Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sick in America Part 3

My reflections:

Stossel looks at the dynamics of "free". And he's right. People will get things they don't need and have no use for if they're free. And that goes for health care, too. As I've said before, my daughter knows people who are in exclusive (if temporary) sexual relationships, who have no suspicions that their partners are cheating on them, but who go for quarterly HIV testing because it's "free". I pointed out to her that the tests are not free -- I'm paying for them with money that's taken out of my paycheck before I ever get to see it. That gave her pause. Free means free, right? But somebody has to pay for it.

And when you need something, but resources are tied up because of the demand for freebies, you wait.

Stossel addresses Michael Moore's claim that the "free" health care is why Canadian life expectancy is three years longer by pointing out that average life expectancy factors in things like violence (more common in the US than in Canada). I'd also point out that our counting even tiny preemies as live births rather than miscarriages also skews the numbers. Imagine two groups of 100 people. In Group A, the tiny preemie wasn't counted as a live birth. Everybody else lived to be 100. Average life expectancy: 100 years. In Group B, the tiny preemie was counted as a live birth. Group B, simply by counting that baby as a live birth instead of as a miscarriage, has lowered their average life expectancy to 99 years.

Stossel then looks at some individual cases of Canadians desperate for care -- and about the health care that's fast and accessible in Canada: veterinary care.

No comments: