Even the Communist Chinese Think Canada’s Socialist Healthcare Is Dumb

So some Chinese government officials wanted to learn a bit about Canadian healthcare. It seems they were baffled by the stupidity of our system.

Becky Akers writes:

Ah, Canadian medicine! Single-payer, socialist paradise, totally “free” (sic for “paid for by others”)! As American communists continue their attempts to nationalize the entire medical industry, not just the insurance companies that pay for it, they insist that Canada’s method is the world’s best.

Alas, “Chinese government officials” who know a thing or two about totalitarianism disagree. A group of them visited our northern neighbors because they were “interested in learning about Canada’s health care system.” “…[O]ne of British Columbia’s regional health authorities … had only begun outlining” how things work there, yet “already his guests seemed confused.”

He started explaining the basic principles again, in even simpler terms: The government decides what are medically necessary procedures and those procedures are covered by universal health insurance, free at the point of delivery.

…Residents cannot go outside the system and pay for their own medically-necessary treatments, unless they want to travel to another country.

“Stop there,” the translator said. “It’s that last part that is confusing the delegation. They think you’re saying that Canadians cannot spend their own money on medically-necessary health care.”

Yes, he assured them, that’s right.

The translator pressed him: “You mean to say that if you’re sick and want to pay for treatment, that you aren’t allowed to? Even though it’s your own money and there is a doctor willing to accept it?”

Yes, that’s right.

There was a pause as the translator relayed the answer to the delegation and the delegation conferred among themselves. Finally, the translator spoke up: “They say that even the Chinese communist system is not this restrictive!”

And this potentially fatal authoritarianism is many Americans’ ideal, the scheme they hope to inflict here.

— Thanks to LRC

Public Healthcare = Not Enough Healthcare, Then You Die

A young Ontario girl with cancer recently died even though she had donors available for her needed bone marrow transplant.

The bureaucracy stuck her on a waiting list because the public healthcare system could not provide her with a hospital bed when she needed it.

Typical public healthcare.

CMR Law 22: Public healthcare means less healthcare. The system comes with a built-in incentive that favors dead patients — after all, when you’re dead, they don’t need to take care of you any more.

 

Negligence of Public Healthcare Employees Leads to Dead Baby

In 2012, a public sector nurse’s laziness and negligence resulted in the death of sick baby that was likely preventable.

“Sorry about that,” the health minister said Monday, after a damning report  was released on the matter.

The story goes deeper than the scornful disregard of one bad nurse, however.

Numerous complaints were lodged against the nurse and nothing was ever done. The complaints were essentially buried. Instead, the nurse was promoted, endangering the community.

Typical public sector rewards for typical public sector job performance.

The system itself protected the bad nurse from any repercussion for her awful behavior. Does this sound like a good nurse that should have taxpayer funded salary and benefits?

Some of the accusations were shocking: that McKeown brought a premature baby awaiting medical evacuation to a party in the nearby nurse’s residence where others were smoking; that she rebuffed a woman bleeding after a hysterectomy and told her to consult the faraway hospital that did the operation; and that she’d misdiagnosed other patients.

When the market provides a service, customers are welcomed. Businesses earn their income to the extent they serve customers.

Government services expropriate their resources through taxation. To government employees, the taxpayer-customer is a nuisance that sucks up resources.

So you get lazy, contemptuous public sector workers like the Nunuvut nurse in this tragic story and it’s virtually impossible to fire them unless someone’s baby dies.

Is Quebec’s Valeant (VRX) a Wall Street Ponzi Scheme?

David Stockman says so.

Politicians Are Bad for Your Health

In politics, a classic strategy for dealing with legitimate criticism is to ignore the real issue and just whine about “personal attacks.”

This is a common tactic relied upon by both the right and the left. We see this in the reaction to Conservative Party VP Jordan Lien’s criticism of Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman’s ban of menthol cigarettes.

According to the internet, the following Facebook comment is very bad:

bigboned

The reaction to this was extremely unfavorable to Lien. People called it “dumb,” “sexist,” “insensitive,” “irrelevant,” “misogynistic” (!), and so forth. One PC party drama queen named Warren Mitchell even declared he was ripping up his membership card in disgust. “I’m done with this *$@%^ party.”

Well, it is a *$@%^ party. But seriously, let’s look at this issue in some detail.

Lien actually raises a completely legitimate point that is lost amidst the chorus of inauthentic outrageHere is the issue:

If it is justified to ban menthol cigarettes for the sake of “public health,” shouldn’t we ban other tasty but unhealthy things? Obesity, like smoking, also uses up resources in the health care system. A 2010 report estimated that direct costs of overweight and obesity represented $6 billion — which is 4.1 % of Canada’s total health care budget.

Serious money.

So, following the logic of Health Minister Hoffman and the Alberta government, perhaps things like candy, soda, fast food, and other wonderful treats that make life worth living should be banned as well.

If not, why not?

A wannabe social engineer like Hoffman cannot provide a reasonable answer. The problem with social engineers, whether they are on the left or right, is that there is no limiting principle to their philosophy. Once a person accepts intervention as an acceptable policy, then any limitation to the intervention is essentially arbitrary. So why not ban everything that is unhealthy, and force everyone to be healthy? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

To be consistent, Sarah Hoffman should want to ban all the things that have made her obese on the same grounds as her ban on menthol cigarettes. Otherwise, we will have a less healthy society.

“Every Albertan should be able to enjoy a life free of preventable tobacco related disease,” Hoffman pontificated as she announced her government’s menthol cigarettes ban.

“Every Albertan should be able to enjoy a life free of preventable tobacco obesity related disease,” she could be saying on the exact same grounds.

“These changes will help make smoking less attractive to youth,” she declared.

“These changes will make smoking eating too much less attractive to youth,” she could have said.

If not, why not?

Most people realize that it is absurd to ban everything that is unhealthy, but they lack principles and are happy to ban things they don’t like — but don’t ban anything unhealthy they like, oh no.

Sarah Hoffman may not smoke menthol cigarettes, but her variety of unhealthy lifestyle is also subsidized by taxpayers and also unpleasant for other people.

The only justified solution to this problem is the government should neither ban menthol cigarettes nor unhealthy foods. This is the only consistent and sane conclusion.

Behavior controls are a type of socialism where the negative effects on society are often neglected. Yet it is irrefutable that such controls lead to economic impoverishment. However, even most economists fail to understand this.

Firstly, behavior controls directly concern the use one can make of his or her own body. If the government imposes restrictions on how one can use one’s body, then one will value one’s body less than otherwise. It is important to understand the incentive here: if the government restricts the ways in which one can use one’s own body, it reduces the degree of ownership one has over oneself. Real ownership means exclusive use and control. One way to think of it is like leasing one’s body from the government, and not owning it oneself. You can use the body for approved activities only.

The actual consequence of this is that people will be less likely to invest in themselves, and they will be more likely to “consume their human capital” — in other words, a person will tend to treat his body less well than if one had “full ownership” of it. It is this economic truth that underlies the idea that giving people freedom makes them more responsible (something many find counter-intuitive).

Secondly, and in a more general sense, as with all forms of political interference, this form of regulation hurts one group and benefits another. The group that can no longer perform certain (non-aggressive) activities is worse off than before, while the group that does not want to tolerate the objectionable behavior (like smoking or eating too much fast food) is better off. More specifically, the producers and users of the things whose consumption is now restricted are the ones who suffer. The ones who benefit are the non-producers and non-users of the goods in question. This encourages people to allocate their efforts towards non-productive activities and discourages productive activities. This makes society poorer.

And it is not a good argument to say we need to ban something because it costs the health care system more money. The very nature of socialized health care is to subsidize unhealthy lifestyles. It is impossible for socialized health care not to do this. So you must either accept that this is an inherent feature of your precious public health care or you must reject public health care. Either way, one must reject banning unhealthy choices for this reason.

At this point, someone might even accept this basic economic argument but protest, “Hey, that’s fine but he shouldn’t have said she was morbidly obese! That’s not nice!”

If a woman said the same thing but health minister was a fat man, the outrage would be virtually nonexistent. People would probably think it was funny. But that’s not the point.

Lien could have made his point with no reference to her physique, that is true. Rhetorically, it was very effective to do so. No one would actually deny that the health minister is obese. Obviously, Sarah Hoffman is a rather large woman. It even seems highly plausible that she is morbidly obese if we use the roughest definition, which is simply 25% above a woman’s “ideal weight.”

His comment simultaneously highlighted the arbitrariness of the law and the hypocrisy of a person with one unhealthy tax-subsidized lifestyle banning someone else’s tax-subsidized unhealthy lifestyle. A reasonable person who is not desperate to be as offended as humanly possible should understand this. So it is good to point out the inconsistent principle to illustrate the point.

It’s like people who like to drink alcohol for whatever reason and want snorting coke to be illegal, or vice versa. Such principles are arbitrary, cruel, and hypocritical. “So let me get this straight,” someone says, “this coke-snorting politician wants to ban alcohol? Give me a break.”

The nature of socialist health care is that it functions as mandatory medical insurance where everyone is pooled together, so people acting in healthy ways will always be pooled with people acting in unhealthy ways. If you want socialist health care, you need to shut up and deal with it.

Anyway, the whole incident reminds me of the classic South Park episode, “Butt Out,” where the comically compulsive over-eater Rob Reiner campaigns fanatically against smoking.

Jordan Lien should have stood up for himself, but instead he gave a pathetic apology like a whiny loser.

If people were serious about public health and justice, they would focus on the substance of the issue. Instead, they are complaining about evil conservative men trying to “keep women down” and “fat shaming.” A dumb politician guy said something mean… on the internet. The horror! And everyone is in a competition to be more and more offended than everyone else, which is how one gets street cred in the attention-seeking world of social media. Apparently, that’s all that matters.

Canada’s Socialist Healthcare and Its Cruel Treatment of Seniors

Canadians are rather deluded. Many of us like to think we have a wonderful healthcare system, but it is just a pathetic lie people tell themselves because it’s easier to believe in a fantasy than learning anything about economics and the nature of government ‘services.’

Among the most disgraceful aspects of Canada’s healthcare system is how it mistreats old people who need to be taken care of.

Let’s say you have a grandmother who has lost the ability to take care of herself and now requires professional daily assistance. She overdoses on some medication because she can’t keep track of how many pills she has taken in a day. Your family takes her to the hospital emergency. After a week in the intensive care unit, your grandmother is moved to the “temporary stabilization” ward for old folks awaiting transfer to a private facility. Of course there were assurances by hospital staff as to comfort and care.

Instead, this is what Grandma gets:

This new room they moved my grandmother into is a disgrace. It’s like a mental institution for old people. People all around are screaming and crying and shitting themselves. There are four people in my grandmother’s room and it is the size of a closet. Grandma is having a nap and asked me to stay beside her bed while she sleeps and not leave her here alone. She said she is tired from crying all day. What a disaster. This place is the last place on earth I would want her to be. I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I leave her here. It’s absolutely horrific. The women in the bed across from her shit the bed and the whole room is making me want to puke. They put alarms on all the old people and if they move from a chair, bed, or anywhere they are placed it goes off with inhumane loudness. The one lady with a soiled bed has gone off four times since I’ve been here, And she said, “For God’s sake you can’t even move in this place with that alarm scaring the heck out of you.”

This is transcribed from the first-person account of a visiting family member. Does it sound like a place you would want your grandmother to be?

This is what our tax money pays for. What a joke. It isn’t even healthcare. It’s just warehousing sick old people. It reminds me a lot of Yuri Maltsev’s stories about Communist Russia’s hospitals.

Socialist healthcare cannot be fixed. If Canadians really had compassion instead of merely the pretense of it, they would demand our healthcare system be completely defunded and all restrictions on the provision of private healthcare be eliminated.

Instead, Canadians will continue to believe the lie and the healthcare system will remain atrocious.

Canadian Healthcare: As Little Care As Possible

Few people realize what is implied with public healthcare. Government services are funded through taxation. They receive money irrespective of their service to the customer. This is why the public sector is so frequently characterized by incompetence, waste, carelessness, laziness, mistreatment, and delusion (“we serve the public good”).

Unlike a normal business, which is rewarded based on how much its output satisfies the consumer, the government services regard the consumer as a burden that consumes resources that it has already taken. Why should it be encouraged to provide good service? Hence, the tendency will always be for public services to maximize the cost, and minimize the actual service provided.

Some recent stories out of B.C. provide classic illustrations. Delta Hospital recently sent home a blind 90-year-old lady home by herself in the middle of the night with a bleeding arm and wrapped in a bed sheet.

In another case, a 76-year-old lady was at Mount St. Joseph for two weeks with pneumonia and anemia. She was sent home, when her condition was obviously still delicate. At home she kept drifting in and out of consciousness, so her son returned her to the hospital, where she collapsed on arrival.

After six hours, the hospital declared she should stay overnight. The son went home to gather some things for his mother. When he returned less than three hours later, he was informed his mother had been sent home.

2012 hospital discharge complaint

Seniors are treated especially poorly by public hospitals

She was sent home in a taxi, alone and afraid, with no ID, no money, no keys to her home, and hospital staff had dressed her in someone else’s clothes.

For government services, the consumer is a burden that needs to be sent home as soon as possible, with or without proper care having been administered. This is especially reprehensible in the healthcare system, where our seniors are systematically mistreated by contemptuous staff.

— Read more at CBC.ca —

Ron Paul in Calgary

Last Friday, I attended the Ron Paul speech at the “Making Alberta Safe for Capitalism” summit.  This was at the Westin Ballroom in downtown Calgary. I was among approximately 300 attendees, which included financial professionals, publishers, IT nerds, engineers, students, neocons, and more.

I would like to note how this attracted virtually NO media attention. I do not think there is any “conspiracy” here — rather, it is simply due to Ralph Klein’s memorial service being held at the same time. We all know how the media loves to fill its time with the glorification dead politicians whenever the opportunity presents itself. This week, they’ve got Thatcher.

Besides, Ron Paul’s ideas make Canadians uncomfortable. Most people don’t want to talk about such things.

Ron Paul’s speech was basically what you would expect if you’ve been following him for the last few years. I’ve been watching Ron Paul’s political career since 1998, so I was very familiar with all the themes: personal responsibility, free markets, small government, anti-war, and anti-central banking. Still, it was great to pay respects to someone who is more than just an honorable statesman (a contradiction in terms when applied to anyone else), but a man whose efforts have done more for the liberty movement than anyone else in the modern era.

Having retired from politics, this was Ron Paul without any filter that might have previously been imposed by the realities of being in political office. Yet since his message has always been fundamentally radical, there was no difference with post-politics Ron Paul. The message is just as unfavorable to economic, social, and imperial intervention as ever.

At various points throughout the speech, I would look around to gauge the response to certain statements. How delightful to see various attending neocons squirm uneasily when Paul declared there should be no income tax. Some folks scowled at the suggestion to replace government welfare entirely with private charity. Otherwise, the ideas of less spending, less tax, less regulation, and more civil liberties were received favorably. Paul age and manner makes is a kind, wise grandfatherly figure — part of his great success is due to his ability to convey radical arguments in favor of liberty while making them seem completely non-controversial.

The biggest opportunity that was missed in Dr Paul’s speech was HEALTHCARE. If there is a sacred cow in Canadian politics, it’s definitely government healthcare. Without a doubt, government healthcare is a disaster, and Canadians need to learn why it will always be awful regardless of the huge piles of money thrown at it. Unfortunately, healthcare was not covered at all in Dr Paul’s remarks. Too bad. Huge missed opportunity, I think.

He is a medical doctor and an economist who can speak with authority on the failings of public healthcare. He is also old enough to speak about American healthcare system before the government became heavily involved. Before Medicaid, Medicare, the HMO Act of ’73, and so on, there was relatively little government intervention with the provision of healthcare. Basic medical services were cheap and plentiful, and a greater portion of the population had health insurance compared with now. The audience would have greatly benefited from hearing his insights on this subject. He has effectively explained the necessity of free markets in medical care — it is a message Canadians desperately need to hear from somewhere. Virtually no one will touch the issue of public healthcare in this country. We will all be worse off as long as this condition persists.

I would have also liked to hear more war-related remarks. Essentially, anything that applies to the US wasting lives and money on Afghanistan applies to Canada as well. Paul spoke about Iraq more than Afghanistan — which is fine in and of itself, but Canada was not seriously involved in Iraq. Our participation in Afghanistan is another story. Sadly, Afghanistan is an issue that people barely seem to care much about. If they do, it’s because they are dumb enough to think we have Canadian forces there “fighting for our freedom.” Yuck. The lack of interest is even more critical now, because Obama has declared he is “bringing the troops home” in 2014. This is typical government strategy: declare “victory!” and suddenly no one cares anymore. Just like Iraq, where there was never any “victory”, and as I write this the country continues tearing itself apart.

Ron Paul’s speech included a few “fanservice” parts for the Calgarian audience:

He said, “Ralph Klein sounds like a guy I might have liked.” Fair enough, given the memorial was that day, and Klein actually did cut spending at one point.  So that’s cool, whether or not Klein was a principled friend of liberty.

He also gave his support to the Keystone XL — with the important qualification that one can get the permission of property owners, the government should not stand in the way of pipeline construction. This is an rather critical proviso, because in reality pipeline construction does involve government takings/expropriations. Remember: in Canada, the Crown owns all the land as a matter of law.

Anyone who attended this event specifically for Ron Paul could be described as “cutting-edge.” Canadians are not generally ready for the radical Paulian message. For many Americans, there is the emotional connection to ideas of independence, revolution and decentralization, even these are not embraced in practice. The Paulian message can get its hooks in that. For Canadians, the state is endlessly glorified in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. There is no element within our culture that reinforces skepticism about state power. The closest thing to this is Albertans’ memories of the NEP, but that is a regional sentiment and it is being gradually overwhelmed with the pleas for more government.

I hope that the mere fact that Ron Paul has visited Canada to give pro-capitalism speeches indicates that there is a growing audience for the message of liberty in this country. Just as the 20th century demonstrated communism was a lie, the 21st century will show us that democracy is a lie. Democracy’s death throes will be earth-shattering. Liberty’s natural elite must spread and shine the light through dark times, so that a better age may yet emerge.

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