John Stossel

President Obama says government will make health care cheaper and better. But there's no free lunch.

In England, health care is "free" -- as long as you don't mind waiting. People wait so long for dentist appointments that some pull their own teeth. At any one time, half a million people are waiting to get into a British hospital. A British paper reports that one hospital tried to save money by not changing bedsheets. Instead of washing sheets, the staff was encouraged to just turn them over.

Obama insists he is not "trying to bring about government-run healthcare".

"But government management does the same thing," says Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute. "To reduce costs they'll have to ration -- deny -- care."

"People line up for care, some of them die. That's what happens," says Canadian doctor David Gratzer, author of "The Cure". He liked Canada's government health care until he started treating patients.

"The more time I spent in the Canadian system, the more I came across people waiting for radiation therapy, waiting for the knee replacement so they could finally walk up to the second floor of their house." "You want to see your neurologist because of your stress headache? No problem! Just wait six months. You want an MRI? No problem! Free as the air! Just wait six months."

Polls show most Canadians like their free health care, but most people aren't sick when the poll-taker calls. Canadian doctors told us the system is cracking. One complained that he can't get heart-attack victims into the ICU.

In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it's much worse in Canada. If you're sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.

"We can't send these patients to other hospitals. Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. "Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are."

More than a million and a half Canadians say they can't find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, "20/20" videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate