The  Socialized  Medicine  Page
and other material about medical issues in general

Here is another "crisis" manufactured by big-government liberals in both political parties, in cooperation with the national news media.  Apparently their ultimate goal is the bankruptcy and elimination of HMO's and the takeover of the health insurance industry by the federal government.
We're talking about socialized medicine, Hillarycare, medical records, government regulations, intrusion, paperwork.
You may recall that co-President Hillary Clinton tried to arrange for the government to take over the health care industry (and take over 1/7th of the nation's economy) in 1993.  Fortunately that failed, so the Democrats are trying a new approach.  The term "Patients' Bill of Rights" indicates that (1) people are being led to believe that health insurance is a right, and (2) this issue is as important as (or at least on a par with) the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Imagine the giant database, nationalized health care, bureaucrats, red tape, medical privacy, government control, health care.
Anyway, I object to the use of the term "Bill of Rights" to describe anything less important than the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  It's like referring to TV Guide as the Couch Potato's Bible.  That only cheapens the name of the Bible, and doesn't substantially benefit TV Guide.
Medical insurance, gathering information, individual rights, freedom, privacy, prescription drug benefit.
By now you should realize that no matter how much of a problem we may have with an industry, like the health care industry, the government should stay out of it and let free enterprise sort it out.  When the federal government gets involved, the problem only gets worse, prices increase, your taxes go up, and you're left with more red tape and paperwork.

Federal, state and local governments spent a total of $783.8 billion on health care in 2006.*

This page was originally constructed for the discussion of HillaryCare, way back in the 20th century.  For a long time (that is, while George W. Bush was president), the topic of socialized medicine simmered on the back burner.  But now, with socialist Democrats in control of the White House and the Congress, it's back in the public eye.

Much of the material on this page is becoming somewhat outdated, because the focus today is on Obamacare.

Subsections on this page:

Look at the British experience with socialized medicine.

Other countries' experiences

Related topics:

Obamacare:  Mandatory Socialized Medicine

The Privacy of Medical Records

Social Security

Medicare, Medicaid, and Prescription Drug Benefits

SCHIP:  (State Children's Health Insurance Program)


The Invasion of the Food Police

Waiting Times For Canada's Single-Payer Health Care System Hit Record High.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has touted Canada's single-payer system, saying it is a model the United States should follow.  He introduced a "Medicare for All" plan this past September.  "The issue that has got to be studied is how does it happen that here in Canada they provide quality care to all people, and I don't think there is any debate that the quality of care here is as good or better than the United States, and they do it for half the cost," Sanders said.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) cosponsored Sanders's bill, saying she believes the measure will bring high-quality and low-cost care to Americans.  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) wrote a provision in Sanders's bill allowing Americans to buy into a public plan during the transition to single-payer.  The Fraser Institute found that patients under Canada's single-payer system this year waited an average of 10.9 weeks — roughly two-and-a-half months — from the time they had a consultation with a specialist to the time at which they received treatment.  Physicians consider 7.2 weeks to be a clinically reasonable wait time.

Is Venezuel'a Crumbling Health Care System A Preview Of ObamaCare?  The idea of free, universal health care has always seemed like a perfect solution.  At least that was the thinking behind Venezuela's constitutionally enshrined "right" to free health care since 1999, winning the late President Hugo Chavez a lot of elections and seeming to be the logic behind ObamaCare.  But post-Chavez, Venezuela's health care system is a shambles.  Massive shortages of basic supplies plague both public and private hospitals.  Everything from drugs, syringes and needles, to respirators, incubators and ultrasound monitors, is in short supply, reports AP's Frank Bajak.

Top Japanese Official Urges Elderly to 'Hurry Up and Die'.  Taro Aso has never been one to hold his tongue.  But Japan's 72 year-old deputy prime minister may have outdone himself with his latest gaffe.  At a government panel to discuss social security reforms, the former prime minister called the elderly who are unable to feed themselves "tube people," then proceeded to say the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to reduce the burden on a country tasked to pay for their medical expenses.

Health Care Here And Over There.  If the world's most famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, is a shining example of British health care, how is it that others in the U.K. are repeatedly denied critical care and medicine?

Why public health care is philosophically wrong.  Forget all the scare stories about waiting lines and denied services. ... If you focus on scare stories of public health care systems gone wrong (and they all go wrong), you will fall into the leftists' trap of arguing over the most effective way to publicly manage health.  No.  You should manage your health.  You should have the power to choose whichever option serves you best.  The power over your health — your very self — should be in your hands.

Sharin' the Hate (of socialized medicine).  People gripe and huff about American Big Pharma, portraying the industry as an evil cabal seeking to gouge the sick and vulnerable out of their last dimes.  This spin exists despite the fact that drug spending as a portion of health care hasn't increased since 1960 and pharmaceutical management of medical conditions often reduces the need for more drastic and expensive treatments later.

The Federal Health Care Muggers.  The Democrats' agenda of "universal health care" is in deep trouble, as more Americans (including many "Blue Dog" congressional Democrats) are growing increasingly uneasy about the costs.  The Congressional Budget Office projects that the proposed House of Representatives plan could cost over $1 trillion dollars, rather than saving money.  A similar plan in place in Massachusetts since 2006 has led to skyrocketing costs, long waits for care, and higher taxes, without actually providing "universal" coverage.

