The first fact of life is that we all die. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can move on to the other facts of life. Under the microscope today is the topic of health care.
From the very readable CATO website, comes this interview on Health Care Reform. The piece is informative and well worth reading, but this little piece stood out for me when I read it:
In Canada more than 800,000 patients are currently on waiting lists for medical procedures. As the Canadian Supreme Court noted in striking down the part of Canada’s single-payer law that prohibited private payment for health care, “Access to a waiting list is not access to health care.” The court went on to note that “in some cases patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care” and “many patients on non-urgent waiting lists are in pain and cannot fully enjoy any real quality of life.”
Given that the current population of Canada is about 34 million that would mean that 2.35% of the entire population is currently on waiting lists for medical procedures. Here in the United States (if we had a comparable rate of waiters) that would mean about 7.2 million people would be waiting for health care.
I do not know the current number of US citizens who are waiting for health care in the US (and have been unable to quickly locate that information). However, based on the general availability of health care–even for those who are not insured, I would have thought that a number anywhere near 7.2 million would have by now absolutely exploded from the news outlets under headlines such as “Millions Wait to Live or Die under Current Health Care Confusion.” Then again, I could be remarkably off.
While I would be glad to admit that our health care system in the US could benefit from a number of overdue changes, I simply cannot bring myself to believe that following in Canada’s footsteps with regard to government-provided health services will help us improve the efficacy and responsive of such care here.