"Beware the greedy hand of government, thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry." ~ Thomas Paine
Many proponents of 'health care reform' in this country proudly point to Canada 's government-run system. Defenders of the system point to the fact that health care in Canada is available to all; but at what cost?
Last week the argument resurfaced in Canada when a former royal commissioner on the future of health care railed against the rise of private medical clinics in Montreal . In a five part series by The Montreal Gazette, Roy Romanov not a czar but the former royal commissioner, pleaded with the government to take action against the burgeoning private clinics. He said he found the private trend 'disturbing' and added, "If it continues, the principles and effectiveness of the Canada Health Act could be significantly weakened." Are the 'principles' and effectiveness really threatened by private clinics? Or are they intrinsically weak because they are based on shoddy economic principles?
Advocates for socialization or more government involvement in health care like to raise the point that health care is necessary for survival and therefore should be the responsibility of the state. Following the rationale of this argument, food and water are even more basic necessities for survival, so therefore the state should be the only suppliers of these goods. If deprived of food and water, every human would perish; that is not necessarily the case with health care.
History is full of failed experiments in government control of the distribution of goods and services; some are still ongoing ( Cuba ). The results speak for themselves: wherever free trade and economic rights are stifled, shortages abound. We can even find examples of that here in the US: Nixon's attempts at price and wage controls as well as today's health care 'crisis' caused not by the private practice of medicine but by government's growing influence in this sector.
The results of government intrusion in an industry are easily measurable. The computer industry faces few regulations (at least compared to the health care industry) and little if any government subsidies ("computers for all'). The result of this has been the reduction in size of computers (that once took up hundreds of square feet), an increase in the affordability of computers (from millions of dollars to hundreds) and a gigantic improvement in their performance and capabilities.
The government's insistence on solving problems related to health care in this country have yielded dismal results. The cost of health care has spiraled over the last three decades and can be linked to a rise in government funding and regulation. Innovations in treatment and prevention have been stifled and accesses to certain treatments have been blocked by government bureaucrats. Politicians also approve legislation that uses the power of the state to tilt the playing field in favor of (so-called) private insurance companies, further diluting the power of individual choice.
A totally private health care market would not be perfect (nothing is), but it would be much better than the alternative. In a free market system, instances could arise where both rich and poor could end up overpaying for shoddy service that could cause more problems or even death. But at least they or their family could choose another health care professional, a choice not available within government-controlled systems.Perhaps socialized medicine is seen by the government as the solution for the impending Social Security crisis (thining the herd).
The blame for the inadequacies caused by government's intrusion into health care and other industries does not lie solely on the shoulders of politicians and bureaucrats; it also lies on the masses. The majority of voters are quick to cast ballots for politicians and initiatives that curtail individual rights while expanding the power of governments. Like the children in the story of the pied piper, they are easily led by sweet melodies promising something for nothing.