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View Diary: Yes, Socialized Canadian Health Care Has Waiting Lists (26 comments)

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  •  Waiting lists? In America? (1+ / 0-)
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    From a diary I wrote on this topic a while back:

    First, go ahead and set up a ‘socialized’ health care system that grants every citizen a ‘first come, first serve’ right to the scarcest of elective services.  If nothing else were done, this type of system would force the richest citizens in the country to wait in line just like everyone else.  (That is, of course, precisely the nightmare that most rich people fear would be their fate if Socialized Medicine were to come to America.)  But might there not be a way we can use the marketplace to fix this little problem?

    Here is my proposal: Have the 'list managers' create a market that gives those with high positions on a list (those with the shortest waiting times) an opportunity to trade their places in line with those who are lower on the list for some kind of mutually agreed upon compensation.  If I'm rather poor and have only a week to wait for my knee replacement surgery, I might be willing to trade my position in line with a very wealthy citizen who might otherwise have to wait for 6 months if she can offer me some amount of money that would adequately compensate me for enduring the additional months of pain.

    Other health care ‘privileges’ that could be auctioned off: the next available kidney, becoming the next patient of one of the best doctors in the country, etc.  I suspect some kind of internet-based bidding system could be set up that would be a bit more dignified than Ebay.  Understand that when it comes to emergency services, the financial resources of the patient are usually a secondary consideration (not a variable usually considered during triage decisions). We consider seriously wounded people to have an equal right to the best care that is immediately available. My proposal would simply extend that kind of moral reasoning to the provision of scarce non-emergency medical services.

    And so we would finally have a health care system that is fair.  My prediction, however, is that we would still end up with essentially the same result that we have today: the wealthiest members of society would still obtain the best medical care on the planet; they’d just be paying a bit more expensive premium for the privilege. The big difference, of course, is that the poor would get compensated directly for accepting poorer quality medical care, instead of simply being relegated to that fate by an uncaring society.

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