APA members who favor a universal coverage, single-payer health care plan
received a long-overdue reality check from the Canadian Supreme Court on June
9, as described in an article in the August 5 issue. Canada's highly
overidealized health care system was ruled woefully inadequate, and the ban on
private medical insurance was declared unconstitutional.
The Canadian health care service has slowly tortured Canadians for years.
With no alternative to the government-run, single-payer plan, Canadians,
except those able to travel to the United States, experienced limited access
to cutting-edge medical technologies, limited referrals to specialists,
limited drug formularies, and very long waits for treatment. Canadian Chief
Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote, "Access to a waiting list is not access
to health care."
A review of the health system in Canada and other countries with
government-run, single-payer systems reveals that declaring health care a"
right" and raising taxes produces only rationed care and wasteful
The best chance a nation has to provide quality health care to its citizens
is through a market economy. It is a common misconception that our health care
system is shaped by free-market forces. Unfortunately, the U.S. medical field
is one of the most heavily government-regulated industries. Through a variety
of avenues that include the tax code, sale of insurance, and its own payer
systems (Medicare and Medicaid), our government has inadvertently escalated
the cost of care. The key to increased access and improved affordability is
through less government intervention, not more.
The Canadian Supreme Court has provided us with a cautionary tale about
socialized medicine. For the well-being of our citizens, let's not remain
obstinate about considering a single-payer system to solve our health care
problems. Let us focus on what a free market can do to provide the best health
care possible for the most people.