Friday, 2 December 2005

Aim low, and keep reaching for the Prime Minister's job

Stories like this one make me thank God we didn’t get Hillarycare. On the stump, Canadian Conservative leader Stephen Harper made this, dare I say bold, promise to his countrymen:

[P]atients should not wait more than 10 months for non-urgent hip and knee replacements.

I suspect it’s pretty easy to say that when it’s not your bum hip or knee you’re hobbling around on for the best part of a year.

Of course, Canadians at least have, for now, the choice of private provision: they can come here for treatment and pay twice—once for the not-very-timely provision of services in Canada and once for the actual provision in the Land of the Gringos. In Democratic-wet-dream America, where’s our (and their) safety-valve going to be? Grenada?


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Yet Canadians are so supportive of their current model of publicly provided healthcare that Harper, the Conservative leader, said in the same speech that there would NOT be a parallel private healthcare system.

The improvements, he said, can be made within the existing system.

Also, please note that the Clinton proposal was NOT single payer. It was mega-HMOs. The two have basically nothing to do with one another.


Indeed, because Canada already has a parallel private healthcare system, provided within 100 miles of almost every single Canadian: that of the United States. Without the escape hatch to a market-based healthcare system, Canadian medicare would be much less popular.


Well, nothing in common except for compulsory participation. So it was combining one aspect of the Canadian system and adding to the market failure of our current system. Not an improvement.

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