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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, October 13, 2006

Canada's Socialist Utopia

[This is reprinted from The Patriot Post of October 13, 2006. Do we want the same outfit that runs the post office and the IRS to run our health-care system, which is 1/7 of the U. S. economy?]

Canada’s current health-care system is the perfect example of why government should not be responsible for the health of its citizens. According to Paying More, Getting Less, a recent study published by Canada’s Fraser Institute, health-care costs will consume over half of Canada’s total revenues by 2020, and all revenues by 2050 “in six out of 10 provinces if current trends continue.”

“The way public health insurance is currently structured in Canada is not financially sustainable,” according to the study’s author, Brett Skinner, Fraser’s Director of Health, Pharmaceutical and Insurance Policy Research. “Provincial health spending has grown faster than revenue for a long time. We are nearing the limits of our capacity to pay for necessary medical care through public funds alone.”

In order to maintain its financial footing, the system has limited recipients’ choices of insured care. “This has produced unacceptably long waits for medical services; reduced access to health professionals and high tech equipment; fewer hospitals... withdrawal of public insurance coverage for previously insured medical goods and services; and the delay or outright refusal to provide public insurance coverage for new treatments and technologies available in other countries,” the study found.

Suggested changes to the system include requiring patients to make co-payments, allowing citizens the right to choose private-insurance providers and to permit free-market competitiveness among health-care providers. “As health-care spending swallows a larger and larger share of revenues every year,” Skinner wrote, “provincial governments will be forced to spend less on other public priorities or impose economically harmful tax increases and further limit access to necessary medical treatment.”

[Canadians who can afford it cross the border and take advantage of U. S. health care. Cleveland, Ohio, for example, is the hip-replacement capital of southern Ontario.]

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