Keep this link handy whenever you hear someone spew “the wonders of socialized medicine in other industrialized nations.” The myth of the Canadian health care utopia has been effectively dealt with in countless articles and patient accounts of care denial and long waiting lists. That Canadians travel to my facility for surgery should be enough proof of the failure of this health “system.” The National Health Service in Great Britain, likewise, has had both eyes blackened with undisputed accounts of involuntary euthanasia (murder) of patients to make room for others needing their hospital beds. Both of these countries are moving toward privatization.
Robbed of their favorite two examples of the success of Stalin-styled health care, the followers of the cult of “universal care,” often times turn to Sweden, perhaps because it seems farther away and the language barrier makes this claim less implausible. It turns out that the Swedes are not only turning toward privatization, but that they have been doing this for some time now, their tryst with “universal care” having been little more than a one night stand, compared to other “industrialized nations’” experiments with socialized medicine for all.
For a better understanding of the predictable failure of “government-run healthcare,” we need only consult the great Ludwig von Mises. He predicted the failure of any industry or government embracing socialism based on what he called the “economic calculation problem.” Basically, without market price signals, producers and consumers have no way of knowing what should be produced or consumed and shortages and surpluses are the result. Long lines and shortages for what buyers need most urgently. Surpluses of goods and services for which there is little demand. These are the results of socialism.
What does a shortage of bread mean? It means that people will turn to potatoes, more than likely. What does a shortage of beef mean? It means that people will turn to fish or chicken or some other source of meat/protein. What does a shortage of hospital beds in Great Britain mean? It means the hospital staff will be commanded to kill a few patients to make room for those who are waiting on a hospital bed in an overcrowded emergency room (or evenly more incredibly in the ambulance outside). What does a diagnosis of cancer mean in Sweden? Unless you have taken advantage of the affordable and private health system, it means you will wait a year or more to be evaluated or treated.
My point is this. For those who believe that the principles of the free market don’t apply to health care, I would say that in no other industry are the principles of the market more important. Ceding our health to government central planners will always result in an economic miscalculation, one that in health care has been shown to be invariably fatal. Socialism doesn’t work. Socialism not working in health care means human beings are made to suffer unnecessary misery and death without alternatives.
While I am certainly no defender of the current cartel-like healthcare economic system in the U.S., I am a believer (and a practicer) of free market health care. Is a health care free market perfect? Of course not. But history has shown with the worldwide failure of the socialized medicine experiments that a better balance of what patients need and what they actually receive is achieved when we turn our backs on the mendacious lies and platitudes of the arrogant and deceitful healthcare central planners.
Like they have in Sweden.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
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