Truth: An Antidote to Sicko
Having watched Michael Moore’s latest bit of propaganda — Sicko, about the evil of American healthcare in comparison to saintly socialism — a bit more closely than is probably healthy, David Gratzer felt compelled to offer another view:
Consider, for instance, Mr. Moore’s claim that ERs don’t overcrowd in Canada. A Canadian government study recently found that only about half of patients are treated in a timely manner, as defined by local medical and hospital associations. “The research merely confirms anecdotal reports of interminable waits,” reported a national newspaper. While people in rural areas seem to fare better, Toronto patients receive care in four hours on average; one in 10 patients waits more than a dozen hours.
This problem hit close to home last year: A relative, living in Winnipeg, nearly died of a strangulated bowel while lying on a stretcher for five hours, writhing in pain. To get the needed ultrasound, he was sent by ambulance to another hospital.
In Britain, the Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients wait more than a year for surgery. Around the time Mr. Moore was putting the finishing touches on his documentary, a hospital in Sutton Coldfield announced its new money-saving linen policy: Housekeeping will no longer change the bed sheets between patients, just turn them over. France’s system failed so spectacularly in the summer heat of 2003 that 13,000 people died, largely of dehydration. Hospitals stopped answering the phones and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves.
No wonder, Gratzer observes, single-payer systems worldwide are beginning to make way for private healthcare, even as Western dead-enders push for the only fair system — one in which the wealthy can travel great distances and pay high prices for rapid service while the average shmoe is forced into compliance with Darwin’s prescription.
Sheesh! What do we plebs think “privilege” means?