Disclaimer: Let’s not even talk of the Indian health care scenario!

Here is a post from Cafe Hayek, a site for the relatively unconventional intellectual, about universal health care in France being cruel to patients. The example of the poor patient dying without any care whatsoever in a country that prides itself on a fine and free health care system raises doubts about the ‘universality’ of their health care.
Even in countries like Canada and UK, where the State is responsible for health care for all (barring tiny exceptions), the long waiting lists and prioritisation protocols leave a lot of patients with sustained suffering. A study that reveals how many people die in such socialised health care systems would be an eye opener. I am not clear about this. Sweden, for example, is another great model of advanced health care that is entirely state sponsored.
At least for some patients, the system short-changes them in favor of an ideal that is questionable in its premise.
Health is considered to be a fundamental human right. This assertion leaves unanswered the poser of who is going to pay for this ‘right’.
Just like ‘happiness’, it is only the pursuit or endeavor which can be a right, not the entire mechanism of healthcare, which needs taxation. Is taxation a fundamental right of the bureaucrats?


  1. @Rambodoc,

    You raise some very valid points and I am not exactly very qualified to pontificate on healthcare (especially to a doctor 🙂 )

    But here’s my 2 cents. I think universal health is a social good, something worth paying for. It is very hard for people bought up in a very individualist, free market society to appreciate this, but our wellness is in many ways tied to others, whether we are aware of it or not.

    Ofcourse, socialized healthcare has its problems. Bureaucracy, red tape and nepotism generally tend to cause the problems we see today.

    But the contrast seems to be between the greed of private hospitals/insurance cos on the one side and apathy and disinterest of govt driven social medicine.

    I wonder if we can use a model like wikipedia to try and understand how 1000s of people, with nothing to gain, create and maintain an encyclopaedia that is at least as accurate as Brittanica. Can we have doctors play the role that wikipedia contributors do? Medicine 2.0 🙂

    Im probably oversimplifying, but as a Web 2.0 consultant, the success of social networks gives me a lot of hope that eventually, most social problems will be solved by the right kind of social network.

    Damn..4 paragraphs and I didnt take pointless digs at anything. Must go back to pratice..hmm.

  2. George Van Antwerp

    George Halvorson (CEO of Kaiser) talks about some of these models in his new book (see my review of it at http://patientadvocate.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/book-review-health-care-reform-now/.

    I thought one of the most interesting points was why primary care was stressed in several of these models (i.e., more people have acute conditions and therefore more voters are happy when you focus on acute or general needs).

  3. There are private solutions to health care problems — these require understanding the micro incentive structure of how health care works. Dont see too much of that though. I have just blogged about one small micro incentive issue — how incompetent doctors make it harder for competent doctors to practice — at http://economicolony.blogspot.com . Look forward to y’alls comments.

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