Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walter E. Williams on Affordable Health Care

The libertarian economics professor opines: "One of the campaign themes this election cycle is 'affordable' health care. Shouldn't we ask ourselves whether we want the politicians who brought us the 'affordable' housing, that created the current financial debacle, to now deliver us affordable health care? Shouldn't we also ask how things turned out in countries where there is socialized medicine? The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute's annual publication, 'Waiting Your Turn,' reports that Canada's median waiting times from a patient's referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist, depending on the procedure, averages from five to 40 weeks. The wait for diagnostics, such as MRI or CT, ranges between four and 28 weeks. According to Michael Tanner's 'The Grass Is Not Always Greener,' in Cato Institute's Policy Analysis (March 18, 2008), the Mayo Clinic treats more than 7,000 foreign patients a year, the Cleveland Clinic 5,000, Johns Hopkins Hospital treats 6,000, and one out of three Canadian physicians send a patient to the U.S. for treatment each year. If socialized medicine is so great, why do Canadian physicians send patients to the U.S. and the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year on health care in our country?"

He continues his commentary: "Britain's socialized system is no better. Currently, 750,000 Brits are awaiting hospital admission. Britain's National Health Services hopes to achieve an 18-week maximum wait from general practitioner to treatment, including all diagnostic tests, by the end of 2008. The delay in health care services is not only inconvenient, it's deadly. Both in Britain and Canada, many patients with diseases that are curable at the time of diagnosis become incurable by the time of treatment or patients become too weak for the surgical procedure."

And more: "We have health care problems in the U.S. but it's not because ours is a free market system of health care delivery. Well over 50 percent of all health care expenditures are made by government. Where government spends, government regulates. It's truly amazing that Americans who are dissatisfied with the current level of socialized medicine in the U.S. are asking for more of what created the problem in the first place."


Anonymous said...

Thank you for linking Mr. Williams' article. I am in school and in a couple of weeks, I have to complete an assignment on the problems of U.S. health care. I am confident that the professor wants us to write about how terrible it is here in America. We DO have our problems but as Mr. Williams points out, perhaps we shouldn't chuck it all . . .

Thanks again!

Brent said...

I too have to write a paper on the problems with American health care and will be graded on how well I can find flaws with the current government. In my research for this paper I came upon an article you might enjoy but that my teacher surely wouldn't. It is a really well written piece that illustrates the health care proposals of both candidates in the upcoming election.

Thanks again for all you do,
and I hope you like the article.