Yesterday I wrote about Ava Stinson, a baby born 14 weeks premature, in The Future of Health Care. Ava was born in Canada but is being treated in the USA because thanks to rationed health care in Canada, there are beds available for her at home. I concluded with this:
“Slow health care is no health care. It doesn’t cost the government anything if you die waiting in line.”
Today I read Ed Morrissey’s take on the same story at Hot Air:
Well, it’s impossible to look at this situation without seeing the relative merits of the American and Canadian systems. First, the child would have gotten care in the US, too, regardless of insurance status. People get emergency care regardless in this country. There is a difference between health insurance and access to care that some people elide for purposes of political argument. No one gets turned away from emergency care for lack of ability to pay.
But why wasn’t there a NICU bed for the child in the entire nation of Canada? The government of Canada won’t pay for more. They don’t exist to expand supply to meet demand; their single-payer system exists to ration care as a cost-saving mechanism. In a free-market system, supply expands to meet demand, which is why Canada could subcontract out to a US hospital for capacity. Michael writes that paragraph as if it was mere luck that an NICU bed happened to be open in the US, but that’s a function of the system, and not luck. These parents are separated from their child at the moment through the fault of Canada’s government and not the US.
It’s a good lesson for both Americans and Canadians as the administration and Congress attempt to push a systemic overhaul of the US health-care system that will cost trillions and push us towards the same kind of single-payer system that Canada has. When we handle our health-care system like Canada, where will Canadians send the next NICU case they can’t handle? And where will America send ours?
Well, I think Ed knows the answer. If we allow this administration to nationalize our health care we will have nowhere to turn when rationed health care determines who receives treatment and who does not.
UPDATE: A great question (and a great post) by The Daley Gator:
Rationing services? That is a key part of the Canadian model. Let me pose this question. The Left says health care is a right. Do they also accept that rights, can be rationed? That question, more than any other is one we should pose to them.