You’ve gotta love Steven Greenhut. He never misses an opportunity to spread a myth to support his “Libertarian Principles.”Â These principles of course include the general premise that any form of collective interaction of the population is socialism and therefore bad. If the “free market” does not create it, it should not exist.Â The Libertarian perspective sees no need for regulation of business at all. Laissez faireÂ capitalism is the only societal model of merit and business will regulate itself.
Simply put, everyoneÂ should beÂ on his or her own.
Extending the libertarian principle to its logical conclusion related to health care, any form of collective system of health care services is unnecessary and socialist. It is this very principle however that has caused to exponential rise in the cost of health care in the United States.Â
True to his beliefs, in a post todayÂ on the Orange Punch blog (Obamacare needs to be stopped) Greenhut claims that:
Â “President Obamaâ€™s health-care reform plan will be a disaster, which will put government further into the health-care business and further turn the system into something that functions with the compassion and efficiency of the Department of Motor Vehicles.” He further claims; “Increasingly, the Canadian system is failing â€” long waits for services and doctors who are fleeing for other countries.”
First, the current system of health care, run by for profit insurance companies, makes the DMV look like a good model to follow.Â In order to get care that you need your doctor needs to call the IPA that contracts with the insurance company to “manage” your care.Â When they deny that test, service, procedure, or referral, you can then appeal that decision to your insurance provider who will tell you that your employer did not order a particular level of care, so you cannot get it unless you want to pay for it yourself.
Because of this processÂ the United StatesÂ hasÂ the world’s most expensive health care system. Americans get coverage either through private insurance provided by employers or bought by individuals, or through government-run programs for the elderly, poor and others. But millions remain uninsured and the United States lags many other industrialized nations in important health measures such as life expectancy and infant mortality.
In an article published in the Denver Post on June 7, 2009 Rhonda Hackett debunks common Canadian Health Care Myths.
Myth: Canada’s health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.
The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn’t when everybody is covered.
Myth: The Canadian system is significantly more expensive than that of the U.S.
Ten percent of Canada’s GDP is spent on health care for 100 percent of the population. The U.S. spends 17 percent of its GDP but 15 percent of its population has no coverage whatsoever and millions of others have inadequate coverage. In essence, the U.S. system is considerably more expensive than Canada’s. Part of the reason for this is uninsured and underinsured people in the U.S. still get sick and eventually seek care. People who cannot afford care wait until advanced stages of an illness to see a doctor and then do so through emergency rooms, which cost considerably more than primary care services.
For the record, the administrative cost for Medicare (the government program) is around 2%.
Second, while the Canadian system may not be perfect, it is not a disaster and it is not failing. Doctors are not fleeing Canada the statement is simply not true.
While a certain amount of cross-border and overseas migration is inevitable in todayâ€™s economy, when it comes toÂ (Canadian) physicians, the brain drain is more a trickle than a flood.Â Physicians enter and leave the country for a number of reasons. For instance, some Canadian doctors go overseas for medical training then return home to practise. Foreign medical school graduates may arrive with temporary work visas or as landed immigrants, practise in Canada for a while, leave, and even decide to return eventually.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) charts migration patterns for practising physicians. The data exclude interns, residents, and doctors who leave Canada right after graduation without ever working here, but they still provide important information on trends.
According to CIHI data, the number of doctors leaving hit two peaks in the last 35 years: one in the late 1970s, when we lost around 600 doctors a year, and another in the mid-1990s, when we lost around 700 a year. Further analysis of the losses in the mid-1990s shows this represents a loss of only one to one and a half percent of all practising doctors in the country. As well, this trend appears to have slowed in recent years â€” in 2003, only 320 physicians left Canada, and in 2004, there was actually a brain gain of 55 doctors.
Libertarians like Greenhut would rather demonize efforts to provide health care to all Americans than address the need. Using terms like socialism, and painting images of long lines like at the post office or DMV, and claiming long waits for surgeries are all tools of deception they present to distract people from supporting any change to the status quo out of fear. In Orange County, Freedom Communications refuses to present any alternative point of view. For those who only get their news from the Register, they can only assume that Health Care Reform is unnecessary, unwanted, and too taxing.
So when Greenhut blows off his gas about Obama mishandling theÂ Health CareÂ debate; that his health care ideas are losing popularity; that he is failing at keeping congressional Democrats on the same page and, of course, that his fiscal projections are way off; then of course there is only once conclusion you can reach.
But a conclusion based upon irrational protestations and phony analysis is wrong. Every major industrial economy in the world provides health care to its residents (and in most casesÂ to visitors too). These economies have not collapsed under the weight of ever increasing health care costs. There is no excessive bureaucracy controlling or rationing care. Unlike the United States where there is a insurance company bureaucrat motivated purely by profit looking for any possible way to deny coverage for the care your doctor says you need, there is no government bureaucrat standing between your doctor and your care. There is only basic health care, provided to all, and paid for by all.
Other than the fact that there is no “profit” in it, what’s wrong with that?