Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.



November 2012

Canadians Turn to Private Care as Government Fails

Written by , Posted in Big Government, Economics & the Economy, Free Markets, Health Care, Welfare & Entitlements

Private markets can be their own worst enemy. Rather than force people to deal with the consequences of bad policy choices, they provide a relief valve for ill-considered socialist schemes. Such is the case in Canada right now, as patients are increasingly forced to seek refuge from their “universal” health care debacle.

Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.
But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.

…The worst cases are gynecological cancers, experts say, because usually such a cancer has already spread by the time it is detected. Instead of four weeks from diagnosis to surgery, patients are waiting as long as three months to have cancerous growths removed.

“It’s a crisis for Quebec women,” said Lucy Gilbert, director of gynecological oncology and the gynecologic cancer multi-disciplinary team at the McGill University Health Centre. Her team has had access to operating rooms only two days a week for the past year, with dozens of patients having surgeries postponed week after week.

…One worried patient, a mother of five children who waited three months for surgery for invasive breast cancer, said she is worried about the effects of such a long wait. After surgery, she paid $800 for a bone scan in a private clinic rather than wait five months for a scan at the Jewish General Hospital.

There are always costs. You cannot legislate them away. Trying to do so through price controls just forces them to manifest elsewhere. In this case, the cost is increased wait times, which when it comes to health equates to increased mortality rates. The reason is simple: when you remove the market signals generated by free floating prices, you lose the most effective means known to man for allocating resources. A bunch of government bureaucrats cannot anticipate demand and allocate the appropriate resources to meet it as well as the invisible hand.