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Sunday, April 06, 2008


Why even single-payer health care isn't enough...

The New York Times reports on the health care situation in Massachusetts, with partial blame given to the new "mandated health insurance" (note: not "care") in that state:
In pockets of the United States, rural and urban, a confluence of market and medical forces has been widening the gap between the supply of primary care physicians and the demand for their services. Modest pay, medical school debt, an aging population and the prevalence of chronic disease have each played a role.

Now in Massachusetts, in an unintended consequence of universal coverage, the imbalance is being exacerbated by the state’s new law requiring residents to have health insurance.
Now read that list of excuses again. Notice anything missing? How about medical education? If this country were training enough doctors, the problem would disappear. But that would actually require the government to take an active (or proactive, not sure which is a better word) role in health care in this country, not just concerned with paying for it but also making sure it's available.

By the way, whenever the subject of single-payer health care comes up, someone is sure to talk about how long people in Canada wait for medical care. The family physician profiled in this article? Her next opening for a physical is not until early May — of 2009.

Update: Of course, the situation in the United States is to be contrasted with that in socialist Cuba, which not only trains enough doctors to care of its own people, but also enough to be able to send contingents of them halfway around the world to assist in medical emergencies, but even offers free medical training to medical students from other countries, even students from a country whose stated policy in Cuba is "regime change" and which has maintained a vicious blockade on Cuba for nearly 50 years.

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