Here is a little YouTube clip of a Michael Moore like exposé of the Canadian healthcare system. Based on conversations with my colleagues and just being in the profession, I can tell you that this is an all too common situation. Many, many people in Canada needing rapid specialized care head south of the border and – horror of horrors – pay for it. This video makes the case that liberal Democrats in this country are trying to turn the U.S. healthcare system into a mirror of the Canadian one. I suspect that there are more than just liberal Democrats working to make it a reality. It will require help from the voters, who, unfortunately, are often driven by demagoguery. They will be told it’s free, and who wouldn’t want free anything, especially free health care. Problem is it’s not free. It has to be paid for. Instead of insurance and self-pay, the healthcare system will be funded by taxes. And instead of the taxes simply going to straight into healthcare, there will be a giant layer of bureaucracy that has to be funded before a penny gets to the actual hands-on, patient-treatment part of the system.
Once health care is ‘free’ it becomes an entitlement. Think about it. If you got anything free, then suddenly had to start paying for it, you would feel ill used. Here is an interview with a young woman who has apparently moved from Canada to the United States and has been confronted with paying for her health care. She is the definition of entitlement. You can almost see the sense of entitlement oozing from her every pore. She just can’t come to grip with the idea that she has to pay for medical treatment.
She has a slight grasp on the idea that the Canadian healthcare system is funded with taxes and even realizes the long-term problems existing within that system. But, her sense of entitlement is so great that she can’t get past it. She pretends that the problems don’t exist. She simply wants the free health care that she feels is her due. This is the mind set that will get us to nationalized medicine and the mindset that will never let it go.
This sense of entitlement is the real problem. We can’t ever give this system a try here just to see how it works because if we do, we will create millions of copies of the young woman in the interview who will never want to go back to the old way in which payment is required. Once this woman gets older and is confronted by health problems more serious than a sore throat that she can’t get treated in a timely fashion, she will discover the problems with ‘free’ health care, but it will be too late. And if there is no U.S. system such as there is today, where will she turn. Like the guy in the first video with the brain tumor, she will be dead before her turn for treatment comes around.
I find it really annoying when people gripe about paying $30 to have a doctor look in their mouth and treat them for a sore throat. They equate the time spent in the diagnostic process as the only expense involved. They don’t realize that the doctor has to pay rent on the office, has to pay for front office people and nurses, has to pay for malpractice insurance, has to pay for all kinds of insurance, for that matter, has to pay for the paper on the exam tables, has to pay for the tongue depressors, has to pay for the little disposable covers for the otoscope (the thing used to look in ears, which I’m sure was used along with the tongue depressor), has to pay to have the office cleaned, has to pay to keep his medical license current, etc. Plus the doctor had to pay to put in the long hours of medical education to able to look in the patient’s throat and make an intelligent diagnosis to be able to properly treat. All of this is amortized in the office fee; the doctor doesn’t simply trouser the $30. Ignorant people simply see the 10 minutes it takes for the exam and equate that with the cost.
I just took a friend to get his car fixed. The mechanic (who also happens to own the shop and is a friend of mine) showed us how he works. He took a plug-in device, inserted it into a plug underneath the dash, turned on the little computer attached to the other end, and got a code on the screen. He took that code, put it in his computer, and got a read out of the problem. It was a faulty oxygen sensor in the left bank of sensors. More specifically it was a sensor that read the amount of oxygen in the left exhaust outlet and used that reading to regulate the fuel mixture going into the engine. He ordered the part, installed it, and gave my friend a bill for $158. My friend didn’t bat an eye.
I’m sure that Canadians have the same thing happen to them routinely, and they pay without thinking about it. But if suddenly car repairs were free and paid for by the government, how long do you think it would take them to react with outrage if they got a bill for fixing their cars? And how long do you think they would have to wait to get their cars fixed?
I hope that everyone thinks long and hard about all the repercussions of a vote to change the system we have now in the United States. The U.S. healthcare system reminds me of Winston Churchill’s remark about our form of government:
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
But Mr. Churchill made another comment about democracy that is sadly all too true:
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of average voters out there. Most won’t remember the passport fiasco and apply the lessons there of government control in an emergency situation.