Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Democrats: Health Care Disaster Looming

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” - Obama

"The smell of urine and sweat." (Dr. David Gratzer)

[Note: On my stevemaloneygop blog yesterday I reprinted Cristi Adkins' remarkable essay on "Obamamania," what it is -- and how to stop it. Later tonight -- Wednesday -- I'll reprint part II of the health care peice. Please boomark and return. Thanks.]

You may have heard from Democrats during the primaries what a great plan they have for universal health care. They generally compared US health care unfavorably with the national health plans in countries like Canada, Great Britain, and Germany. The last things they wanted you to know about were the deficiencies of a government-dominated health care systems.

The following material is from David Gratzer's book The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care. Gratzer is a medical doctor certified in both Canada and the US and currently works and writes in New York City. His book is a compelling read.

In it he says, "In medical school, I learned my most important lesson not in a classroom, but on the way to one. On a cold Canadian morning about a decade ago, late for a class, I cut through a hospital emergency room and came upon dozens of people on stretchers -- waiting, moaning, begging for treatment. Some elderly patients had waited for up to five days in corridors before being admitted to beds. They smelled of urine and sweat. As I navigated past the bodies, I began to question everything I thought I knew about health care -- not only in Canada, but also in the United States. Thought I didn't know it then, I had begun a journey into the heart of one of the great policy disasters of modern times."

Gratzer points out that he had grown up in Canada believing its "system was better than America's, with its uneven quality and absurdly high cost."

After he entered medical school, however, his view of Canada's universal health care began to change. He says, "The more I was exposed to the system, the more familiar I became with the shortcomings of government-run health care. I trained in emergency rooms that were chronically, chaotically, dangerously overcrowded, not only in my hometown of Winnipeg, but all across Canada. I met a middle-aged man with sleep problems who was booked for an appointment with a specialist three years later; a man with pain following a simple hernia repair who was referred to a pain clinic with a two-year wait list; a woman with breast cancer who was asked to wait four more months before starting the life-saving radiation therapy. According to the government's own statistics, some 1.2 million Canadians couldn't get a family doctor."

What would I recommend to John McCain and other GOP candidates? Please read the above material verbatim to audiences who might have been attracted to the Democrats' false promise of "free health care." In this life, alas, nothing is free. Everything comes at a cost. one that, in this case, is much too high.

Later tonight (Wednesday) I'll put up more material about health care and the terrible pitfalls of so-called "Universal Coverage." I don't mean to suggest that there aren't some serious problems with health care in America, because there are. But the difficulties exist mainly because of flawed government policies related to the tax code. Those bad policies result in a health system that exists in a nether-world between capitalism and socialism, with the result that coverage is not affordable -- or readily available -- for many people. The Democrats' proposals would make a flawed system much worse. Everything in life reflects the principles of supply and demand, iincluding health care. Disastrously, the Democrats want to increase the demand for health care (needed AND unneeded) without increasing the supply of QUALITY care. The result is going to be higher prices followed quickly by poorer service, just as happened in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and elsewhere.

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