Those niggling little facts about government health care Posted by: McQ
on Monday, July 30, 2007
Michael Moore's SICKO celebrates the Canadian Health Care system. David Gratzer, a Canadian, doesn't. And he's taken the time and effort to get a real inside look at the system.
What he has discovered is something we've touched on any number of times. Rationing. Why? Because the intent of government health care is to do what?
Reduce the cost. And there are only so many ways you can do that, aren't there.
My book’s thesis was simple: to contain rising costs, government-run health-care systems invariably restrict the health-care supply. Thus, at a time when Canada’s population was aging and needed more care, not less, cost-crunching bureaucrats had reduced the size of medical school classes, shuttered hospitals, and capped physician fees, resulting in hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for needed treatment—patients who suffered and, in some cases, died from the delays.
The delays are how you meet a health care budget. And they are the inevitable health care rationing system where budgets run the show. And they certainly do run the show in Canada. And the UK. And France. The results are predictable:
Nor were the problems I identified unique to Canada—they characterized all government-run health-care systems. Consider the recent British controversy over a cancer patient who tried to get an appointment with a specialist, only to have it canceled—48 times. More than 1 million Britons must wait for some type of care, with 200,000 in line for longer than six months. A while back, I toured a public hospital in Washington, D.C., with Tim Evans, a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe. The hospital was dark and dingy, but Evans observed that it was cleaner than anything in his native England. In France, the supply of doctors is so limited that during an August 2003 heat wave—when many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were stretched beyond capacity—15,000 elderly citizens died. Across Europe, state-of-the-art drugs aren’t available. And so on.
And because of that, Gratzer says countries with government run health care are looking to the, wait for it, private sector to bail them out.
This privatizing trend is reaching Europe, too. Britain’s government-run health care dates back to the 1940s. Yet the Labour Party—which originally created the National Health Service and used to bristle at the suggestion of private medicine, dismissing it as “Americanization”—now openly favors privatization. Sir William Wells, a senior British health official, recently said: “The big trouble with a state monopoly is that it builds in massive inefficiencies and inward-looking culture.”
You don't say? And yet the irony is, we're considering building what is failing everywhere else. Oh, yeah, I know, it's failing everywhere else because the right people in the right government aren't running it, correct?
Read the whole thing and then consider the designs the likes of Obama, Edwards, et. al, have on your future health care.
meh. We already have a quasi-socialized health care system. We ration both on the demand side, by denying those without the ability to pay access to any part of the system except the emergency room and on the supply side by imposing high barriers to entry into the profession.
I don’t have a philosophical preference for any particular system. But I can see that the system we have — whereby profitable patients are captured by private insurance and unprofitable ones socialized — is irrational.
Gratzer seems to think that the medical system needs a dose of capitalism. He may be right, but he’s going to have a hell of a time persuading people that care should be denied due to inability to pay.
Anybody interested in Gratzer’s article would probably also want to watch Stuart Browning’s short videos at freemarketcure.com. The three pertaining specifically to the plight of Canadian patients — Two Women, The Lemon, and Brain Surgery — all make the concept and human cost of government rationing horrifyingly clear.
Imagine needing surgery and having the surgeon put you on a waiting list nearly three years long because he’s only allowed to do twelve of the operations a year. Or being forbidden to pay out of your own pocket to secure timely treatment for life-threatening illness. You just have to wait in the government-created line and if you die, well at least you didn’t jump in front of some other poor schmuck suffering from the same government-created (and enforced) shortage.
Francis mentions care denied due to inability to pay (which doesn’t tally with what I see, BTW), but watch any of Browning’s videos and ponder whether care denied (or preposterously, dangerously postponed), period, is really preferable.
And never seems to offer anything other than ’there are problems now, so let the government control it to make it better’
We already have a quasi-socialized health care system
We have a quasi socialist system that has issues. Those issue are caused by the government. You think that the government will make it better. The point of this post, and many others, is to say, the government is the cause, not the cure.
Those issue are caused by the government. You think that the government will make it better.
This is a simplistic statement, and false.
Some governemnt healthcare has serious issues (Medicare), some government healthcare works very well (Federal Employees health plan).
There are reasons why ANY community health plan is going to have problems, most of them pointed out by opponents of ANY government health plan. But to say that a plan MUST be bad because it’s government is just a reactionary cliche. Further, by recognizing the reality of the concerns of opponents, and doing the best to address them, a system that is a vast improvement on the current system could be implemented.
meagain — the problem is not the government; the problem is the people. A very large majority of Americans do not want a "market" in health care.
I put "market" in quotes because the delivery of health care has few characteristics of the classic market taught in microeconomics 102. Annual demand is zero to a few hundred bucks for many years of life for many people, coupled with incredibly high costs rarely. This leads to risk pooling (which has some but not all features of classic insurance). Agents hired by the risk pool negotiate prices with the providers, so providers virtually never compete on price. As applied, pricing outside the risk pool is like airline seat pricing — utterly incoherent.
Also, the bottom of the market is badly distorted because the people won’t let anyone go without basic care.
Also, because there are still some shreds of federalism left in our system of government, different states impose different regulations on risk pools.
My solution — mandatory participation. Each state turns its medicare / medicaid and VA programs and facilities over to a non-profit overseen by the Governor, doctors and insurers with the direction to form three pools: low cost, high deductible, high cost. Policies are paid concurrently with income taxes. Opting out allowed, but only on certification by qualified insurer that claims will be covered. Each state can then fight over what care each pool covers and how to price elder care. Private insurers can see if they can compete on price and/or service.
Ain’t perfect, but I think it’s a start.
Don’t want mandatory participation? Figure out a way to persuade doctors, hospitals, nurses and ERs to LET YOU DIE when you are semi-lucid and broke.