had space. The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician were flown 500 kilometers to the Montana hospital, the closest in the U.S., where the quadruplets were born on Sunday.

There you have Canadian health care in a nutshell. After all, you can’t expect a G-7 economy of only 30 million people to be able to offer the same level of neonatal intensive care coverage as a town of 50,000 in remote, rural Montana. And let’s face it, there’s nothing an expectant mom likes more on the day of delivery than 300 miles in a bumpy twin prop over the Rockies. Everyone knows that socialized health care means you wait and wait and wait—six months for an MRI, a year for a hip replacement, and so on. But here is the absolute logical reductio of a government monopoly in health care: the ten month waiting list for the maternity ward.

1 comment:

  1. Tim, you make a good point that needs to be addressed. The current level of medical care in the US is due in large part because we are willing to lavishly compensate our health care givers and allow their top administrators to reap enormous profit. That is not the reason we need Universal Healthcare

    The reasons we need Universal Healthcare are threefold: First, we need to start providing healthcare in a manner that doesn't cause misery and heartache of a level that makes flying over the Rockies seem like a perk.

    Second, we need to stop spending lavishly on an industry that contributes nothing to the healthcare of the populace but through whom all healthcare must pass - the Insurance Industry.

    Third, if our businesses are going to compete globally we need to level the playing field and make their healthcare expenditures comparable to the world market.

    Thats why we need Universal Healthcare. Our current system looks like it was developed by sideshow con artists. We require that anyone who shows up at the ER be treated then we provide for the medical care in the least cost effective manner possible. The system breeds such pain and suffering with entire departments devoted to denying care and the attendant misery and death this causes.

    This is the opposite of enlightened governance it is the governance of sticking your head in the sand and pretending reality is not real. If you can solve these problems another way then by all means bring it on but don't lob grenades from the sidelines and pretend like you're contributing to a solution.