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Not Like It’s Worked Well Elsewhere

Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian now with the Manhattan Institute, tries to warn us about the wonders of nationalized medicine in the country of his birth:

Only half of ER patients are treated in a timely manner by national and international standards, according to a government study. The physician shortage is so severe that some towns hold lotteries, with the winners gaining access to the local doc.

Overall, according to a study published in Lancet Oncology last year, five-year cancer survival rates are higher in the U.S. than those in Canada. Based on data from the Joint Canada/U.S. Survey of Health (done by Statistics Canada and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics), Americans have greater access to preventive screening tests and have higher treatment rates for chronic illnesses. No wonder: To limit the growth in health spending, governments restrict the supply of health care by rationing it through waiting. The same survey data show, as June and Paul O’Neill note in a paper published in 2007 in the Forum for Health Economics & Policy, that the poor under socialized medicine seem to be less healthy relative to the nonpoor than their American counterparts.

Meanwhile, Canada’s private healthcare sector is growing and efforts are underway to limit the government monopoly in Quebec of all places. As Gratzer asks of the president and his Congressional allies who seem blissfully unconcerned with this evidence: “Why are they rushing into a system of government-dominated health care when the very countries that have experienced it for so long are backing away?” Perhaps someone should ask the president.