What ObamaCare Really Means

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 01, 2009 10:02 PM

There's no doubt that President Obama can create a government health care program that covers everyone, and costs little.  The problem?  You'll have to wait forever to use it.

England and Canada have the type of system that Obama has said he prefers (that is, before he backtracked because of the political heat).  Everyone is covered, and medical care costs hardly anything.  But as Jon Stossel reports:

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.

And in Canada, Stossel notes, the wait to get into an emergency room is 23 hours -- all across the country.  What's more:

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.

Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery "elective."

Even the Obamessiah can't repeal the laws of economics.  If there is too much demand, and too little supply -- and any profit incentive that might encourage innovation or boost the supply of medical care has been eliminated by the government -- this is what you get.  Rationing.  Which means waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.