Government-run Healthcare Can Be Deadly

Veterans Affairs logo

VA Logo – va.gov

Many of my friends pine for single-payer, which in their minds lets everybody get good healthcare for free. There are many kinds of single-payer; in Canada, it means the government is the only insurer, and it controls costs by reducing facilities, which can create waits for services deemed too expensive and not as critical. There, at least, there is a safety valve in that anyone who is desperate and can afford it can jump the queue and get their knee replacement, for example, done in the not-far-away US. Months of pain and debility while waiting, or $$? Canadians are in general happy with their system but it is growing more expensive and quality of some services is declining.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the model is government-run health service (the NHS); doctors and staff are employed by a government agency. The quality is mediocre, life-saving drugs are slow to be approved, and the better off pay for supplemental insurance to avoid being trapped in the NHS system. The public is constantly hearing of scandals and bureaucratic malfeasance; while it insures some minimal care for everyone, no one thinks it’s great.

The closest we have in the US to the NHS is the VA; for veterans with coverage for conditions related to their service, it can be a lifesaver, and quality of care, while variable, can be excellent. *But* some of the bureaucratic scandals and spotty service of the NHS appears in even what is supposed to be a proud monument to our concern for veterans. This does not build confidence in any government-run healthcare system.

The New York Post covers the latest VA scandal, which may have resulted in 40 or more patient deaths while bureaucrats gamed their appointments to delay them for months without it appearing in their stats.

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