One thing that has been mentioned primarily in Center Right circles is that a comparison of Canadian Health Care to our own current design shows that OURS is better. The defense of our own system versus Canada’s is usually made when someone says something along the lines of “you know, Canada health care is way ahead of our own..” And our response is usually: “Oh yeah? ..then why do they come here?”
In the 1960s, Claude Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health Care and suggested that his home province of Quebec, at the time largest and most dominant province, should adopt government administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies. As DAVID GRATZER editorializes:
“The government followed his advice, leading to his modern-day moniker: “the father of Quebec medicare.” Even this title seems modest; Castonguay’s work triggered a domino effect across the country, until eventually his ideas were implemented from coast to coast.
Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in “crisis.”
“We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it,” says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: “We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice.”
Insert Record scratching sounds here. Mea Culpa?
Like many in the United States, Castonguay, an idealist, felt “compassion for his suffering fellow man. For those who he felt were not being seen as important enough to receive the best care available. What he could not see, until the result of his desire became reality, was that even the most modest treatment the poor and under served were receiving was better than the current state where waiting lists prevent some from being seen at all.
In some ways for the United States, it has been a bit of boom times, with those who could afford to travel for medical care coming to Michigan, New York, etc., for satisfactory treatment. In Many ways it has competed for our own available physicians creating a little longer wait time for our own citizen patients. However, the “demand” and perhaps the need itself has also created a demand and pressure for more of our college bound youth to pursue medicine as a final destination.
That is… until the government has a hand in it.
While the politicians, not unlike our hero Claude in Canada seek office, they often ride the horse of inequity, and disillusionment. Proclaiming health care as a “right” suggests it is unearned, as if a wave of a stick could cure the infirm. Those who spend years training to serve their fellow man, face a rising challenge when government, backed by popular demand mandates treatment for any or all who might NEED. Certainly, there is an appropriate place for humane recognition of life and death, but at the point where accountability falls to simple desire, then we have done no favors to any and all.
Economists must constantly battle the uninformed or perhaps more appropriately ignorant among us to explain how new developments in technology, new products, and discoveries are made. There must be a need. And following the need, is a motive. And for man, most often the motive is reward. Reward for a grand and glorious deed such as mole removal or performing a prostate exam is seldom a simple “thank you,” nor would it be sufficient in most cases. Monetary expectations are the norm.
As it took the Canadians several years, in fact decades to discover, not too many of its youth turned to medicine. At least not enough to adequately serve the public in an efficient manner. The long term effect of socialized medicine is less availability, as a decision based on reward, and having GOVERNMENT as your silent and misguided partner will restrict the possibility of your earnings. As with anything government must do, it needs to contain costs from time to time or face a revolt, to do so it would limit compensation to the medically trained, or put unrealistic limits on the ability to charge for particularly difficult procedure.
As for the title of this article… Consider this: Why would the Canadians who KNOW they can find quality care here now, seek US out in the future if they can suffer just as well waiting in line back at home?