Is Government Health Care Constitutional?  The Supreme Court created the right to privacy in the 1960s and used it to strike down a series of state and federal regulations of personal (mostly sexual) conduct. ... If the government cannot proscribe -- or even "unduly burden," to use another of the Supreme Court's analytical frameworks -- access to abortion, how can it proscribe access to other medical procedures, including transplants, corrective or restorative surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, or a myriad of other health services that individuals may need or desire?

The Truth About Nationalized Healthcare.  It doesn't make sense to buy insurance when you are young and healthy if you are guaranteed access anyway when you are older and sicker.  And that's the problem.  The exchange between the two Democrats highlights the dirty little secret that not even Hillary will tell you about a universal government health insurance program.  The problem with our current system that mandatory national health insurance will solve is not that people don't get health care — it's that they don't pay for it.

Government Medical Care Always Becomes Political Medical Care.  Americans did not invent democracy.  What America rightly did, for the first time in history, was institutionalize the concept of limited government — based not on majority rule, but on individual rights.  Sadly, this foundation is not properly recognized and is rapidly giving way to an ever-expanding government. … Those who say that government should seize control of all of our medical care are ultimately advocating the elimination of all restraint on government.

House Headed Toward 'Socialized Medicine'.  "By the time your story appears, the U.S. House of Representatives may have taken a big step toward socialized medicine!"  So said a breathless Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) at 5:30 p.m. on August 1.  The congressman was just back from the House floor, where she called me after a day-long battle against what appeared to be inevitable enactment of SCHIP — that is, the State Children's Health Insurance Program — as a permanent entitlement.

Socialized medicine through the back door.  The Senate has been wrestling with legislation that the media echo chamber has framed as "helping sick kids," but which in reality is a step toward universal government-run health care.  Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that those who are enabling this slow train to socialized medicine know exactly what they are doing.

The Truth About Mandatory Health Insurance.  Requiring catastrophic coverage (our parents called it major medical) probably is smart.  This would ensure that a person who is hurt in a car accident or diagnosed with a costly illness can pay his own medical bills, instead of being a burden on society.  But catastrophic coverage is not what the mandate advocates want.  They would require that everyone have comprehensive health insurance, covering preventive and routine care.  The rationale for this mandate is not personal responsibility but "shared responsibility," a polite way of saying shared costs.

Just say no to free stuff you can't afford.  The last time I looked, insurance was a business, not a social service.  But maybe I had better look more closely because after listening to Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and numerous other politicians who are eager for votes, I am starting to think maybe health insurance is not a business at all, and not even just a social service, but actually an entitlement.

This is truly frightening:
Edwards backs mandatory preventive care.  Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday [9/2/2007] that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.

Remember Presidents Clinton?  Bill was just half of the 1990s White House duo.  Many argued that Hillary was actually the driving force behind the Clinton co-Presidency, even though Bill was the charismatic face and voice of the administration.  Hillary-Care failed under Bill, but some in America still think that socialized medicine is the answer to our health care challenges.  Nobody believes this more than Hillary, and she has many who agree.

Hospital calls cops and feels the sting.  When the emergency room staff at Northfield City Hospital thought an obviously disturbed patient was about to turn violent, they did what many hospitals do in that situation:  They called the police. … Now federal and state health officials have cited the Northfield hospital for violating the patient's rights.

All Power to the Post Office.  During a recent interview, a talk radio host told me that all private health insurance should be eliminated in order to give us all a reason to work together to make sure the government runs a good health care system. … The same reasoning would require the government to outlaw Federal Express, UPS and other private carriers, and force everyone to use the U.S. Postal Service exclusively.
Collectivism does not work.  The immoral use of government force cannot compel better health care.  Putting us all in a government health care prison will not ensure better health care.  Only freedom can do that.*

Medical Identity Theft Is a Growing Problem.  As a national push to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs) gains steam at all levels of government, a crack in the system is beginning to show:  the threat of medical identity theft.  The theft generally takes one of two forms:  Using another person's name, Social Security number, or insurance information to obtain medical services, or using someone else's identity to falsify insurance claims. Either way, the problem is growing.

Another Bogus Report Card for U.S. Medical Care.  In May, the Commonwealth Fund issued its latest comparison of the U.S. medical system with five other wealthy nations' systems:  Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Great Britain. … It turns out the new study is almost as biased as the WHO's.  The authors write, "The U.S. is the only country in the study without universal health insurance coverage, partly accounting for its poor performance on access, equity, and health outcomes."  I see.  America "underperforms" because we don't have enough government intervention.

Walter Reed Symbolizes Government Health Care.  U.S. Army Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon ... was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which is in Washington, D.C., only a few miles from the White House and Capitol.  Given the strong public sentiment for supporting our troops, and given the rhetoric from politicians about their passion for doing so, you might think this health-care facility would be run with military efficiency.  Not quite.

Putting patients in the game:  Imagine selecting your own health plan, rather than simply accepting the one your employer picks for you.  Picture a plan that you own — that follows you from job to job and place to place.

Talk of universal health care grows.  The most influential effort is undoubtedly in California, the nation's most populous state, where GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this month introduced a bold plan that would provide health care coverage for 6.5 million residents without insurance.

Motorcycle Helmets and Socialized Medicine:  The local Virginia flap of the day is a bill that would allow motorcycle riders to opt out of helmet-wearing.  The argument for mandatory helmets is that head injuries incurred by motorcycle riders cause government agencies and insurance companies to incur costs.  Which is true, of course.  Citizens have given up their right to self-responsibility, to take care of themselves and pay their own bills, to other agencies such as their employers and mis-named insurance companies.

