Various interest groups use patently bogus statistics to try to convince us that socialized medicine would be a good thing. But those who live under government medicine have a different story to tell:
When the pain in Christina Woodkey’s legs became so severe that she could no long hike or cross-country ski, she went to her local health clinic. The Calgary, Canada, resident was told she’d need to see a hip specialist. Because the problem was not life-threatening, however, she’d have to wait about a year.
So wait she did.
In January, the hip doctor told her that a narrowing of the spine was compressing her nerves and causing the pain. She needed a back specialist. The appointment was set for Sept. 30. “When I was given that date, I asked when could I expect to have surgery,” said Woodkey, 72. “They said it would be a year and a half after I had seen this doctor.”
So this month, she drove across the border into Montana and got the $50,000 surgery done in two days.
“I don’t have insurance. We’re not allowed to have private health insurance in Canada,” Woodkey said. “It’s not going to be easy to come up with the money. But I’m happy to say the pain is almost all gone.”
When the relationship between supply and demand is broken by government controls, one common if not inevitable result is rationing by queue. Thus, in the Soviet Union you had to stand in line for hours to buy milk. In Canada (and anywhere else where socialized medicine prevails), you have to wait in line for months or years for medical treatment. Costs are saved because many patients die waiting.