Friday, February 29, 2008

A Canadian's View of Canadian Healthcare

I know I am a bit slow, but I finally got around to reading last month's Imprimis, which featured a great article by Mark Steyn, a Canadian citizen and columnist. Here's his view on Canadian healthcare, lest Americans be fooled by certain politicians claiming all will be well when we have the same system here...

"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. "

Can you tell I don't think socialized medicine is a good idea? I came to this conclusion years ago when we were stationed in Germany. I got a double whammy on it... Firstly, I got to see a military wife and friend go through horrible problems related to a botched operation performed in the German system.

Secondly, I saw an American version of socialized medicine in a little microcosm of the military medical system provided for the military families while over there. All the base services were provided free-of-charge to the military families... you had to report for "sick call" if you wanted to see a doctor for any reason (much like the illegal aliens who use the hospital emergency rooms for their primary health care). Since it didn't cost anything, people were lined up there waiting for the most unbelievably minor things. If it had even cost a co-pay of $5, they would, perhaps, have thought twice about wasting their own and a doctor's time going in for their minor ailment...

Anything that is "free" seemingly has no value...

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