Socialized Health Care in Action

If you want an idea of what the future of American health care will be like under Obama’s plan, take a look at Canada’s single-payer system as it exists right now.

In its early days, the “Canadian model” was held up as a shining example of what a health care system should be. But that was when it was still feeding off the accumulated capital of all those decades of rapacious capitalistic health care. The infrastructure has deteriorated a bit since then.

According to this CBC news story, a man came into the emergency room of a Winnipeg hospital, sat down to wait, and died before he could be seen. It took 34 hours before anyone noticed him:

Man Dead ‘For Some Time’ in Winnipeg ER Before Staff Alerted: Officials

Health officials say a man who died in the waiting area of a major Winnipeg hospital’s emergency department may have been dead “for some time” before medical staff was alerted — 34 hours after he arrived.

The 45-year-old arrived by taxi at the Health Sciences Centre around 3 p.m. Friday from the Health Action Centre, a community health centre in central Winnipeg, where he had an earlier appointment, officials said.

He was found dead after midnight Sunday.

“It is a really tragic situation. We’re quite shocked that this could happen,” said Dr. Brock Wright, chief medical officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “We’ve never had a situation like this before.”

It appears the man was never assessed by a triage nurse and was not registered as a patient seeking care, Wright said.

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Someone in the waiting room alerted the hospital staff that the man appeared dead, and that’s when the man was finally seen by medical personnel, he said.

“There was reason to believe at that time that the patient had passed, had been dead for some time,” Wright said.

“We don’t know how long, but it’s likely that the patient had been deceased for a period of time. I can’t put a time frame to that.”

To be fair to the Canadians, I can easily imagine the same thing happening in the ER of UVA Hospital in Charlottesville. In many of their functions, the large non-profit hospitals in the USA already resemble a socialized health care system.

Whenever the siren song of Barack Obama and other big-government advocates begins to tempt you, lash yourself to the mast and stop your ears by thinking about a DMV office, or the IRS, or your local Department of Social Services, or the waiting area of an emergency room in a large urban hospital.

That’s what Socialism looks like.

Hat tip: JD.

14 thoughts on “Socialized Health Care in Action

  1. I guarantee there is no one who actually does the grunt work at this hospital that is surprised.
    Let us remember that the county hospital in L.A.(fully unionized, and which gives non-profit new meaning) is on a do not take list of its own for L.A. police when they are injured.

  2. This same thing happened here in Dallas, just a few days ago, in our county hospital. The story mentions he had no insurance, but doesn’t mention he was one of the brothers that opened and operated a successful chain of mexican restaurants. In this example, it is the use of our county provided emergency rooms as primary care, that is the problem. Too many expect free health care, and aren’t responsible enough, even with the means to do so, to buy health insurance.
    If you haven’t seen it, this short documentary about Canada’s health service, Dead Meat, is very informative.
    Waiting for care in a taxpayer funded ER is not uncommon. The real problem with national health care is that it creates shortages for care, in all medical needs.
    In addition, for Americans, if you think health care is expensive now, just look how expensive it is where it is free. I don’t think we can afford free health care.

  3. It’s a very sad story. However, it’s not necessarily typical, in spite of what you read or hear in the media.

    I live in Canada. I remember what the system was like prior to the Canada Health Act. I had private insurance at the time. I’m now covered by Ontario’s health system.

    I have no complaints about the service I’ve received since its inception. It’s not perfect, but no system is perfect.

    In my opinion, I’m getting very good value for my money, in spite of the fact that I have a couple of serious health problems, and I live in the boonies.

    Yes, my taxes are higher than they would be were I to be a resident of the US. However, I also know that I’m unlikely to be forced to declare bankruptcy due to debts incurred as a result of ill health.

  4. Baron, I forgot to mention that I also pay for a private, supplementary medical insurance plan, which covers about 85% of medical, dental and drug costs not covered by Ontario’s health plan. The cost of this coverage is about C$125 per month.

  5. I can say that in my lifetime under national health care, I don’t ever recall a case like this one. These grave oversights are more rare than common. Frankly, I have seen bad things in other countries too. I have never waited more than 2 hours for treatment. I have seen people coming in to hospitals having more serious needs, who are immediately taken over everyone else of less need. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in April. The system took care of her almost immediately, no waiting other than normal lab test processing time and she is fine now. Yes, it is not perfect but we are grateful as opposed to no health care at all.

  6. Both systems have their advantages and their flaws.

    The Canadian system finds many docs overworked and underpaid. They often have to go to the US for on-going education if their speciality is not on offer in Canada. The rate of Canadian-trained doctors who move to the US has risen in recent years. Dissatisfaction among providers is wide-spread.

