We're hearing those phrases again; national health care, universal health care, socialized medicine. We're being told that government bureaucrats can take over our entire medical industry -- which by the way is the best and most complex in the world -- and make it better.
It used to be a lot easier to make the case for nationalizing health care before we actually started looking at the countries that have it. A lot of people don't seem to have noticed but, in recent years, the grand experiments in bureaucratic medicine are coming apart at the seams.
Nearest home, it was the Canadian Health Care system that lost its luster. Despite paying nearly half their incomes in taxes, and as much as 40 percent of each tax dollar on health care, many Canadian experts have recognized that their health care system’s in a state of crisis. The problem has been, simply, not enough health care facilities to serve the population -- leading to long and sometimes fatal delays while waiting for treatments. Many Canadians have started coming to the US for treatments that they just can't get at home.
Now, top officials of the British National Health Service, often held out as an example of the kind of socialized medicine America should adopt, have acknowledged that they have similar problems. One in eight National Health Service hospital patients has to wait more than a year for treatment. Thirty percent wait more than 30 weeks.
Think about it. This is what we're supposed to copy? The poorest Americans are getting far better service than that. And there's nothing about Americans that would make us any better able to run a government health care bureaucracy than the Canadians or the British. In fact, we've got less practice at that sort of thing than they do -- and we might be a lot worse at it.
Fred Thompson has been a lawyer, actor and United States Senator. He writes exclusive analysis and commentary for Townhall Magazine.