Thursday, June 28, 2007

Universal healthcare - a shiny bauble

Sure looks and sounds good on the surface. "Free" health care. For many of us without insurance, it's a tantilizing carrot dangled by all too many Dems in their latest march for universal health care in the USA.
However even me... sans insurance... can't support the notion of gov't subsidized medicine. It is nothing but a shiny bauble. A dazzling exterior masking a cheap plastic interior. As inviting as it sounds by concept, the implementation just ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Which brings us to Michael Moore's glorification of socialized medicine in his latest attempt at cinematic art and "truth"... "Sicko". As is usual for the agenda driven film director, the interviews are cherry picked in order to overall portray socialized medicine as the end all, be all solutions.
Problem is, Moore looks at the solution thru his own 60s mentality eyes. Today, countries with long standing universal health care policies are on the march to privatization to cure the overwhelming flaws in socialized medicine.
Below, from a WSJ editorial written by Dr. Gratzer, a practicing physician licensed in Canada and the U.S. and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute:
In Britain, the Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients wait more than a year for surgery. Around the time Mr. Moore was putting the finishing touches on his documentary, a hospital in Sutton Coldfield announced its new money-saving linen policy: Housekeeping will no longer change the bed sheets between patients, just turn them over. France's system failed so spectacularly in the summer heat of 2003 that 13,000 people died, largely of dehydration. Hospitals stopped answering the phones and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves.

With such problems, it's not surprising that people are looking for alternatives. Private clinics--some operating in a "gray zone" of the law--are now opening in Canada at a rate of about one per week.

Canadian doctors, once quiet on the issue of private health care, elected Brian Day as president of their national association. Dr. Day is a leading critic of Canadian medicare; he opened a private surgery hospital and then challenged the government to shut it down. "This is a country," Dr. Day said by way of explanation, "in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years."

Market reforms are catching on in Britain, too. For six decades, its socialist Labour Party scoffed at the very idea of private medicine, dismissing it as "Americanization." Today Labour favors privatization, promising to triple the number of private-sector surgical procedures provided within two years. The Labour government aspires to give patients a choice of four providers for surgeries, at least one of them private, and recently considered the contracting out of some primary-care services--perhaps even to American companies.

Other European countries follow this same path. In Sweden, after the latest privatizations, the government will contract out some 80% of Stockholm's primary care and 40% of total health services, including Stockholm's largest hospital. Beginning before the election of the new conservative chancellor, Germany enhanced insurance competition and turned state enterprises over to the private sector (including the majority of public hospitals). Even in Slovakia, a former Marxist country, privatizations are actively debated.
The trend reversal in the face of inadequacies on socialized health care countries certainly puts a damper on Moore's happy face on the subject. Or, as a Supreme Court of Canada in a 2005 decision puts it: "access to wait lists is not access to health care...". This as a ruling to Quebec laws that prohibited alternative private medicine and private health insurance.
But we're not blessed with a Congress who learns from - nae, even pays attention - to history. Instead they are a group of elitists - all with extraordinary health care - bent on worsening a situation by assuming control over American health care instead of paying more attentions to the factors driving the price of private care thru the roof. Can you say frivolous lawsuits? Attorneys?


TrekMedic251 said...

I'm planning a long discourse on Moore's "Sicko" in the near future, but I'll tell you this much: if you want to glimpse at the Hillary Model of Universal Health Care, try dealing with the VA Hospitals. It isn't the care that'll kill you, its the bureaucracy that will (or at least run up the bill on care)!

MataHarley said...

Anything gov't is always weighed down by red tape. Witness the infamous "Bush sent troops to war without Humvee armor" BS. Took Congress over 6 months to approve the appropriations, another 6-8 months to allocate, manuf and ship to Iraq.

Yep... if you want to do it slow and with the max incompetency, make it a Congressional design and gov't controlled.

Certainly the VA care/doctors are top quality. However with a universal healthcare system, the quality will diminish and advancements/discoveries will be curtailed. There will be little to no profit/funding for research. Which is why our technology and advanced techniques are among the leading in the world.

I swear... Congress is a bunch of short sighted, self absorbed, power hungry bozos! Shall I say what I *really* think?? LOL