Socialized Medicine -- A Warning
The crisis of Canadian and Britain's govern-run healthcare programs should serve as an unmistakable warning to American voters.
Democrats and their progressive allies often lecture Americans about the awesomeness of “Medicare for All,” and they usually point to Canada and UK’s govern-run single-payer healthcare systems as the gold standards. What they have avoided discussing is how the socialized medicine in those nations has fallen apart lately.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently pledged to increase funding for the nation’s ailing public healthcare system. But his promised massive cash injection won’t be enough to rescue a system in crisis mode.
Canada’s public healthcare system is funded by federal and provincial tax revenues but is managed at the provincial level. This system looks good on paper since it promises to offer all Canadian citizens and permanent residents free and universal access to hospital and doctor visits. But in practice, it didn’t take long for many Canadians to recognize that “free” healthcare also means long wait times to see doctors and receive treatments. The Covid19 pandemic has exacerbated these problems.
More Canadians are seeking care because hospitals delayed non-urgent treatments during the pandemic. Meanwhile, there’s a server shortage of healthcare workers. Some healthcare workers can’t work due to Covid infections, while others are so exhausted from the pandemic that many have either left or planned to leave the profession. Staffing shortages and past bad policies, including closures of hospitals and after-hour clinics, have resulted in even longer wait times for Canadians to access primary and emergency care. For example, families reportedly have to wait up to 18 hours to see a doctor at Calgary’s Children’s Hospital.
It is the long wait time in ERs that is most worrisome. ERs in Canada struggle to stay open due to staff shortages. In addition, about five million Canadians don't have a family doctor, which means their illnesses do not get treated early, or they have to rely on emergency rooms for primary care, thus leading to overcrowded ER waiting rooms. The growing number of patients and the shortages of healthcare workers mean extended waiting time at ERs. According to BBC, patients in ER waiting rooms may range "anywhere from two to four days to be admitted to hospital, all while a team of two nurses tends to a total of 50 to 60 patients on the unit." Thus, some people with life-threatening illnesses can't receive timely treatment. The long wait in ERs led to some deadly consequences.