Friday, November 14, 2008

Universal Healthcare

Lately, there's been a lot of buzz about Obama instituting universal health care within a year or two (even the first 100 days). Whenever this topic comes up, an endless list of comparisons between American and European/Canadian health care ensues. One of the counterarguments I find most annoying is the assertion that universal health care is bad because of wait times. Apparently the average wait time for an MRI in the U.S. is 2 days and in Canada is greater than 100. There are three scenarios I can come up with:
1. Under a system of universal health care people go in all willynilly for MRIs because they're fun. These crazy patients just sign themselves up for MRIs; they don't have to be referred by a doctor.
2. Doctors in universal health care systems don't know how to perform tests other than MRIs that doctors in America know how to do, so instead of simpler in-office tests, they send all of their patients into the 100 day line for an MRI.
3. In America everyone who needs an MRI doesn't get one because they can't afford it or are too lazy to get an appointment. This scenario implies that the richest country in the world doesn't see it as a moral issue that everyone is given the health care they need, or they do see it as a moral issue, but don't really give two shits.

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