Michael Moore’s latest movie “SiCKO” sings the praises of the Canadian “single-payer” socialized medical system. Some Americans want a similar system implemented in the
First, it is ludicrous to think the system is free. Each citizen is forced to pay for his neighbors’ medical care in the form of high taxes. (As a percentage of GDP, total taxation is 28 percent higher in
Even worse, in the name of “equal access” the government generally forbids patients from purchasing medical services outside of its system. Canadian law makes it difficult or impossible for citizens to spend their own honestly earned money on medically necessary care for themselves or their loved ones, even when both the doctor and the patient are willing.
To control costs, the government restricts access to crucial medical services via infamous waiting lists. This imposes a second, hidden, cost on patients: their time.
According to the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, “Canadian doctors say patients wait almost twice as long for treatment than is clinically reasonable, . . . almost 18 weeks between the time they see their family physician and the time they receive treatment from a specialist.”
Because of the waiting lists, mortality rates for treatable conditions such as breast cancer and prostate cancer are significantly higher in
This tax on time is especially cruel because the burden falls hardest on the sickest patients, i.e., those with the least time to spare.
Consequently, Canadian patients routinely suffer and die while waiting for their “free” health care. The
To guarantee “free” health care, a government must force the individual to pay for everyone else’s medical care and limit his freedom to pay voluntarily for his own. With bureaucrats deciding who receives what, the individual is therefore forbidden from spending his money according to his own rational judgment (and the advice of his doctors) as to what’s best for his health. When a government forces people to act against their own interests, it’s no surprise that the results are misery and death.
Fortunately, Canadians are starting to recognize the problems inherent in “single-payer” health care and are taking very small steps towards limited private medicine.