|This GUEST eCOLUMN is
used by MyBestYears.com
with special permission
from Dr. Walter Williams.
Dr. Williams serves on
the faculty of George
Mason University as
John M. Olin
Economics and is the
author of More Liberty
The story is no better in Canada's national health care system. The Vancouver, British
Columbia-based Fraser Institute has a yearly publication titled, "Waiting Your Turn." Its
2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person's referral by a general
practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology
(4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks),
followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).
Canadians face significant Finally, the median wait for an ultrasound was 3.8 weeks across Canada, but in
waiting times for various
diagnostics such as
computed tomography (CT),
magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI) and ultrasound scans.
The median wait for a CT
scan across Canada was 4.3
weeks, but in Prince Edward
Island, it's 9 weeks. A
Canadian's median wait for
an MRI was 10.3 weeks, but
in Newfoundland, patients
waited 28 weeks.
Manitoba and Prince Edward Island it was 8 weeks.
Despite the long waiting times Canadians suffer, sometimes resulting in death, under
federal law, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide services covered by the
Canada Health Act. Regardless of this prohibition, a few black-market clinics service
patients who are willing to break the law to get treatment. In British Columbia, for
example, Bill 82 provides that a physician can be fined up to $20,000 for accepting
fees for surgery. According to a Canada News article, "Shortage of Doctors and
Nurses Could Hurt Medicare Reforms" (3/5/03), about 10,000 doctors left Canada
during the 1990s.
There's help for some One of the attractions is that an MRI, which can take anywhere from 10 to 28 weeks in
According to a Canadian
Medical Association Journal
article, "U.S. Hospitals Use
Waiting-List Woes to Woo
"British Columbia patients fed
up with sojourns on waiting
lists as they await tests or
treatment are being wooed
by a hospital in Washington
state that has begun offering
package deals. A second U.
S. hospital is also
considering marketing its
Canada, can be had in two days at Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles, Wash.
Already, Cleveland is Canada's hip-replacement center.
Some of our politicians hold up the Canadian and British nationalized health care
systems as models for us. You can bet that should we ever have such a system, they
would exempt themselves from what the rest of us would have to endure.
There's a cure for our health care problems. That cure is not to demand more
government but less government. I challenge anyone to identify a problem with health
care in America that is not caused or aggravated by federal, state and local
governments. And, I challenge anyone to show me people dying on the streets
because they don't have health insurance.
DR. WALTER WILLIAMS
...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.
London's Observer (3/3/02) carried a story saying that an
"unpublished report shows some patients are now having
to wait more than eight months for treatment, during which
time many of their cancers become incurable."
Another story said, "According to a World Health
Organisation report to be published later this year,
around 10,000 British people die unnecessarily from
cancer each year—three times as many as are killed
on our roads."
The Observer (12/16/01) also reported, "A recent
academic study showed National Health Service
delays in bowel cancer treatment were so great that,
in one in five cases, cancer which was curable at the
time of diagnosis had become incurable by the time
|"Some of our
politicians hold up
the Canadian and
health care systems
as models for us.
You can bet that
should we ever
have such a
system, they would
from what the rest
of us would have to