Dallas hospital bills woman who waited 19 hours and never saw a doctor.  A woman says she waited 19 hours at Parkland Memorial Hospital's emergency department for treatment of a broken leg and never did get to see a doctor — but still got a bill for $162.  Amber Joy Milbrodt, who said she broke a bone in her leg while playing volleyball, received the bill two weeks after her Sept. 24 visit.  Parkland officials say the bill was appropriate because a nurse spent time checking her vital signs to assess her level of need.

The Editor says...
Here is a helpful hint for anyone in or near Dallas who needs prompt medical attention:  Stay away from Parkland Hospital.  Parkland is strictly for those who have no means (or intention) of paying the bill after services are rendered.  In other words, the deadbeats, homeless, illegal aliens, and others who have no alternatives.  That is the reason Parkland has become a bottomless pit for tax dollars.  If you are in this country legally and have any money (or credit) at all, there is no reason to depend on Parkland Hospital, except as an example of what socialized medicine will bring to this country.

NY Times:  Canadian Healthcare "Breaking Down".  As the Canadian socialized medicine system breaks down, patients are turning to the free market for medical relief.

What Canada Tells Us About Government Health Care.  [Scroll down] Before we allow the government to burden us with another mammoth entitlement program, however, we might well consider the plight of countries currently employing socialized medicine.  And we need not look very far for an example.  Since the 1960s, Canada has operated a system of socialized medicine, while also forbidding the private sector from insuring medically necessary care.  The verdict:  Canadians pay more for their health care and get less.

Health Care is Not a Right.  Our only rights … are the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.  That's all.  According to the Founding Fathers, we are not born with a right to a trip to Disneyland, or a meal at Mcdonald's, or a kidney dialysis (nor with the 18th-century equivalent of these things).  We have certain specific rights — and only these.  Why only these?  Observe that all legitimate rights have one thing in common:  they are rights to action, not to rewards from other people.  The American rights impose no obligations on other people, merely the negative obligation to leave you alone.

Do we want socialized medicine?  Problems with our health care system are leading some to fall prey to proposals calling for a nationalized single-payer health care system like Canada's or Britain's.  There are a few things that we might take into consideration before falling for these proposals.

Liberals' Plans For Medicare Will Make Private Health Insurance More Expensive.  The liberal plan to reform Medicare is designed in a way that gives drug companies greater incentive to raise drug prices.  Higher drug prices means higher prices for health insurance.

Bogus rights:  Do people have a right to medical treatment whether or not they can pay? … When Congress gives one American a right to something he didn't earn, it takes away the right of another American to something he did earn.

Healing America:  The Free Market Instead of Government Health Care.  Our society has been bedazzled by a host of seductive and erroneous ideas about American medical care:  we can change human nature, and this time we can do it right; we can find the fountain of youth; we can eat from the Tree of Life; and we can surely fly into the Sun with our paraffin wings.  Unfortunately medicine is very well adapted to fuel all of these dangerous illusions.  It is a two-trillion-dollar pot of gold, one seventh of the American economy.  It is certainly a great magnet and motivation for all types of people.

Study Shows Emergency Care is in Critical Condition.  The American College of Emergency Physicians has unveiled the first comprehensive, state-by-state report card on the status of emergency medicine in the United States.  The January study found most states' emergency programs are in critical condition.

Hospitals' hidden danger:  Hospital patients in the United States have to worry about something other than their illness or pending surgery — the very real threat of acquiring an infection while hospitalized, which may be far more serious than the original problem.  These infections, many of which are drug-resistant, affect one in 20 patients — or about 2 million people — each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Hospital infections are the eighth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Financial woes jeopardize area hospitals.  Nearly two dozen private hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties, accounting for up to 15% of beds in the region, are in dire financial straits and in danger of bankruptcy or closure, according to hospital administrators, industry experts and state data.

Heading to Emergency room?  Bring lunch, maybe a pillow, too.  Patients in Ottawa and surrounding areas can expect to spend about 7.4 hours in the emergency department, according to a new report on emergency wait times in Ontario from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. … Across the province, [only] half of patients requiring rescucitation and in life-threatening conditions were seen within six minutes….

Los Angeles Emergency Rooms are Full of Illegal Immigrants.  Sixty percent of the county's uninsured patients are not U.S. citizens.  More than half are here illegally.  About 2 million undocumented aliens in Los Angeles County alone are crowding emergency rooms because they can't afford to see a doctor.

Hospitals:  Heal thyselves.  Is there anyone in America who doesn't know that our hospitals are in trouble, along with the rest of the health care system?  Three reports released last week by the Institute of Medicine confirm that.  As The Washington Post summarized it, "Emergency medical care in the United States is on the verge of collapse."

Unhealthy in Massachusetts.  Thanks to state-imposed regulations requiring companies to charge the same rates to the sick and the healthy, individual health insurance is not always a good deal in Massachusetts, at least for those who are young and healthy.

The way to better, cheaper healthcare:  Don't make it a human right.  Everyone complains about the rising cost of healthcare.  And now is the season when politicians and pundits propose solutions.  Unfortunately, too many of these proposals spring from the wrongheaded notion that healthcare is, as a recent New York Times letter-writer asserted, "a human right and a universal entitlement."  Sounds noble.  But not everything that is highly desirable is a right.

