Another leftist paradise exposed

What is the single thing about our neighbor to the north of which its citizens are most proud, and which, in their minds, most sets it off from our own backward and benighted country? National Health.

It is reported today that the Premier of Newfoundland, Danny Williams, is going to have heart surgery, and that the surgery is going to be performed in our backward and benighted country. Could the fact that Williams believes that he can get better care in the U.S. than in Canada have something to do with the fact that the U.S. does not enjoy the blessings of National Health?

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Alan M. writes:

This story hits close to home. My uncle had a heart issue and had surgery in Newfoundland. He was in his early 70s but didn’t survive the surgery. I can’t imagine what my aunt is thinking right now on hearing this news.

James N. writes:

Of course it’s not as good as ours, but it is more “equal”. The key to understanding all medical systems that place “equality” as the #1 priority is that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

In this case, the politician apparently has some type of insurance not available to commoners which will cover his care in the USA. Canadian politicians who stay home are treated in a special network of National Defense Hospitals not available to the public.

I gave a lecture in Bratislava in 1991, after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The hospital, which was attached to the medical school, was filthy and outmoded. Afterwards, they took me to the cancer hospital, which was brand new and built to American standards. When I asked why the difference, they told me that until 1989 the “cancer” hospital was a general hospital for party and government officials.

This is always the case, and it makes one wonder what special accommodations OUR politicians will create for themselves if they get their way and pass health care for all—assuredly, for all except them.

James N. writes:

How well these systems can work depends to a degree on how the users feel about equality.

In 1976, I was living in England and working at a big NHS hospital. My landlady came to me in March with a lump in her neck. Rock hard. Even at a young age, I was sure it was cancer.

Her GP had arranged an appointment with the specialist at my hospital—for October!

It so happened that I was working in that very department, for that very specialist. “Come with me tomorrow”, I said, “and I’ll get you right in”

She drew back as if I had slapped her. “Oh, NO! That wouldn’t be right!”

If your people would rather die than embrace unequal allocation of resources, nationalized health care can possibly be made to work.

LA replies:

I’m reeling from this e-mail. It hits with a double punch. First we find out that the doctor had given a patient with an obvious cancer an appointment six months in the future. Second we find out that the woman who is being treated in this inconceivable, inhuman manner doesn’t mind. She doesn’t want to make a fuss.

We thus see how the pacific qualities of the English fed the socialism, and how the socialism in turn exacerbated their pacific qualities. No wonder they don’t protest the rampant savage crime on their streets, the slap-on-the-wrist sentences for extreme predators, the government admitting into the country and subsidizing Muslims who openly declare their aim to destroy Britain. The combination of the Brits’ naturally pacific temper, with the socialism, with the religion of tolerance, has turned them into a nation of cowards whose only purpose in life is to allow themselves to be walked over and crushed.

Winston Smith writes:

James N. is wrong. Comparisons between Canada and the Soviet Union are misplaced. [LA replies: I don’t see any such comparison in this thread.] Danny Williams does not have “some type of insurance not available to commoners which will cover his care in the USA.” Danny Williams is a very wealthy man, so much so that he does not draw a salary for being Premier. He will pay the fee out of pocket.

Of course, the very best care can be found in the US, as it’s a leader in a great many things. [LA replies: I see. And is America’s leadership in many things entirely unrelated to its much greater degree of freedom as compared with the other, statist societies of the modern West? If America had adopted National Health and had nationalized its major industries in the late 1940s, would it be today the leader in medicine and other fields that it is? Or would it be the demoralized country that Britain is, or the non-country that Canada is? Your argument is a typical liberal argument in that you assume and you value the existence of a good which would not exist if your own ideas were in charge. You want that good to exist, so that you and Danny Williams can access it. But when people point out one of the underlying conditions of that good, namely freedom,—freedom of entrepreneurship, of invention, of the profit motive—you claim that there is no difference between a society that has more of those freedoms and a society that has less.] I suspect that Williams wants the very best care in the world. As, I presume, many rich people from all over the world do—even some from countries where you can buy all the medical care you want.

While I’m sorry for Alan M’s loss, I think it too much a stretch to blame “socialized medicine” for a 70 something man dying from heart surgery. And why assume he’d get the Danny Williams treatment anyway? Was he as rich as Williams? Or does the American system make doctors better at all price levels?

Did you see this article about US citizens going to Mexico for health care?

Should we now conclude the Mexican system is better than the American? Perhaps. Or we could refrain form making too much of an issue out of what a few people do. [LA replies: Defenders of National Health always reject anecdotes of Canadian care versus American care, as though anecdotes told us nothing about the relative quality of the respective medical care systems. But those anecdotes are an important indicator of reality.]

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Peter G. writes:

If you ever wanted a canonical demonstration of the immorality of socialism, Canadian health care is it. This is a system that knowningly, deliberately causes rationing by restricting the supply of health care professionals. Instead of allowing a natural market respond to demand, it imposes constraints based on its limited market knowledge and concerns.

To understand how systemic the issues are, it’s an ongoing battle to get the provincial medical associations to press for an increase in seats at state funded universities. In the largest province the OMA actually recommended cutting the enrollment in the early nineties which has led to a shortage crisis in Ontario. With over one hundred thousand immigrants coming to the Toronto area every year, the problem is virtually unresolvable.

So here we have the state, by its interference in defining the natural cost/price of services, requiring that its citizens die waiting for “free” health care. It borders on evil, as the only rational available to the state is preferring the death of its citizens as means to avoid costs. We actually pay just a much in premiums through hidden taxes as Americans except we have virtually no right of legal recourse for malpractice and wait eight to ten times as long for treatment. It’s all about control.

I keep asking Canadians what part of the system is not for profit. I don’t think suppliers are giving us a good intention discount.

LA replies:

“So here we have the state … requiring that its citizens die waiting for “free” health care.

It sounds like a highway of diamonds with nobody on it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 02, 2010 03:25 PM | Send

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