We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Some countries in Western Europe have really good medical systems too, without either the out-of-pocket costs of the US or the waiting lines of Canada. Actually Canada is quite good, once you get into the system. It's the getting in that can cause issues.
I had a friend who traveled in Africa after her Peace Corps tour was over. She got malaria and had to be hospitalized in Africa. The hospital's monitoring equipment was a little boy who sat next to her bed and ran for the nurse if anything changed.
The problem that evey government administrated socialized health care system has is the cost. They have a budget and once that money is spent they have no more money no matter how sick the patient is. To deal with this they institute policies to defer treatment and choose less expensive treatments. For example in England the standard treatment for appendicitis was/is antibiotics in the hope it would make the problem go away so they wouldn't have to perform the more expensive operation.
Most people do not have serious illness, they have the common illnessess that can be easily treated with medication and time. These people will have good experiences with a socialized health care system. Some people have serious diseases, like cancer and heart disease. Socialized health care is generally designed to defer, delay and refuse treatment for these things because they are just too expensive to treat.
A personal example: My wife's grandfather is Canadian. He developed a heart condition at age 82 and the doctors told him that without a bypass he would probably die within two years. They also told him that the Canadian health care system was so strapped for money that they would not treat someone his age for this condition. Ironically he had about $100,000 Canadian from the sale of his farm. He could have driven across the border to any large U.S. city and had the operation within a week (no line no waiting). But he was stubborn, a proud Canadian and he didn't want to make this concession admitting that his country had let him down. To seal the deal he caled the family together and gave each of his four children $25,000 so that he could not change his mind. I was there and his wife was almost in tears with his decision. Like clockwork two years later he died from a heart attack, a victim of socialized health care. Ironically to this day his three living children, all proud Canadians, love the Canadian health care system. Of course they do, they haven't gotten seriously ill yet.
A few years ago it was disclosed that the city of Philadelphia had more CT machines than all of Canada. And that the wait time in Canada to get a CT scan was 6-18 months while it was a couple of hours to a couple of days in the U.S. This is the inevitable result of government run health care. BUT most people who encounter government run health care do not need a CT scan or other expensive treatment and thus they see a health care provider and get a prescription and pay nothing and are typically saitisfied with the system. In other words until you "really" need it socialized health care is fine.
Get sick in Africa, get on a plane to the USA. Just make sure that the stupid intake nurse is listening when you explain about the deadly tropical disease that you just brought into the country.
Not only was the article excellent, the embedded link to Robin Hanson's paper was devastating as well.
I had completely forgotten the Charles Murray quote, though I was so impressed (and angered) the first time I read it.
Assistant Village Idiot
BTW, not only do the donors value the good feeling of having settled the matter so they don't have to worry about it anymore, there is also a psychic benefit to "feeling insured." Even if nothing is objectively better, people value the feeling of being safe. Conservatives and libertarians have never appreciated that fact during the decades of debate, which is why they are on the defensive so often.
Every time I discuss this with liberal friends those two items come up. "Well at least they're covered. At least they have something." Asking them to specify what that means can provoke anger, frankly. And folks will breathe a sigh of relief about having insurance even when they haven't the faintest idea about the cost or quality.
I would say that we should have sponsored our own legislation for catastrophic insurance years ago - except that such things never grow smaller and have a way of growing out of control.
Assistant Village Idiot
Yes, heaven help you if you have cancer in the UK. It can take months to be screened, and then months more before you can meet with specialists to design a treatment plan. Then, after all that waiting, you can finally begin your cancer treatment.
The five-year survival rates for all the major cancers are significantly shorter in Britain than in the United States...that's no accident. By allowing the sick people to just die instead of treating them, the health authorities can save a lot of money that way. :-/
Could you name those countries please? I'm down here is south Florida where you can't get a hospital room in the winter because they are full of Canadians paying for health care here they can't get in Canada. 17 week wait for an MRI.