    The American system is too fragmented and over-regulated. The fact that people in one state may not shop for health insurance in another state ends up costing the consumer more than it should — there is a de facto monopoly and it is in place because of the insurance lobby.

    But that is just one problem — the cost of insurance premiums.

    The cost of medical procedures is even worse.

    In addition, the notion of “non-profit” hospitals is a joke. Michelle Obama’s hospital, paying her 300,000K a year to sit on their board (doing diddly squat) is a good example of the level of bureaucratic corrruption in American medicine.

    Michelle Obama’s Hospital Shuns Uninsured Poor People

    The federal mandates for indigent medical care have been so skewed (and skewered) by the onslaught of immigrant medical needs that the US may succumb to the Canadian system by default. When it does, where will the Americans who can afford cutting edge medical care go?

    Medical Tourism

    Even iwhen all this transpires, Big Pharma and Big Hospital will continue to do mind-blowingly expensive research and things in that area will continue much as they are: lots of trivia and a few innovations.

    In sum, the US is now assuming —

    (1) humongous mortgage and financial bail-out debt,

    (2)infinitely expensive medical debt whose bottom line no one is wiling to total up, and

    (3) a collapsing ponzi scheme in Social Security payouts.

    Do not expect the boomer geezers to go quietly. The debt is not *their* problem; many of them are not leaving any children behind to have to assume the burdens caused by the stupid financial decisions of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

    What Boomers don’t realize is that quality-of-life euthanasia will creep silently behind all this on little cat feet. The Unique Generation will again break the mold for us: they will be the first to experience a wide-spread silent going into that good night.

    Going, going, ready or not.

  7. oops. Should have said that Boomers won’t go quietly at first. As they become frail and vulnerable, they will not be so able to complain about the decisions re their lives that are made by others. Many will have no children to be their medical advocates.

    Thus, the prognosis is a quiet, orderly exit based on someone else’s assessment of the “quality” of their life.

    When you think of it, this is but a logical extension of the moral reasoning behind abortion on demand. The only difference is that it will be practiced on the almost-dead instead of the almost-born.

  8. I suggest you all forget the ideology and anecdotes and compare the outcomes of America’s health system with other Western countries, the US doesn’t perform well in many areas.

  9. They’re tough to compare Mace, because of different practices in different countries. For example, hospitals in the U.S. count almost every stillborn as a live birth and go through extraordinary measures to save them (motives are another story); since most don’t survive, it lowers the overall life expectancy relative to other countries that don’t make the effort.
    Additionally, risky life-saving procedures are more often performed in the U.S. By definition, many fail, lowering the overall success rates.
    This is also why you shouldn’t choose surgeons based on success rates. The best surgeons are likely to take on the toughest cases–those most likely to fail.
    BTW, do they get to choose their own surgeons in Canada or the U.K.? I haven’t a clue.

  10. talnik,

    Fair comment,however my problem was with the automatic assumption, on ideological, grounds of the US health system

  11. No, mace, your problem is with liberty, and the demands of freedom. But you are in company both safe and increasingly numerous.

  12. no2liberals said…

    “Waiting for care in a taxpayer funded ER is not uncommon. The real problem with national health care is that it creates shortages for care, in all medical needs.”


    Waiting for health care is the RULE in an envy-based, socialistic health care system like we have here in Canada. Why do we wait so long here? One reason is that with a single-payer/not for profit system like ours, the user pays nothing for a doctor’s visit, thus guaranteeing misuse along with the perception that health care is “free”.

    Another reason is that envy of others permeates the discussion here. I look at a rich person paying extra for their health care at a private clinic as one less person in front of me at the public one. Our socialists here view that as an actionable class struggle.

    The sad truth is that we are in the same category as North Korea and Cuba of countries that officially proscribe ‘for-profit’ health care. After all these years of liberal politicians lying to voters that their health care is free, it’s proving to be a tough job to turn public perception around. Just discussing private health care is a bit of a “third rail” for Canadian politicians.

    Canadians wait months (and sometimes die, let alone the continued suffering) waiting for their “free” health care.

    My 2 cents.

  13. xlbrl,

    How do you know what my politics are? Apparently the liberty the US health system provides is the liberty for good health if you can afford it. I have no knowledge of the Canadian system and will not comment. Here in Australia we have a “socialised” system that provides good outcomes for the population. Yes we have scandals and injustices, however Australians would never accept the US system in a million years. Sooner or later Americans will intoduce a “socialised” medical system and claim you invented yourselves. Your government is busy “socialising” the losses of incompetent bakers with taxpayers money, why not medicine. As I said look at the statistics.

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