Saturday, August 01, 2009

Be careful what you pray for

I've been watching on Facebook recently as some friends (who almost certainly don't read this blog, and who are unknown to anyone who does read this blog) advocate Obamacare. I've kept my mouth shut. I'm not overwhelmingly surprised to see them do so, for various reasons, just a bit inclined to sigh. One of them said, "If Obama thinks he can do better, why not let him have a shot at it? It can't be worse than it is." How is one to respond to such a comment? Obama--like a kid with matches and gasoline. But hey, if he thinks by lighting the gas in the middle of the living room he can improve the decor, why not let him have a shot at it? It can't be worse than it is.


They should be careful what they wish for. They might get it. So, for the "can't be worse than it is" file, here is a story of the experience one family had with the wonders of socialized medicine up north in Canada. Short version--their daughter had to wait for hours with a horribly broken arm while stony-eyed receptionists made them stick to their place in line behind the sore throats. Then she was put on morphine for hours. Then she was sent immediately into surgery, where the combination of morphine for hours followed immediately by general anesthesia nearly killed her. She survived and is fine now, but none of it should have happened.

I do really wish that people who want to go in with an axe, or let our Reckless Reformer-in-Chief go in with an axe, and "try to make things better" would stop a little and count their blessings first.



William Luse said...

"It can't be worse than it is."

Yep, that's the line that stopped me. What freaking country do they think they're living in? Maybe I've just been lucky, but throughout my life I've had excellent medical care, even when the givers of it knew I couldn't afford it. Every day people from the poorest walks of life - who have been stabbed, shot or od'd on drugs - are carted into emergency rooms and saved from death by our terrible health care system. And they move to the head of the line because our emergency rooms triage, with no regard for who's got the money. You and I probably pay for a lot of that. Is that what's so bad about our system? When they say "it can't be worse than it is," are they talking about the fact that some people can't afford insurance, or the actual care itself? Because the only thing that matters to me is the latter.

Say rather that, compared to the rest of the world, "it can't get much better."

Lydia McGrew said...

Exactly, Bill. I find that people who are pushing for some sort of radical change in the socialist direction of our healthcare persistently make an unjustified assumption that all else will remain equal. That assumption dogs socialist schemes of all kinds. The idea is that you can take some good--healthcare, in this case--and just "spread it around" to everybody by government intervention, while the quality of the good thing remains the same as before. People with that mindset _will not_ understand that all does not remain equal when you start doing that. The quality suffers. So when you talk to them about the wonderful quality of our healthcare system, then, in turn, grumble about 19-year-olds working at McDonald's who don't have health insurance. To them, the great evil is that not everybody has equal access, and they assume they can make this huge change, giving government enormously more power over the system, and the quality will remain the same but more people will simply have insurance. Balderdash. It's the standard assumption that there is such a thing as a free lunch and that Santa Claus drops off goods and services overnight when countries socialize some industry.

As I've said to my daughter a number of times in discussing economics, when you establish an entitlement to bananas, you get a banana shortage.

Lydia McGrew said...

By the way, as you know, I've had occasion to experience American healthcare recently. It has been excellent. Good, smart doctors in the ER, and no long wait.