Even though Massachusetts has more doctors per capita than any other state, the Boston Globe reports that waiting periods to see physicians have grown. The average wait is now 63 days to see a family doctor, 50 days to see a specialist and the second trimester of pregnancy to see an obstetrician-gynecologist.
If you want to see the busiest, most popular physicians, the wait can be up to a year. The longer waits are the result of thousands of newly insured residents coming into the health-care system.
Massachusetts has reduced the number of uninsured, but there are no reliable figures on how many are still uninsured since some statistics are based on telephone surveys that don't reach significant groups of people who lack landline telephones (such as young people and illegal aliens). Cato estimates that 200,000 are still uninsured.
If the number of uninsured had been measurably reduced, that should be reflected in the use of hospitals' emergency care facilities for uncompensated care. But hospitals don't confirm this effect.
Small business is hurting, too. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranks Massachusetts last of all the 50 states for business-friendly health-care policies.
A June 21 front-page article in The New York Times reported that one cancer unit in a Philadelphia Veterans Administration hospital bungled 92 of 116 prostate cancer treatments over six years (requiring these patients to undergo a second operation) before the errors were discovered. The real problem is that the government cannot run health care safely (or cheaper).
Canada is another model of what not to do. It's fortunate that Canada is so close to the United States because Canadians rely on American medicine for serious surgery.
De facto rationing in Canada is practiced by waiting lists rather than by using its realistic name. The Globe and Mail in Toronto reports that the physician shortage is so acute that some towns hold lotteries to win a ticket granting access to the local doctor and that Ontario sent 160 patients to New York and Michigan for emergency neurosurgery between 2006 and 2008.
Although President Obama told the American Medical Association that single-payer (government-controlled) health care works "pretty well" in some other countries, no government has ever been able to run a health-care system as well as private enterprise. Less regulation of health care, not more government control, is the way to healthier Americans and lower costs.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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