Well, if he’s upsetting them…
When you’re being forced to endure another rabid Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) soliloquy on Obamacare’s threat to human freedom, it’s easy to forget how absurd our health-care debate seems to the rest of the civilized world. That’s why it’s bracing to check in with red-blooded, high testosterone capitalists north of the border in Canada — business leaders who love Canada’s single-payer system (a regime far to the “left” of Obamacare) and see it as perfectly consistent with free market capitalism.
This is a game that is rather easy to play: you go find six Canadians who love the health care system there and I’ll find six who had to wait three months for a procedure they could have scheduled, had done and healed from in three weeks here. Usually when it is bad up there, it’s not bad for the guy getting sinus surgery, it is usually bad for the guy who needs a new kidney.
Still, the real point is that, like all redistributive social fantasies, it really only works well when there is a less socialist option to flee to. If every country on Earth went socialist tomorrow, someone would find a way to colonize the moon and make it a tax haven before the government got to all of his/her capital.
One of the main reasons the non-socialist alternatives need to be kept chugging in medicine is innovation. The author of this article throws in a line I’m sure he wasn’t aware sort of unravels his “Ain’t it awesome?” thesis (emphasis mine and misplaced apostrophe WaPo‘s).
“The whole single payer thing just makes sense,” Martin adds. “You don’t spend time trying to shift costs.” It’s hardly perfect: a few folks go to the United States to jump the line on certain elective procedures, and Canada, like others, free rides on American’s investment in pharmaceutical innovation (funded by higher U.S. drug prices). But, he adds, “I literally have a hard time thinking of what would be better than a single-payer system.”
Yes, you can have newer, better and life-saving drugs because those heartless American bastards aren’t letting the government completely monkey with the price of pharmaceuticals, thereby financially incentivizing innovation.
There is also a dig at the top of the piece about “the rest of the civilized world” and government involvement in health care. What most who say things like this never take into account is that the military protection of most of these areas is partially underwritten by the United States.
But that’s another conversation and this is a blog post, not a book.