Government health care rations by making patients wait

David Gratzer, a physician born and raised in Canada, gives us in the United States a preview of what government health care is all about: the waiting.

His recent Wall Street Journal piece is titled Canada’s ObamaCare Precedent: Governments always ration care by making you wait. That can be deadly.

He tells this story: “But Canadians wait for practically any procedure or diagnostic test or specialist consultation in the public system. The problems were brought home when a relative had difficulty walking. He was in chronic pain. His doctor suggested a referral to a neurologist; an MRI would need to be done, then possibly a referral to another specialist. The wait would have stretched to roughly a year. If surgery was needed, the wait would be months more. Not wanting to stay confined to his house, he had the surgery done in the U.S., at the Mayo Clinic, and paid for it himself.”

An Ontario woman with a 40-pound liquid-filled tumor in her abdomen was within weeks of death when an American surgeon — working in Michigan — removed the tumor.

“Ironically, as the U.S. is on the verge of rushing toward government health care, Canada is reforming its system in the opposite direction.” In 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court “struck down key laws in Quebec that established a government monopoly of health services.” Private-sector health care is growing in Canada, with 50,000 patients per year seeing private doctors in British Columbia. The United Kingdom and Sweden have initiated reforms, moving away from total government control.

Dr. Gratzer asks “Why are [Americans] rushing into a system of government-dominated health care when the very countries that have experienced it for so long are backing away?”


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