The Vaccine Shortage is a Bad Omen.  The Health and Human Services health care bureaucracy has, for the third time in five years, demonstrated itself incapable of protecting the public health by delivering an inadequate supply of flu vaccine.  This track record raises questions as to the government's ability to run a national health care plan.

Clintoncare vs. Clinton's Care.  Had America had followed his [wife's] lead 10 years ago, President Clinton might not have been able to get his diagnosis and surgery appointment so quickly.  Instead of waiting overnight for an appointment with a cardiologist, he might have had to wait the 3.4 weeks Canadians do.  Instead of waiting three days for quadruple bypass surgery, he might have had to wait more than two weeks.  Instead of receiving care from what Sen. Clinton called "one of the great hospitals in the world," President Clinton might be looking for a safety valve.  Since the Clinton health plan was defeated, untold patients have been aided because America's health-care system, whatever its faults, was not subjected to the shortages and waiting lines that plague other nations.

"Kerry/Kennedy Care" — Prescription for Disaster.  Campaign rhetoric to the contrary, Kerry began the campaign with a voting record well to the left of mainstream.  According to the voting record summarized by Congressional Quarterly, Sen. Kerry voted in lockstep with Sen. Kennedy, the Senate's most liberal member, in each of 10 years between 1985 and 2001.  Over the course of his political career, Kerry has sided with Kennedy 94 percent of the time when key votes were taken on Kennedy's favorite cause:  a government-run national health care plan.

2,000 patients hit by lab test mix-up.  An Internet database – which physicians use to view lab work such as blood and urine tests – mixed up results between patients and posted records under the wrong names.

New York dialysis care named worst.  U.S. government records charge that dialysis care in New York is among the worst in the country.  The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reports on the care given to Type 2 diabetes patients with failing kidneys ranked New York state last out of 18 regions in all three quality measures for 2003 and 2004, The New York Times reported Thursday [12/28/2006].

What's Behind the Flu Vaccine Shortage.  To have a viable vaccine industry, we will have to create the incentive for firms to produce them.  The first and foremost incentive has to be the potential for profitability.  For this to happen the government needs to get out of the business of buying vaccines.

Double trouble speak.  If a hospital charges $58 for a "thermal therapy unit," what is the patient getting for the money?  Answer:  an ice pack.  Suppose a patient spots an "optical illuminator enhancer" entering his room.  Should he be alarmed?  No.  The visitor is a window washer.  If a doctor removes a patient's right kidney when he was supposed to remove the left one, no problem.  It's merely an "error of laterality."

Doctors push mandatory health insurance.  Millions of upper-income Americans refuse to buy health insurance because they're young and healthy and figure they don't need it.  But now the American Medical Association wants to force them to buy coverage.

Nation's ERs at 'breaking point,' study finds.  Half a million times a year — about once every minute — ambulances carrying sick patients are turned away from full emergency rooms and sent to others farther away. … How many people die as a result?  The two-year probe couldn't come up with an answer; there's little tracking of how emergency patients fare after that frantic 911 call or race to the hospital.  But there are troubling clues.  For example, in some cities, emergency workers save half of the victims of cardiac arrest — but in other places, they save merely 5 percent.

Medical Bankruptcy Claims Are Biased and Grossly Exaggerated.  A new article in Health Affairs by David Himmelstein, Elizabeth Warren, Deborah Thorne, and Steffie Woolhandler is summarized in the media as revealing that half of all bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical problems, especially inadequate insurance coverage.  That is certainly an attention-grabbing headline, and the fact that the authors are associated with the Harvard Medical and Law Schools gives the article an air of authority.  But the article is so biased as to be worthless in even identifying a problem, and so grossly exaggerated that it buries rather than illuminates what may very well be a real problem.

Prescription Drug Pricing Attacked and Defended.  At a January meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General in Chicago, critics of the prescription drug industry unleashed a barrage of attacks on the way the industry prices its product.  Most of the criticism was off the mark.

Euthanasia:  Who Needs It?  The push for legalized euthanasia/physician assisted suicide is, to a great extent, the result of a failure of medical training and practice.

Would National Health Insurance Benefit Physicians?  Physicians in the United States are frustrated that paperwork resulting from our system of multiple payers consumes resources that could be used to improve the quality of care.  Most industrialized countries have adopted national health insurance and have reduced or eliminated competition in the medical market place.  They may have less paperwork, but they also have lower compensation and a heavier workload.  Furthermore, it is apparent that they have not provided the same quantity or quality of care that Americans receive.

Political demagoguery:  How many times have we heard the political lament "There are 43 million Americans without health insurance"?  While that observation might very well be true, what are we to make of it?  ... Let's face it:  People who can buy insurance get benefits that those who cannot afford it don't.  Those with lots of money get things that those with little money don't.  Whether we like it or not, these are facts of life.

A healthier choice.  When real issues manage to rise above the smoke and mirrors of political warfare in this exhausting presidential campaign, the cost of health care and medical insurance is just behind terrorism and keeping the country safe in top voter concerns.

Republicans and Health Care:  According to the "GOP Agenda" listed on the Web site of the Republican National Committee, they have some interesting proposals that would reduce government controls and taxes and provide more free market options.  What they have actually done has been in the opposite direction.

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Health Care Reform?  To avoid the backlash Clinton's doomed crusade for universal coverage received, new Democratic proposals are accompanied by claims they will be administratively simple, preserve consumer choice, and won't disrupt the existing health system.

