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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Public Health Care Works! ... repeat after me...


That is right, folks. Take a deep breath and repeat after me. “Public Health Care Works!” I am consistently amazed by the breadth an depth of ignorance exhibited by the opponents of the public system.

Issue one: A two tier system is more responsive to the needs of the public. Competition and the free market will make things better or some other frippery to that effect.

Health care is a public good. It is in economic jargon the demand for health care is inelastic. Therefore for the sliding scale of supply and demand cannot work its “magic”. Furthermore, with the introduction of profit into the healthcare system the focus then shifts from peoples well being to a more lucrative business model. I for one do not want a system focused on profit over people.

Issue two: Wait times will be dramatically reduced with the introduction of private clinics and insurance….

This statement is dead in the water before it begins. It is essentially begging the question because the reality of the situation is that there are not enough medical professionals to meet the current demand. So how does the introduction of a private system cut wait times? Unless, of course Ralph Klein and his merry band of conservative sycophants can spontaneously generate a new batch of trained medical professionals. (they might be able to actually do so, given the crystal clear opacity of their governence)

As a corollary of this argument, what would be the incentive for the doctors to be in the public system when they can make better money in the private? The decline of the public system is inevitable when competing with a parallel private structure.

If there is one idea that is imperative to understand about the Healthcare debate it is that capitalism it not the answer to every problem. Capitalism is very good at producing (and concentrating) wealth. Capitalism is not so good at providing public goods. The profit motive destroys the idea behind public goods, corrupting and changing the fundamental nature of how Healthcare is provided to the public. We do not need corporate interests gaining more control of our public healthcare system. It has been shown repeatedly that universal pubic healthcare is viable, affordable and more efficient than private systems.

We just need to get this message out to the public as loudly as those who would sell our cherished system into the hands of the greedy capitalists.

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