Universal Health Care

Health care has been a big topic of late and I wrote such a detailed comment over at dB’s MedRants that I decided to make it a post. The first part is in response to a commenter saying that Canadians live longer than Americans:

Regarding the contention — OK, fact — that Canadians live two years longer than Americans and have a single-payer health system, that doesn’t necessarily establish causality between the two. Show me a detailed regression analysis that takes into account the different cultures, draconian drug laws — which breed violence — and other issues and then I’ll think that statistic worthy of consideration. Until then, it lacks causality and context and therefore is irrelevant.

Our system does need to be fixed and it needs to be done in a way that promotes the most good for the most people. To me that means a functioning market, which we do not have, nor do we have anybody advocating for one.

The Democrats want socialized medicine of some variety and the Republicans want managed care. Both are a way of tormenting doctors and patients.

Those who advocate for single-payer medicine would be wise to consider the British experiment: after unceremoniously dumping Churchill and his ideas after WW2 they adopted single-payer in the late 1940’s. Around 1960 — curious how that roughly coincides with the length of time it takes to become a doctor, if you include residency — they were screaming about a “brain drain” where their best doctors were going to the U.S. to practice and enrollments were down in med school.

Who would want to work in an industry where there is only one employer? And don’t give me the “it isn’t socialism because the government doesn’t own the means of production” argument. It doesn’t matter. If there’s only one purchaser of health care — the government — there’s scarcely a difference. The government has the cash and calls the shots. Any difference between that and socialism is semantics.

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