Free health care:  Let's start out by not quibbling with America's socialists' false claim that health-care service is a human right that people should have regardless of whether they can pay for it or not and that it should be free.  Before we buy into this socialist agenda, we might check out just what happens when health-care services are "free."

Feds Seek "Dictatorial Powers" on Health Care:  The federal government is pushing your state legislature to give your governor and health officials sweeping powers that threaten your freedoms.  The so-called Model Emergency Health Powers Act would let the government do everything from seizing private property to forcing vaccinations.

The Pain in Maine Is Dirigo.  Mainers are beginning to have second thoughts about Dirigo health care, the new state-run plan that looks like national health care, sounds like national health care, and acts like national health care.  While the rest of the country is embracing consumer-driven health care in the form of Health Savings Accounts, Maine is about to capture thousands of residents in a state-run health care bureaucracy not unlike what has been tried and failed in Canada and England.

Why It's Time for Faith-Based Health Plans:  Most people today do not really know what is in their health plans – particularly when it comes to issues of medical ethics, including abortion.  A change in the insurance market, coupled with changes in the tax code, could revive faith-based institutions providing health care benefits and faith-based health care delivery.

Howard Dean's Abortion Contortions:  A 1994-1995 AGI survey of abortion patients found that in states where Medicaid pays for abortions, women covered by Medicaid have an abortion rate 3.9 times that of women who are not covered, while in states that do not permit Medicaid funding for abortions, Medicaid recipients are only 1.6 times as likely as nonrecipients to have abortions.  A more recent study by Dr. Michael New of the University of Alabama found:  "State laws restricting the use of Medicaid funds in paying for abortions reduced the abortion rate by 29.66" abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age.

Arizona a Prime Example of Financial Ruin by Medicaid.  According to the report, released in mid-July, Arizona is facing a general fund budget shortfall of more than $1.3 billion in its $10.9 billion budget — a predicament largely caused by the state's expansion of its Medicaid programs, which have grown dramatically as a share of the state's overall expenditures.  In 1987, the report notes, just over 10 percent of the state's budget was dedicated to Medicare expenditures.  By 1992 that percentage was 17.8, and by 2006 it was 22.2.  In fiscal year 2000, Arizona spent $463 million on Medicaid, and in FY 2009 that figure is projected to be $1.5 billion.  That's "a threefold increase in less than a decade," the report notes.

Public-Health Zealots Hit Sour Note.  The choir of anti-obesity fatheads is reaching a crescendo as a new article in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) describes a purported consensus among public-health busybodies in favor of severe restrictions on our favorite foods.

An Epidemic of Obesity Myths:  Overblown rhetoric about the "obesity epidemic" has itself reached epidemic proportions.  Trial lawyers increasingly see dollar signs where the rest of us see dinner.  Activists and bureaucrats are proposing radical "solutions" like zoning restrictions on restaurants and convenience stores, as well as extra taxes and warning labels on certain foods.

Massachusetts Will Try Anything ... Except Markets.  A proposed amendment to the Massachusetts state constitution, which would mandate that lawmakers provide medical insurance to all residents of the state, is the final stage in what critics have long warned would be a downward spiral for private health care insurance caused by state over-regulation.

If fat is an illness, can ugly be far behind?  If obesity, in government-speak, no longer is "not an illness," one can assume it is an illness, and, if it is an illness, it must be covered by Medicare.  The change means that Medicare and Medicaid participants may begin asking for reimbursement for treating excess weight and these requests will be considered.  The implication is HUGE!

Why Is There No Car Insurance Crisis?  Is there something special about health insurance that makes it crisis-prone?  I mean, we never hear about the horrible "house insurance crisis" or the "spiraling cost of auto insurance."

Spurring Lower Prices:  The FDA helped America's prescription drug consumers by not banning authorized generics.

Free Advice for the FDA:  Would we be better off had the FDA been around to ban aspirin back in 1899?  Clearly not.  [But they probably would have.]

The Food and Drug Administration:  Under current law, the Food and Drug Administration must approve all pharmaceuticals and medical devices before they can be marketed.  Although the process is often termed an FDA testing program, that agency does little if any actual testing.

Daring to Question The Welfare State:  Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, in an interview with Financial Times, said, "Able-bodied adults should save enough on a regular basis so that they can provide for their own retirement and, for that matter, health and medical needs."  Shocking!

No Child Left Un-medicated?  The administration's "New Freedom Initiative" envisions "comprehensive mental health screening for 'consumers of all ages,' including preschool children."

ID Cards Coming In The Back Door?  Having had to retreat from legislative attempts to establish a national ID card through Social Security numbers or unique health care identifiers, Congress seems to be trying a new tack to implement this wholly un-American idea.  Congress has suggested that the Department of Transportation develop "model guidelines for encoded data on driver's licenses."

(More about the proposed National ID Card.)

"Patients Bill of Rights" or Federal Takeover of Medicine?  by Ron Paul, MD, U.S. Congressman.

Patients' bill of rights: an unhealthy remedy.

Relief for America's Health Care Titanic:  Over the past few months, congress has been trying to make it easier for employees to sue their employers if they are not happy with their health insurance plans.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Liberal-socialist-statists want to hold employers responsible for the fact that HMOs are so unsatisfactory.  As if employers have any control over what a health insurance company does.  Of course this proposal is being pushed by trial lawyers, who are not content with merely slapping unlimited, nonobjective liability suits on doctors and health insurance companies.  Now they want employers, who provide the health insurance benefit in the first place, to be sued too.

