I blog about free markets in medical care and transparent pricing.
You know that a statist and critic of liberty has drawn their last breath in an argument when they invoke the plight of “the children.” “What about the poor children?” The statist or socialist demands guarantees that the poor and unfortunate (particularly “the children”) will be cared for by the state, as a free society left to its own devices provides no such guarantees.
Check out this article sent to me by a Canadian friend. This is what happens to “the children” protected by the state’s brand of guarantee. The parents have paid cash for this child’s vision to be restored (by an ophthalmologist in Michigan) and are continuing to wait for their “right” to health care in Canada to rescue them from bankruptcy. Soon-to-be blind children (standing in the line of medical neglect) are not alone in Canada. They are shoulder to shoulder with hearing-impaired (soon to be deaf) children, as well, the state not offering timely hearing-saving procedures. These state guarantees are nothing more than permission to hope for care. I wonder if the health bureaucrats in Canada would wrap themselves in the Canadian health care flag and proclaim the wonders of a Canadian’s “right” to health care if this was their child? Actually, many government officials in Canada don’t wait for care…they come to the U.S. for it at the Canadian taxpayer’s expense! Maybe what the apparatchiks of the Canadian state mean is that while everyone there has a “right” to health care, only the government officials have true access.
Also interesting in the article is the fact that the surgery tried by the Canadian ophthalmologist on the child was unsuccessful, while the surgery done in the U.S. by the pediatric retinal specialist was. Is this pride? Could the credibility of the Canadian government’s health care scheme possibly trump the importance of this child’s sight-saving eye care? Do Canadians have a “right” to health care only as long as it doesn’t embarrass their government? While the government promises health care, it seems they primarily deliver obstacles and constraints to care, as the doc for the job was right across the border.
In a traditional patient doctor relationship, the focus is on the patient, not on national budgets, yet that is exactly the system in Canada, and the one so many collectivists would impose on us here, a system that leaves scores, even the children, in the lurch. The good of the many outweighs the sight of this child, no? Stay with me and we’ll take this a step further. A free market health care system actually creates a market and a demand for charitable organizations to fill in the gaps of care (particularly for the children here in the U.S.) where they occur. Paradoxically, the very lack of a state guarantee creates the demand for this type of organization whose sole purpose is to fill in the gaps. State guarantees suppress the normal inclination of the market mechanism to bring these types of charities into existence, organizations whose focus and mission isn’t clouded by political concerns and national budgets. Indeed, where were the Canadian children’s vision charities on this one?
There are no guarantees. Those who believe there are need counseling. Those who believe that the state provides for a more efficient allocation of scarce resources than the free market are poor students of history, at best, vicious tyrant wannabes, at worst. The only guarantee the state provides is their iron fist, one which blinds and bludgeons the children as well as adults.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.