Thursday, June 19, 2008

Public health and medicine - good for thee, but not for me !

All progressive politicians across the world continue to hammer home how important it is to have a strong and universal health and education system. When it comes to the health system, socialist politicians talk about "building a system" that the country can be proud of, one that covers everybody and every procedure, one that means that nobody will go without medical attention, equal access for rich and poor.

"Look at the Scandinavians !", they say.
"Look at Cuba!", they say.

They don't even bother looking much themselves, because the reality can be pretty ugly. Not a single public system anywhere in the world is without its problems. Huge ever-increasing budgets. Massive bureaucracy and budget wasting. Increasing waiting lists and poor emergency response times.

And even those who advocate socialised medicine sometimes know better, but keep their mouths shut. They know that private health is superior, and they lie to the public about the nature of their plans. Just like the pigs in Animal Farm, some animals are more equal than other !

The late Ted Kennedy, one of the most progressive senators in America, advocated universal public health over his lengthy career. What happened when he became terminally ill ??

It was reported that Senator Kennedy chose his surgeon for this difficult operation after very careful research and consultation with his physicians in Boston. Using his free and independent judgment, Kennedy chose Dr. Allan Friedman, a surgeon renowned for his experience and expertise in the field of neuro-oncological surgery.

No government regulations restricted the Senator in this extremely important personal choice. Facing a life threatening illness, no bureaucrat forced the Senator to chose his surgeon nor hospital from a government “approved” list–a list not generated by Kennedy’s independent and free judgment, but by “public servants” who’s expertise is not Kennedy’s life, but the arbitrary and byzantine politics of “pull”, of favors owed and collected, of political pressure groups and the bitter reality of healthcare rationing. No, Kennedy was not forced to sacrifice his life, liberty nor property in the name of the so-called “greater public good.”

The surgeon he chose, Dr. Allan Friedman, has freely devoted his life to treating patients with neurological tumors. Dr. Friedman wasn’t coerced into medicine; his patient load is not presently rationed nor stipulated by bureaucrats. Dr. Friedman was still free to accept Senator Kennedy as his patient and was free to choose the best surgical approach for treating the Senator’s tumor. No bureaucrat stipulated how many patients per day, week, month or year Dr. Friedman may accept and treat during the long decades he spent perfecting his life-saving skill. Dr. Friedman is still relatively free to use his expert judgment in the face of the awesome responsibility he assumes with each patient he treats.

If you ignore all the hype and propaganda, and look at people's actions, you see that socialised health aint all that its cracked up to be. You never see Americans run overseas for medical treatments, yet you see thousands of people subject to crumbling public health systems flee to wealthier countries with stronger private health sectors. Canadians travel to America, the Brits too.

(side note: despite not yet having universal coverage, America has *NOTHING LIKE* a free market in health. It is only less socialised than its counterparts)

Many socialist leaders, even Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, had to go abroad when they became ill.

Orwell must have had these kind of thugs in mind when he wrote Animal Farm.