*** A reblog from our sister site***

 

blue and silver stetoscope
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Dear Editor,

As it is now 2020, an election year, it is increasingly important that we examine the empty promises of aspiring politicians. The drive to socialize medicine under the friendly veneer of “free healthcare”. To witness the glories of government healthcare all you need to do is step foot in a VA hospital. The inefficiencies and low quality of care are painfully apparent.

However, our neighbors to the north in Canada have socialized medicine. Surely Canadian patients are receiving better care than we are in the United States!  Not so. Per the Fraser Institue, the median wait time to receive treatment from a specialist was 21.2 weeks in 2017. A 113 percent increase in the wait time for treatment in 1993. While there are many things that are admirably about Canada, their healthcare system isn’t one of them.

The increased interval of the wait times to receive treatment is one consideration that is largely ignored by the advocates of Universal healthcare. It looks great on paper but ultimately fails in implementation. I am only addressing the allocation of services, I am not even venturing into the challenges of funding such a massive program. A policy based upon good intentions, but that doesn’t mean it will work.

 

*** Published in the Casa Grande Dispatch***

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Universal Healthcare- Not All That it is Cracked Up to Be

  1. Here’s the rub. All market systems need a rationing mechanism. In Canada, it’s time; in the US, it’s money. Moreover, Canda (and all other ‘socialised’ health care systems in ‘modern’ countries) have better health outcomes for a fraction of the cost—in some cases, half. So, if I don’t have money (or insurance coverage), I suppose I’d rather wait than not receive care, which is the current US system. If I do seek emergency care, the cost will be higher and the delay may lead to a less treatable solution, so the waiting occurs in a different (and untracked) place.

    But addressed wait time specifically, referrals are triaged, so the people who are waiting have already been screened as lower priority patients. Also, many of these services are for elective care. They aren’t people who’ve just been dropped off by paramedics at the hospital doorstep.

    Saving the structure of the paragraph for last:

    It begins with ‘…Canadian patients are receiving better care than we are in the United States! Not so.’

    It continues with ‘…the median wait time to receive treatment from a specialist was 21.2 weeks’

    So, we’ve leapt from a claim about ‘better care’, never to be seen again because we’ve somehow transitioned to ‘wait times’. Whilst one could assume that ‘wait time’ is a dimension of ‘care’, but we have no idea what percentage of care this amounts to, whether it leads to worse outcomes, and whether (given the big picture) people even care very much about a couple of months wait for that botox treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair points.

      1. It is implied that “wait time” is a dimension of quality of care.

      2. Commonly service quality is partially assessed by the duration of “wait time”. For example, patrons complaining about “slow service” at a restaurant.

      3. This is intended to be submitted to the opinion page of a small local newspaper. Unfortunately, I can really elucidate my points any further (200 word limit).

      4. Isn’t it possible that some people may prefer to pay more upfront for more expedient treatment. Any publicly funded medical care would not be nimble enough to accommodate such a preference. Obviously, there are individuals that prefer the opposite.

      Ideally you want a system flexible enough to be able to accommodate the various intervals of patient time preference.

      5. Clearly in an emergency situation triage practices would eliminate this concern. However, there is still the possibility of delaying diagnosis of a chronic/terminal condition. Especially with cancer time is everything.

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      1. As any kid already understands intuitively, you’ve got a time-money tradeoff. This is evident in, say, digital piracy.

        Aside from aspects of legality, it takes time to find a decent copy of a new movie or game or book online, but many ‘starving students’ will choose to search online rather than buy a legal copy. Once engaged in a career that generates money, it’s often easier to spend the money to save time (and engage in the legal risk).

        Healthcare is no different, but for the many people without money, spending to maintain health is not an option. And if you look at personal bankruptcies in the US, you’ll see that around half of them are due to medical debt for people WITH insurance.

        Universal Single Payer is the best and fairest system. It is also cheaper to administer.

        As anyone with money knows, cash pay is always an option. Secondary coverage is also an option.

        Any system will have detractors and complainers, but if you look and participate in foreign healthcare systems, you’ll see that they are pretty much the same for the typical person, and most people outside the US think the US is nuts for being the ONLY post-industrial country not to have healthcare as a fundamental right. After all, how can one excercise freedom and a pursuit of happiness without decent health?

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