A Cautionary Tale From Across the Pond

As you no doubt know, one of the plans that all of the Democrat presidential candidates have for us is "universal health care." While perhaps a laudable goal in humanitarian terms, the de facto end result is that we could end up with the same sort of situation that exists in places like Canada and Great Britain, where health care is nationalized. Anyone who lives in a state that borders Canada knows about the Canadians who eschew their "free" health care and come south to the United States to get treatment.

Why? Because since the government medical system is not capable of treating everyone, care is rationed, and people have to wait for months or years to get their "free" health care, possibly dying before they can get it. Better to cross the border and pay for it and live to tell the tale.

The other problem with a nationalized health care system is that ultimately, the government (or its employees, the government-paid doctors) decides who gets health care and who doesn't. This results in nanny state abuses in places like Britain, where those who don't meet healthy lifestyle guidelines may not get treatment. If you're fat or a smoker or an alcoholic, well, you did it to yourself, so why should we treat you? If you're old, well it's just not actuarially sound to give you that expensive, life-saving operation. Sorry, old chap. Keep a stiff upper lip.

I cannot understand why anyone in this country would want to put the government in charge of health care. These are the same gimlet-eyed folks who do your tax audit. The system is bad enough without putting government bureaucrats in control of it.

Update: Richard Fernandez at The Belmont Club has an interesting post about this same subject. So does Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters.