Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Health Care

Reuters is really surprising me. Another honest story!

Canada's once-proud public health system in crisis
OTTAWA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Canada often boasts its universal health care program shows it is more caring than the United States, but the system is creaking alarmingly, with long wait lists for treatment, and shortages of cash and doctors.

And far from criticizing the United States, some people are choosing to go south of the border to pay for operations in private hospitals -- institutions that are forbidden in Canada by the law that set up the publicly funded system.

...waiting time for treatment in 2003 rose to 17.7 weeks from 16.5 weeks in 2002. "This grim portrait is the legacy of a medical system offering low expectations cloaked in lofty rhetoric," the study said, criticizing the fact that governments and not doctors are responsible for allocating resources. Some delays are much longer. Patients in Ontario who require major knee surgery can wait six months to see a specialist and then another 18 months for surgery.
What's the answer? Who knows?

Clearly, on the one hand, price controls imposed by a governmental system sap innovation and lead to rationing of scarce resources.

But on the other hand, guaranteed payments in a free-market will lead to prices rising without bound.

Perhaps the goal should be just for truly catastrophic coverage. But mission creep will surely set in. Next, people will say we'd save more (Aha! Once the public gets involved, it becomes about costs!) to add on preventative medicine coverage. But then we'd surely get busy-bodies saying, well, if we're going to all be paying for someone else's poor health decisions, shouldn't we be able to require that people eat the way we want them to eat, and exercise the way we demand they exercise?

It immediately becomes about control.

Lawsuits against fast food companies have already begun. The House has passed (over Democrat objections) a bill to squelch such frivolous suits, but the Senate has not yet taken it up.

I don't want to be taxed for not having an acceptable Body Mass Index!


Blogger Elizabeth Raventail said...

That is the trick. How do you keep everyone healthy and happy, and yet not let anything get out of hand? Long wait lines could potentially result in conditions that could have been prevented; private institutions require Health Care that frequently doesn't like paying the costs of treatment. And there's no way to really find an honest, reliable, and lasting middle ground in this...
Is there really a solution? Or do we just have to find a way to ban death and disease and old age in order to figure this out? There really seems to be no definite answer.

1:19 AM, September 16, 2004  

Post a Comment

<< Home