Reforming Medicare:  In a few years, as medical costs escalate and baby boomers retire, Medicare and Social Security will place significant burdens on the federal budget. By 2030, about the midpoint of the baby boomer retirement years, deficits in Social Security and Medicare will require 37 percent of federal income taxes.  This means that within three decades the federal government will either have to eliminate more than one-third of all the income-tax-funded services it currently provides or increase the income tax burden by more than one-third.

Socialized Medicine in 10 Easy Steps:  Republicans have never been big fans of reforming the health insurance system, nor have many of them ever taken the time to learn much about it.  Of course, that won't be a surprise to anyone who has watched Republicans pass one bad piece of health care legislation after another over the past several years.

The "Patient Bill of Rights" is Political Window Dressing:  A health care provider's proposal for a patient bill of rights.

Personal Health and Safety:  Whose Business Is It?  Whose business is it if I don't adequately plan for retirement or save money for my child's education?  If I don't wear a seatbelt while driving or a helmet while biking, whose business is it?

Health News That's Unhealthy:  Television commercials for heartburn, back pain and overactive bladder aren't the worst ailments afflicting network newscasts.  Most of us probably take the commercials with a grain of salt.  But if you examine some of the evening newscasts' medical stories, you may want to start taking them with a gram of salt.

Why Buying Government Bonds is a Bad Investment for Yourself, and Our Future:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spends 80% of its budget on administrative overhead, while private charities are prosecuted for fraud if more than 20-30% of donations goes for staff.  In California, there are an average of 132 administrators for every 100 teachers in the public schools, while there are only 18 per 100 teachers in the parochial schools.  Average cost per high-school student:  $5200 public vs. $2200 private.

Doctors Rap McCain on HMO Lawsuit Bill:  A doctors group says Sen. John McCain has been misinforming the public about doctor support for his "patients' bill of rights."

Patients' Bill of Wrongs:  The Democrats' Bill gives tender loving care to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America who donated $3,637,450 in the 2000 election, 90 percent to Democrats, the Center for Responsive Politics reports.  While these attorneys could sue HMOs for profit, the uninsured would get nothing.  In fact, some one sixth of America's population would stay helplessly trapped in the proverbial doctor's waiting room.  For them, this measure is a Patients' Bill of Wrongs.

Daschle vows to fight veto of patients' rights bill:  Even before the House votes on its version of the patients' bill of rights, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Sunday he's "prepared for a fight" with the White House, which has vowed to veto the version passed by the Senate.

Patients' Bill of Wrongs:  We're from the Senate and we're here to help.

Diagnosis:  Confusion.  The Patients' Bill of Rights is a sure thing, but no one seems to know what it will do.

Profits without honor:  If "obscene profits" are what cause pharmaceutical drugs to cost so much, why haven't socialist countries set up their own government-owned pharmaceutical enterprises to produce drugs more cheaply?

Profits without honor: Part II.  Where there is a product or service of widely recognized value, such as education or medical care, schools and hospitals can attract donations on that basis.  But there are other non-profit organizations which can survive only by inspiring fears and anger that bring in donations.

AARP Loses 45,000 Members Over Support for Medicare Law.  At least 45,000 people have quit the AARP over its support for Medicare legislation last year, association president William Novelli said Friday [1/16/2004].

Civil Rights Commissioner Says Attitude of Movement Must Change:  Peter Kirsanow, the author of "The Health Care Ghetto," says the rhetoric of today's civil rights leaders frequently is infused with defeatism, disillusionment, and a lack of optimism.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2018 by Andrew K. Dart

A look at the British experience with socialized medicine can be found on this page.

Other countries' experiences

How Much Do Canadians Really Pay for Health Care?  The usual talking point single-payer advocates trot out when asked about this goes thus:  According to OECD, health care in the U.S. costs about twice what Canadians pay.  If the single-payer advocate is uncharacteristically articulate for a lefty, they will quote another OECD canard about life expectancy to show that we are paying more money, yet receiving worse overall care.  As it happens, both of these talking points are meaningless.  Canadians pay far more for health care than is commonly believed and life expectancy is useless in determining the quality of a health care system.

Euthanasia Deaths Hit Record High in Belgium.  Why That Matters for the US.  A record number of people died last year under Belgium's 13-year-old euthanasia law, according to an oversight commission.  In 2015, a total of 2,022 Belgians were legally euthanized.  In 2002, the first year the practice was legal, 24 people died by euthanasia.  Since the law took effect, a total of 12,762 people officially have been euthanized, the report by the Belgium Euthanasia Control Commission says.  Belgium's law, the most liberal in the world, makes euthanasia available to anyone who is in "constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated."  Critics argue the definition of "unbearable" is deeply subjective and dependent on a patient's willingness to take pain medication, which is not a requirement under the law.

No, Donald Trump, Single-Payer Health Care Doesn't 'Work Incredibly Well' In Canada & Scotland.  Last night [8/6/2015] in Cleveland, the 17 declared Republican presidential candidates participated in the first official debates of the 2016 election season.  Health care policy was a bone of contention.  "How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single-payer health care?" asked former Texas Gov. Rick Perry of Trump.  When Fox anchor Bret Baier later asked Trump to defend his position, Trump responded:  "As far as single payer, it works in Canada, it works incredibly well in Scotland."  Here's why Trump is wrong. [Video clip]

Health Care Hell in Venezuela.  Another testament to the miracles of socialism:  The health care crisis in Venezuela's hospitals is comparable to what you might see in a war zone, according to a shocking new investigative report.  The Times of London paints a horrifying picture of the country's medical system:  thousands of doctors fleeing the country; doctors pre-emptively performing mastectomies because they don't have the chemotherapy drugs they would need to treat breast cancer; half of the country's hospital beds being unusable; lack of spare parts for sensitive machines, leading to closed operating theaters.

