NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 30, 2004

Some U.S. policy makers want America to emulate Canada's socialized health care system, whereby taxpayers finance the majority of health care costs for the entire nation. This would be a bad idea, says Investor's Business Daily

The tip off came when Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said that his government's latest $60 billion cash infusion into the system will "improve access to health care professionals so Canadians can see a doctor when they need to and where they need to."

Unknowingly, Martin essentially summarized the major drawback of universal care: service has to be rationed because health care resources are scarce. This means that:

  • Canadians must suffer through long waiting lists, with the average wait being about four months for basic care.
  • Many prescription drugs found in the United States are not available north of the border.
  • Professionals such as doctors and nurses are leaving the country because they are weary of the rationed care and lack of modern medical equipment.

Ultimately, health care is too important to be left in the hands of government -- if patients are free to choose, the market will work as well for medical treatment as it does for any other commodity or service, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Patient is Terminal," Investor's Business Daily, September 22, 2004.


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