A Cynical Look on Universal Healthcare Part 2

Universal Health Care (UHC), or socialized health care, some may say, is viable. They could point to countries like Canada and Sweden. I, however, must say that it isn't viable at all. I'm going to use countries like Canada and Sweden, mostly Canada, to disprove the myth that UHC can work.

Yes, I realize that it is possible to opt out of public care. My post is on public care, however, because that is what is recognized as UHC.

In both those countries the wait for medical procedures is far too long for real emergency surgeries, like removing a potentially deadly brain tumor. This wait is prohibitive because UHC guarantees health care to everyone. Since the health care guarantee is there, people can go to doctors for everything from a stubbed toe to a runny nose. Obviously all this essentially meaningless work for the doctors ensures a longer wait for those who actually have problems. Waiting for a potentially deadly illness to be diagnosed because Timmy has a runny nose is something that nobody desires, but UHC promotes.

Canadian health care has a fundamental, to steal Barack Obama's favorite word, problem. Everyone gets health care. That, you may say, is a good thing. It's not. If everyone gets health care, then there must be enough supply to satisfy everyone. There is the problem. The demand is infinite, while the supply is not. Therefore there are dangerous waits, sub-optimal access, and an overarching lack of competition, which causes lack of development. While Canadians enjoy care, they get to wait for it.

Canadians also do not have access to the best doctors in the world in their health care system. The system inherently encourages the best doctors, surgeons, nurses, janitors, and everyone with any possibility to make more money elsewhere, to leave. Therefore, Canadians enjoy mediocre health care with long waits. Do the the fact that a system which forces some people to wait over a year for surgeries, has understaffed emergency rooms leaving patients lying on gurneys, and has doctors and patients opting out of it. It's easy to cynically conclude that Canada does not, in fact, have a great health care system.

1 comment:

godelleb said...

Interesting...I wonder how the money gets into the system.