Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Canadians see the light and begin to dismantle Socialized Medicine

In today's New York Times we find this article (free registration required). What used to be the "third rail" of Canadian politics has been disconnected from the power line and is being ripped up. I speak of the National Socialized medical infrastructure. It is still illegal to accept payment for Medical services, but nobody seems to care. Private clinics are opening all across the frozen wasteland of the north. Possibly as many as one a week. Private medical insurance is not far behind. Public hospitals are referring patients right and left to these private clinics and hospitals because they cannot service the patients fast enough.

But most Canadians agree that current wait times are not acceptable.

The median wait time between a referral by a family doctor and an appointment with a specialist has increased to 8.3 weeks last year from 3.7 weeks in 1993, according to a recent study by The Fraser Institute, a conservative research group. Meanwhile the median wait between appointment with a specialist and treatment has increased to 9.4 weeks from 5.6 weeks over the same period.

Average wait times between referral by a family doctor and treatment range from 5.5 weeks for oncology to 40 weeks for orthopedic surgery, according to the study.

Last December, provincial health ministers unveiled new targets for cutting wait times, including four weeks for radiation therapy for cancer patients beginning when doctors consider them ready for treatment and 26 weeks for hip replacements.

But few experts think that will stop the trend toward privatization.

No wonder the Canadians are rejecting the status quo, they think waiting a month to start radiation treatment is acceptable! And almost a year for a hip replacement!

I am heartened to hear that Canadians are waking up from thier flirt with the mental illness that is socialism.


Blogger Pigilito said...

Sort of on-topic: I recently spoke to a couple of retired Brits who told me that so many NHS doctors are opting out of the system that the whole thing is near collapse. Like the Canucks, the doctors are switching over to private clinics.

Only by importing foreign-trained physicians (often from the third world) can they keep providing some level of care.

March 07, 2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger Eric Berger said...

It's a very nice ideal to provide great health care for everyone. Who could be against that?

But at some point, if you want the best doctors and timely service, you should have to pay for it. If not, what would the incentive be for health care providers?

Interesting post.


March 08, 2006 12:11 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Which begs two questions. first off, If third world doctors (Indian, Pakistani, Philipino, etc.) are educated as well as third world engineers such as the ones I've worked with in the past, I'd bet the mortality rate of thier patients are phenominal.

Secondly, since the level of care available in those countries is so low, does that mean that they cannot see how poor the NHS level of care is? do they instead see it as wonderful by comparison whereas the patients see it as abysmal?

March 08, 2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Eric, your coworker/co-blogger Leigh Hopper doesn't seem to see it quite that way, but you are exactly right. As the Russian workers used to say, "As long as they pretend to pay us, we'll pretend to work." When you must pay for the care of every person, regardless whether they could pay for thier own care or not, you'll either bankrupt yourself doing it, or you'll have to limit what you are willing to pay for. And if it is illegal for anyone but the government to pay, then those procedures that the government won't pay for become pretty scarce. By allowing (and requiring)those with the monetary wherewithal to pay thier own way, it will free up more governmental money for those who cannot. but even then, because the poor don't have to pay for it, they do not have a monetary stake in taking care of themselves. Smoking for instance in countries with socialized medicine is rampant, where it is on the decline here. Why worry? visits to the oncologist are free.

March 08, 2006 2:50 PM  

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