Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

We have all heard or read why America should adopt the Canadian style of health care. The arguments are usually based on the fact that poorer Americans cannot afford the high costs of market-provided health care.

America could do worse than continue with the system it has now. It could follow Canada into socialized medical care and the cost and restrictions associated with it.

Things are not looking so good for Canada's socialized health-care system. Canada, which at one time was considered to have the second-best medical care in the world, behind the United States, finds itself in a quandary. The health-care system is so overburdened that rationing of health care by waiting is becoming increasingly common, and there are shortages of hospital rooms and doctors. More and more Canadians are becoming dissatisfied with socialized medicine.

A survey by Toronto-based Polara showed: On all income levels, 74 percent of Canadians support the idea of user fees for those who can afford them. Of respondents making $25,000 or less (in Canadian dollars), 85 percent support user fees. And only 23 percent support increasing taxes on workers to keep the national health-care system afloat.

Ontario recently conceded it needs to add another 1,000 doctors, and according to the New York Times, 23 of Toronto's 25 hospitals had to turn away ambulances one day in January. An official at Vancouver General Hospital estimates that 20 percent of heart patients, who should be treated in 15 minutes, are waiting an hour or more for care. Many nurses are leaving the system. Estimates run as high as 6,000 a year are leaving to seek work elsewhere.

Alberta's premier, Ralph Klein, proposes bringing American for-profit health care to that province. To reduce waiting lists at hospitals, he would let the provincial government pay private clinics to perform surgery such as hip replacements.

The additional costs associated with socialized medical care are even too much for rich countries to pay, as Canadians are finding out the hard way. The United States need not commit the same mistakes. It has the best medical care in the world, and it is for profit. To reduce the costs in medical care in this country we must sideline the government and let market forces take over. The government has only proven that it can drive up medical costs. The government is paying medical schools not to educate over a quota of doctors. This severely limits competition in the field. Introduction of new drugs may cost as much as $400 million to gain approval. This is unreasonable. Electrical devices must meet a rigid standard required by a private tester, Underwriters Laboratory. Drugs should be allowed to do the same. Government has proven it is too inefficient and cost prohibitive to do this service.

It is becoming common for someone to use the force of government to provide a benefit paid for by someone else. We in America have the greatest opportunities to create wealth for ourselves in the world, and it is in the private sector. Let us use this great tool we have to provide health care for ourselves and not use the coercion of the state.


Marble Hill