Free Markets, Free People

Government Run Health Care – “Anecdotal” or Indicators of a Systemic Problem?

A couple of quick examples of real world problems with government run health care. South Africa:

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has issued an ultimatum to striking doctors, calling on them to return to work on Friday or face the music.

Addressing the media in Durban on Friday, Dhlomo said notices had been sent to all hospitals calling on all striking doctors, dentists and pharmacists to resume their duties no later than 08:00.

The department was also preparing a court interdict to force the striking health professionals to end the strike, he said.

“We as the department of health are designated as an essential service provider and therefore find the action of these health professionals [is] disrupting service delivery and compromising patients’ lives,” said Dhlomo.

He said the department had been more than reasonable in dealing with the unprotected strike.

“This situation is untenable, we cannot continue to put the lives of our people in danger and the government will act,” he said.

Dhlomo said people had died due to the unavailability of doctors, although he was unable give the number of people who died as a result of the strike.

A recent example you’re probably more familiar with from Canada:

A critically ill premature baby is moved to a U.S hospital to get the treatment she couldn’t get in the system we’re told we should emulate. Cost-effective care? In Canada, as elsewhere, you get what you pay for.

Ava Isabella Stinson was born last Thursday at St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Weighing only two pounds, she was born 13 weeks premature and needed some very special care. Unfortunately, there were no open neonatal intensive care beds for her at St. Joseph’s — or anywhere else in the entire province of Ontario, it seems.

Canada’s perfectly planned and cost-effective system had no room at the inn for Ava, who of necessity had to be sent across the border to a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital to suffer under our chaotic and costly system. She had no time to be put on a Canadian waiting list. She got the care she needed at an American hospital under a system President Obama has labeled “unsustainable.”

And this one:

In 2007, a Canadian woman gave birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets — Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia Jepps. They were born in the United States to Canadian parents because there was again no space available at any Canadian neonatal care unit. All they had was a wing and a prayer.

The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician flew from Calgary, a city of a million people, 325 miles to Benefit Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., a city of 56,000.

Great Falls was better equipped to handle their case than was Calgary? People like to dismiss these as “anecdotal”, but they continue to describe a system in which decisions have been made that end up endangering the lives of children. It is inevitable when the primary focus of “reform” is “lowering cost”.

Doctor’s strikes. Limited if not completely unavailable neo-natal care. The refusal of the system, based on cost concerns only, to provide certain care that places the lives of those on the margin in jeopardy.

Is that what we have to look forward too?


[HT: Micaela S]

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5 Responses to Government Run Health Care – “Anecdotal” or Indicators of a Systemic Problem?

  • And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect. Canada’s system can sometimes provide for the birth of sextuplets, but woe unto you if the state decrees it knows better what your children need:

    It goes without saying that if the family were Muslim, the least of their religious beliefs would have been vehemently protected.

  • The thing about defenders of nationalized health care waving away criticism as “anecdotal evidence” is that… that’s how they pitch the plan in the first place. Yahoo! News had a photo this morning at The Annointed One hugging a woman (oh, what joy and orgasms must have been her’s, eh?) who apparently can’t get health insurance because she suffers from kidney cancer.

    “President Barack Obama wanted to put a human face on his plans to overhaul health care, and a Virginia supporter did just that Wednesday. Fighting back tears, Debby Smith, 53, told Obama of her kidney cancer and her inability to obtain health insurance or hold a job.”

    What’s the difference between “anecdotal evidence” and “putting a human face” on an issue?

    Perspective, I guess.

    • That woman was such a plant. She was a volunteer for Obama’s campaign, but most Americans are gullible enough to believe she happened to be there.
      Let’s see: she was executor of her father’s estate in 1998 (1999?) and didn’t want to get “tied up” having a kidney removed. It wasn’t because she feared life with just one kidney, it was that removing a kidney didn’t fit with her schedule.
      The radiation supposedly has left her unable to work, yet many people undergo chemotherapy (and kidney removals) and still work. And she still, somehow, found the inner strength to volunteer for Obama’s campaign.
      So now the bitch wants us the taxpayers to take care of her, all because life is just too damn inconvenient for her. To hell with her. To hell with all of these state-worshippers.

  • “The thing about defenders of nationalized health care waving away criticism as “anecdotal evidence” is that… that’s how they pitch the plan in the first place.”

    Yes, that’s it exactly. And that’s not just with health care. Catch them doing the same thing with global warming.

    Also, the continuous chant about how “the health care system is broken,” “the costs continue to rise,” “blah, blah, blah.”

    Start with the mass of regulation and government interference in every aspect of the health care industry. Move on to the prohibitive cost of entering the industry at any level because of it: drug development, hospital care, nursing, medical doctors, emergency service, etc. That leads to a lack of competition. Prices skyrocket, for care and for insurance at both ends–to ensure the work and to ensure the patient.


    What will government do to improve what government has caused?

    Ration care and kill people and then say “we have to have our priorities straight.”

    Postal workers with proctoscopes. A truly Jacksonian medical system. (Yes, don’t expect it to be as good as the notorious Canadian and British systems. It will be far worse here. And far more brutal.)

    Every hospital a VA hospital.

  • And let’s put a stake in that nonsense slogan that “anecdotes are not data”.
    Each anecdote is a data point. One, two, a dozen may be outliers, or skewed. However, when the data points are numerous enough, and cluster around a point on the graph, they become conclusive. We passed that point with socialized medicine long ago.