I Lived Through the Real ObamaCare.  In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic all health care was free for everybody!  Oh, what a paradise ... well, until you actually experienced the "worker's paradise," as the communists proudly called it, in real life.

Hugo Chavez Hit By Cuba's Surgical Strike.  Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is dying of cancer in Havana, in a live demonstration of Cuba's vaunted socialized medical care.  He went there instead of Brazil because he wanted to make a political statement.  What irony.

Swedish Boy Waits 20 Hours In Emergency Room, Appendix Bursts During Wait.  I wish I had a nickel for every time a liberal used Sweden as an example for where socialism works.

Baby Joseph Is Going Home.  A Canada court had ruled that under socialized medicine their baby must die in the hospital.  Now he's in the U.S., getting the care his parents, not the bureaucrats, want.

What Doesn't Work.  Vermont has plans to cover everyone.  But why does a state need universal care when there's already a national program?  And haven't lawmakers there learned from their neighbors to the north and south?

Babies who are born at 23 weeks should be left to die, says NHS chief.  Babies born after just 23 weeks of pregnancy or earlier should be left to die, a leading NHS official has said.  Dr Daphne Austin said that despite millions being spent on specialised treatments, very few of these children survive as their tiny bodies are too underdeveloped.

Guess What Greece Has To Jettison?  Greece was told that if it wanted a bailout, it needed to consider privatizing its government health care system.  So tell us again why the U.S. is following Europe's welfare state model.

Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model.  Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Canada-Care's Secret:  A Canadian premier, Danny Williams, said Tuesday he was headed for the U.S. for heart surgery.  That's a bit ironic, given that Democrats hail Canada-care as a model for the U.S. and call our system "broken."

Canada's warning against government health care.  President Obama and congressional Democrats are ramping up efforts to ram through a government takeover of the health care system.  The vast majority of Americans are opposed to this bureaucratic power grab because they know government will do what it always does, which is increase cost while lowering efficiency and service.  In case there's any doubt, all you have to do is look to our neighbor to the north for tales of doom and gloom that come with nationalized health care.

The Health Care Disaster in Canada.  After more than a decade of public health care with mandatory coverage, so many Canadian doctors have left the practice and so many young people have entered other fields that Canada ranks 26th of 28 developed nations in its ratio of physicians to population.  Once, Canada ranked among the leaders in the number of physicians — but that was before government health care drove doctors out of the practice in droves, say columnists Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.

Hospital wouldn't help man having heart attack outside.  An elderly woman with a cane and a heart condition was told to bring her husband into a Nova Scotia hospital on her own or call 911 after he suffered a heart attack 10 metres from the facility's front door, the couple's son said Friday [12/4/2009].

Canada's Healthcare System is Bad Medicine.  The failure of Canada's experiment with socialist medicine is readily apparent:  long waiting lists and wait times for specialized services, conveyor-belt treatment for routine services, chronic shortages of family doctors and hospital beds, gross inefficiencies, slow innovation, stifling and wasteful bureaucracies, warring "special-interest" groups, and the exodus of good doctors to greener, freer pastures.

Hospitals have dramatically reduced unnecessary deaths.  A campaign to reduce lethal errors and unnecessary deaths in U.S. hospitals has saved an estimated 122,300 lives in the last 18 months.

Rebuttal to the article above:  Is it just me, or have "lies, damn lies and statistics" simply become the norm in the media?  With 6731 hospitals in total in the US, this implies that the measures, if applied to all would have saved over 265,000 lives in the last 18 months, or 177,000 per year — almost twice the upper estimate of those dying from errors and low-quality care.

Canada's medical gulag:  Canada is not a communist country.  Really, it's not — except when it comes to medical care. … Canada is the only industrialized country that actually prohibits citizens from privately contracting for medical care.  In other words, no matter how much money Canadians can afford to pay, they're stuck in the public's health care system waiting and waiting and waiting for care.

Information system for Lisbon hospitals stopped for ten days.  Lisbon newspaper "O Público" reports that the main information system for the Lisbon Hospital Center, which supports three large Lisbon hospitals, has not worked since July 8.  It appears that the master patient index has become inaccessible, and may be lost. … The waiting list for surgery also appears lost, although that has not been confirmed.

Canada's Medical Nightmare:  For decades, Canadians have cast pitying glances at us poor American neighbors who actually have to pay for our medical care while they get theirs for "free."  Yet the major candidates in Canada's recent national election both agreed the country's health care system is failing.  They made the usual socialist diagnosis of "not enough money."  None of the candidates mentioned government control as what ails the Canadian system.  On this side of the border, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), with presidential candidate Senator John Kerry, also from Massachusetts, in tow, promotes Canadian health care to U.S. voters, in the hope we too can have "free" medical care.

Canadian Health Care System Nears Collapse.  In no-nonsense language cutting across their diverse political stripes, Canadian provincial premiers lashed out at the federal government for reducing its share of provincial health care budgets at a time when costs are rising 10 percent a year.

Do we want this?  America's socialists advocate that we adopt a universal healthcare system like our northern neighbor Canada. … In order to prop up government-delivered medical care, Quebec and other Canadian provinces have outlawed private health insurance.

Socialized Failure: Dissecting health-care data from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.  The health-care systems of all developed countries face three unrelenting problems:  rising costs, inadequate quality, and incomplete access to care.  A slew of recent articles, published mainly in medical journals, suggest that the health-care systems of other countries are superior to ours on all these fronts.  Yet the articles are at odds with a substantial economic literature. ... The American health-care system has plenty of problems.  But it is not inferior to other developed countries' systems — and we should therefore not be looking to these systems, most of which are characterized by heavy government intervention, for inspiration.

Canadians seeking health care have a 'wait problem'.  Unfortunately, as a lifelong resident of Canada, getting medical care is no simple task.  Luckily, you generally don't have a problem seeing your general practitioner — unlike some 17 percent of your compatriots who do not have a GP, or what Americans call a primary care doctor.  But seeing a specialist in your native land is almost always a nightmare.

Socialized Medicine, an International Tour.  As more and more Americans wise up to the perils of British and Canadian health care, liberals have shifted to touting other socialized systems.  But none of those other countries have found a way to suspend the laws of economics, either.

One third of patients encounter problems with NHS.  Almost one in three patients in Scotland experience problems with their NHS care, but it goes unrecorded because many believe nothing will be done.  A report commissioned by the Scottish Health Council highlighted poor communication and staff attitude as the most persistent problems, but found "significant" barriers to making a complaint.

Government-run health care in Philadelphia:  about as efficient as you'd expect.  What a surprise:  in a government-run health care system, patients are treated to delay after delay in being seen and treated.  Well, that's what happens in Canada and the United Kingdom and the other socialized medicine countries, isn't it?

Canadian Health Care We So Envy Lies In Ruins, Its Architect Admits.  Back in the 1960s, [Claude] Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies.  The government followed his advice, leading to his modern-day moniker:  "the father of Quebec medicare."  Even this title seems modest; Castonguay's work triggered a domino effect across the country, until eventually his ideas were implemented from coast to coast.

Dying for Universal Healthcare — British Patients Starved and Left in Ambulances.  If we think we want universal healthcare first we need to make a few reality checks.  It hasn't worked in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Russia.  There are some alarming health abuses going on in the United Kingdom recently noted by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and others.  To meet U.K. government targets, which require emergency department patients to be treated within four hours, thousands of patients are kept in ambulances outside the department for hours.

Poor Value For Your Tax Dollars.  Canadians are funding the developed world's second most expensive universal access health insurance system. ... In 2008, the median wait time from general practitioner referral to treatment by a specialist was 17.3 weeks in Canada.

Woe, Canada!  A leaked report shows that Vancouver's health authority is considering cutting thousands of surgeries to balance the budget.  However organized, government-run health care inevitably leads to rationing.

Obamacare failed in Europe.  President Barack Obama's proposed "public insurance option" for universal health coverage seems logical:  A large public insurance fund will provide quality coverage for the uninsured and force competing insurers to lower costs.  In practice, though, one needs only look at what decades of government health care have done to ramp up the financial and quality problems endured by Britain and France.

Canada's ObamaCare Precedent:  Congressional Democrats will soon put forward their legislative proposals for reforming health care.  Should they succeed, tens of millions of Americans will potentially be joining a new public insurance program and the federal government will increasingly be involved in treatment decisions.  Not long ago, I would have applauded this type of government expansion.  Born and raised in Canada, I once believed that government health care is compassionate and equitable.  It is neither.

A look at Sweden's way.  Government health care advocates once sang the praises of Britain's National Health Service (NHS).  That's until its poor delivery of health care services became known.  A recent study by David Green and Laura Casper, "Delay, Denial and Dilution," written for the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, concludes that the NHS health care services are just about the worst in the developed world.

Dignitas founder plans assisted suicide of healthy woman.  The founder of the Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas was criticised yesterday after revealing plans to help a healthy woman to die alongside her terminally ill husband.  Ludwig Minelli described suicide as a "marvellous opportunity" that should not be restricted to the terminally ill or people with severe disabilities. ... Mr Minelli said that anyone who has "mental capacity" should be allowed to have an assisted suicide, claiming that it would save money for the NHS.

Vive Le French Care?  Health care in France is often held up as a model the U.S. might follow.  Yet the French have their own problems that show there's no such thing as a free lunch — or a free doctor's visit.

What's the Canadian word for 'lousy care'?  I was once denied treatment at a Detroit hospital because the receptionist's computer refused to acknowledge that the United Kingdom existed.  Even though I had a wad of cash, and a wallet full of credit cards, she was prepared to let me explode all over her desk because her stupid software only recognised addresses in the United States.  Some say America should follow Canada's lead, where private care is effectively banned.  But having experienced their procedures while on holiday in Quebec, I really don't think that's a good idea at all.

Give Me Liberty... or Give Me Health Care?  The French system has been described as one that avoids rationing; where doctors have freedom to prescribe whatever treatment and order whatever tests they want; and where a resident of France gets whatever service he or she desires, regardless of ability to pay.  Can it really be that good?  No.  Could we emulate it?  For the sake of freedom and prosperity, let's hope not.

The Revolt Up North.  A return to private health care is rising from the grass roots north of the border.  While we rush headlong toward socialized medicine, Canadians are saying, "No, thanks — been there, done that."

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Updated April 23, 2018.

©2018 by Andrew K. Dart