National Health Care = Lower Health Care Standards
As the old saying goes, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" -- and that is certainly true for national health care systems.
Sen. Barack Hussein Obama supports the Canadian-style "single payer" system for national health care in the United States. That system is not voluntary, it is mandatory. The Canadian system, like government health care systems in general, is vastly inferior to the current free-market system in the United States. Yes, it appears to be less expensive to the patient. Some might even call it "free," but we all know that it is not free in any sense of the word. There are really only two ways in which government health care systems differ from free market-based systems: (1) the services are paid for differently but ultimately by the people, and, (2) government paid institutional systems are far inferior to market-based systems.
It has been suggested (and with good reason) that the greatest opponents of a US national health care system are Canadiens because they will then have no place to go to receive timely, quality health care!
What are the most important aspects of health care? First, care must be timely. If the finest care could be provided by a national system, but it was necessary to wait many months to receive treatment, many patients would either die or suffer needlessly before receiving treatment. Private systems are always available and, if one service is too busy to provide prompt attention, there are always other alternatives for obtaining treatment. Such freedom of choice is banished from government health care systems, and the only recourse is to leave the country in the hopes of finding some place where timely quality care can be received. Few can afford that luxury.
The second major advantage of private health care is that it is competitive in nature. The best care will yield the best reputation for services and will attract better staff and more patients. Costs often reflect reputation and competence, but even the lowest cost services in a free market system provide a high standard of care. Waiting times are vastly superior in a market-based system than with non-competitive national health care systems.
It would be fair to state that in many, many cases, health care delayed is health care denied.
Consider these recent news stories from the United Kingdom. The first was seen in the Minehead News-Trader (north Somerset coast):
Waiting Times Down
New figures show that waiting times are down at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
For each of the last four months, more than 90 per cent of patients who need to stay in hospital and more than 95 per cent of those whose treatment is complete without a hospital stay are being seen and treated within 18 weeks.
This has been achieved well ahead of the target date of December this year.
Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State for Health Services and Minister for the South West, said: "This is wonderful news for the people of Taunton and the surrounding area.
"Ten years ago it was not uncommon to wait 18 months or more for treatment and people died languishing on waiting lists.
"To meet the 18-week target is a fantastic achievement by local NHS staff and local and regional management."
Director of operations at Musgrove Park Hospital, Jon Scott, said: "We know that patients do not want to be kept waiting, and our medical, nursing and administrative staff have done a simply superb job in reducing waiting times to this extent.
"We are now planning to further reduce waits."
There are a few observations from this report. First, it took ten years to reduce waiting times to below 18 weeks (that's four months). Second, 10% of patients requiring a hospital stay and 5% of patients not requiring hospitalization are still not being seen within 18 weeks.
Then there is this report seen June 1, 2008 in The Sunday Telegraph:
Patients neglected to hit NHS targets, say doctors
Sick patients are being sent home from hospitals because of pressure to meet NHS targets, doctors will warn this week.
The British Medical Association says patients are being discharged from accident and emergency departments before they have been properly treated so that hospitals do not miss a Government diktat to either find them a bed within four hours or discharge them.
It will also warn that people needing urgent surgery are being forced to endure agonising waits rather than receive treatment ahead of more routein cases because if they are fast-tracked, hospitals could miss a second target, which is to treat all patients referred by a GP within 18 weeks.
Surgeons say desperate efforts so hit the target, which they must meet by December, mean they cannot prioritise the most pressing cases, meaning many patients are suffering because they are forced to the back of the queue. The criticism comes as figures were published showing a sharp rise in the number of operations begin cancelled.
Almost 17,000 operations were cancelled in the first quarter of this year -- twice as many as the same period last year -- leading the Liberal Democrts to warn that difficult cases are "falling by the wayside" in the rush to carry out the bulk of surgery by the deadline. This week's annual BMA consultants conference will see six separate communittees attacking the "target culture" within the health service shich some fear will be intensified by a Government NHS review.
There is much more in the article, but you get the gist of it from the above. One interesting sidebar included a link to a poll question, "Will the 18-week target improve the NHS?"
Nothing could highlight the dangers of a national health system than the experiences of those who are forced to live with one.
You've been forewarned. National health care systems do not work! It is a pipe-dream to think otherwise and simply denies reality. It may make a vote-getting campaign position, but at what cost to the nation's health?
The notion that bureaucrats in the US could get it any better than Canadians or British is a delusion.
There is simply no rationale for scrapping the best health care system on the planet in order to "help" a small minority of patients who cannot afford their care. Most states have aggressive programs to provide charity care through the existing system. In the cases where there is a true need it would be far better to consider a welfare program to provide such care for the needy without destroying everyone else's system.
Demand common sense from those who seek your vote in November. Don't be played for a fool.
Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.