So you want free healthcare?

For all of my American friends, when Canada is used as a shining example of the wonder of free, universal, socialized healthcare, please note that the facts are somewhat different. My wife mentioned a story to me about a couple whose baby was born prematurely in Hamilton, Canada. With no NICU beds anywhere in the province of Ontario, the baby had to be sent to Buffalo, NY.

Mark Steyn weighs in:

Well, it would be unreasonable to expect Hamilton, a city of half-a-million people just down the road from Canada’s largest city (Greater Toronto Area, 5.5 million) in the most densely populated part of Canada’s most populous province (Ontario, 13 million people) to be able to offer the same level of neonatal care as Buffalo, a post-industrial ruin in steep population decline for half a century.

Hot Air comments as well:

But why wasn’t there a NICU bed for the child in the entire nation of Canada?  The government of Canada won’t pay for more.  They don’t exist to expand supply to meet demand; their single-payer system exists to ration care as a cost-saving mechanism.  In a free-market system, supply expands to meet demand, which is why Canada could subcontract out to a US hospital for capacity.  Michael writes that paragraph as if it was mere luck that an NICU bed happened to be open in the US, but that’s a function of the system, and not luck.

Canada’s healthcare system is a series of waitlists. My wife had a car accident a year ago on July 16. She is still waiting to see an orthopedic specialist a year later. And the system isn’t free; he ambulance ride alone cost us $45 out of pocket. And she was charged $35 for a doctor visit because she had forgotten to renew her government-issued health insurance card. The other day she was charged $20 to renew a prescription. Small amounts to be sure, but they do add up.

On the other hand, care for illnesses such as heart attack and cancer are relatively good and won’t bankrupt you. But don’t let your elected representatives fool you. There are substantial problems with the Canadian system, and lack of beds is just one of them.

2 thoughts on “So you want free healthcare?

  1. The US system needs tweaking of some sort, no doubt. However, if you look at all the advances in medicine over the years they come almost always, from American institutions.

    Also a good part of the healthcare cost are spend on folks who are here and shouldnt be. I wont debate immigration but lets factor that in, and that is a critical factor in states like Texas.

    If money was no object, and you or a family member had a serious illness where would you want that treatment done? If you say anywhere other than the US you do not understand the term healthcare.
    Tweaking yes, nightmarish hell…no

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