Universal Health Care a la Steyn

Michael van der Galien links to the corner, where Mark Steyn applies his mordant intellect to health care:

In a public health care system, the doctors, nurses, janitors and administrators all need to be paid every Friday so the only point at which costs can be controlled is through the patient, by restricting access.

And how does the system restrict access? Why, through the dreaded waiting list, of course. In a socialized system–whether it is in Canada, England, New Zealand, or Pluto–the incentives always work against the customer:

If you go to an American doctor with a monstrous lump on your shoulder, it’s in his economic interest to find out what it is and get it whipped off as soon as possible. If you go to a British or Canadian doctor, it’s in the system’s economic interest to postpone it as long as possible.

Steyn is not, of course, a health care policy type. Nonetheless, I think he has pretty much captured the crucial difference between socialized medicine and free market health care.

Comments 2

  1. James Lansberry wrote:

    While I agree that socialized medicine is a horrible alternative, Steyn misses an important part of their argument. The argument they’re making, and which we must engage and refute, is that the 1 out of 4 dollars involved in health care spending right now that goes to administration and paperwork, etc. can be reduced in a changeover from private to socialized system.

    After the changeover, yes, the only way to reduce costs is lowering wages (resulting in worker shortage) or lowering consumptions (via waiting lists). But their argument is that the changeover will reduce costs enough that access will be expanded–and we need to engage that argument in order to be heard.

    One way to do that is to point to the costs related to the government takeover of education–compared to the private school which provides a better output for less per student.

    Posted 30 Jun 2007 at 9:56 am
  2. Catron wrote:

    Their argument about “administration and paperwork” is deeply ironic, as this discusses in greater detail.

    Posted 30 Jun 2007 at 4:54 pm

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