Thomas Sowell

 In the long run, medical school may no longer look like such a good investment to many in the younger generation. Britain, which has had government-run medical care for more than half a century, has to import doctors from the Third World, where medical school standards are lower.

 So long as there are warm bodies with "M.D." after their names, there is no decline in supply, as far as politicians are concerned. Only the patients will find out, the hard way, what declining quality means.

 No law passed by more than 500 members of Congress is going to be simple or even consistent. There are already 125,000 pages of Medicare regulations. "Universal health care" can only mean more.

 I saw a vivid example of what bureaucratic medical care meant back in 1959, when I had a summer job at the headquarters of the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington. Around 5 o'clock one afternoon, a man had a heart attack on the street near our office.

 He was taken to the nurse's room and asked if he was a federal employee. If he was, he could be sent to the large, modern medical facility there in the Public Health Service headquarters. But he was not a government employee, so an ambulance was summoned from a local hospital.

 By the time this ambulance made its way through miles of downtown Washington rush-hour traffic, the man was dead. He died waiting for a doctor, in a building full of doctors. That is what bureaucracy means.

 Making a government-run medical care system mandatory -- "universal" is the pretty word for mandatory -- means that we will all have no choice but to be caught up in that bureaucratic maze.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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