A cynic might characterize Canada’s medicare system as the universal, free, democratic and egalitarian access to a two-year waiting list. You jump the queue only if you have the bucks and the referral to jump over the 49th, unless a life-threatening emergency sends you to the OR.
America’s health care system on the other hand is discriminatory and expensive, but it offers immediate access to the best medical treatment in the world.
In both cases timely care for everyone is an elusive goal.
In any event Michael Moore’s take on Canada is superficial, euphoric and unrealistic. New technology, abuse and the insatiable demands of an ever expanding clientele of elderly relatives sponsored by Third World immigrants is breaking the bank. It has been calculated that each sponsored immigrant in that age group will cost the Australian medical system $250,000. Since roughly 75% of Canadian immigrants and refugees, drawn from largely “non-traditional” sources, in fact consist of their unskilled dependent children, a terrifying portrait of the toll that Canadian immigration policy is taking on medicare could no doubt be drawn.
A recent article featured in the London Free Press (Thursday, March 13, 2008 “Hospitals forecast deficits”) recognized population growth as one principal reason why the Canadian health system was on the brink of deficit financing, with half of Ontario’s hospitals facing service cuts to meet the legal requirement for a balanced budget. Seventy percent of Canada’s population growth is driven by immigration.
It was economist Milton Friedman who commented a decade ago that “It’s just obvious that you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.” As Robert Rector explained, to be properly understood, Friedman’s observation should be viewed as applicable to the entire redistributive system of benefits, subsidies and services that lower income groups disproportionately enjoy at the expense of higher income groups.
Unfortunately this superstructure of benefits and services rests not only on an economic foundation but a cultural one as well. A people that is very much alike is more inclined to trust one another, and this trust translates into a willingness to vote for redistributive policies. But we are no longer a mostly ethnically homogeneous society with a shared respect for institutions and a shared sense of civic obligation. When a significant portion of the population is from another hemisphere, another culture or even another generation with different values, the welfare state is perceived as an unlocked candy store with services to be exploited to the maximum.
Redistributive policies like medicare are inversely correlated to cultural diversity. Rather than confront this reality, Canadian leftists demand yet more financial IV injections into the morbid body of the health care system. They refuse to acknowledge that even the Swedish Social Democrats, their role models, were forced to discover the “Laffer curve”. That is, push the tax rate up beyond a certain level and tax revenues fall in response. Tax payers will not keep working and producing if they can’t keep enough of their income. There are limits to what can be funded.
The Canadian model is not sustainable. It works only if there is enough public money to fund it and not enough patients with doctors to help them abuse it.
Those days are gone forever.