RE: [lpsf-discuss] Socialized Medicine: Is the Price Too High?

   Thanks for sending this. It really shows that a government run monopoly
health care system is most likely not the best choice.

[Original Message]
From: Philip Berg <philip@...>
To: <>
Date: 8/20/2007 4:27:42 AM
Subject: [lpsf-discuss] Fw: Socialized Medicine: Is the Price Too High?

From: "Lawrence Samuels" <lawsamz@...>
To: <undisclosed-recipients:>
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:10 PM
Subject: Socialized Medicine: Is the Price Too High?

> To: LP members and supporters
> From: Lawrence Samuels
> Post by "Libertarian Perspective" at
> *
> Socialized Medicine: Is the Price Too High*?
> By L.K. Samuels
> Health care is in the spotlight again, with the premiere of Michael


> movie /Sicko/ and the state of Massachusetts switching over to a


> universal single-payer program. But also sharing center stage are the


> controversies that have bedeviled government�s involvement in anything
> that demands excellence.
> The basic question is whether we want a political system to manage
> doctors, hospitals, and patients. What is the history of government�s
> accomplishments? Are politicians and bureaucrats known to be pillars of
> efficiency, impartiality, and competence? Or will government�s


> foray into medicine turn into a Laurel and Hardy comedy with the
> catchphrase: "Well, here�s another nice mess you�ve gotten us into."
> The problem that seems to plague political systems is an addiction to
> rigid, closed-ended structures that centralize and institutionalize
> outcomes based on a top-down bureaucracy. But life is not made to


> it evolves and readjusts. Perhaps that is why (before embarrassed
> authorities stopped the practice after it became publicized) sick dogs
> could get a CT scan in socialized medicine Canada within 24 hours, but


> takes more than six months for humans. There is little flexibility or
> innovation in a system based on political maneuvering, special


> and rationing.
> Is socialized medicine just another kind of snake oil? Consider the


> tragedy of Edith Rodriguez, who lay on the floor of a Los Angeles
> government hospital emergency room floor for 45 minutes, unattended,
> screaming for help and throwing up blood. Caught on a security camera,


> videotape shows that nobody came to her assistance. As she pleaded for
> help, a janitor was shown mopping around her writhing body. Rodriquez�s
> died on that floor. Her husband called 911 for help, but was told that
> since his wife was already at the Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor


> they could not send help.
> Instead of punishment, the medical staff responsible got "letters of
> expectation" that explained how to treat patients in the future. The
> director of Islamic Project HOPE, Najee Ali, was incensed and regarded


> hospital�s reply as a "slap in the face for the whole family, a slap in
> the face for the community and it shows the devaluing of Latinos and
> blacks�."
> Known by the locals as "Killer King" for decades, the hospital has a


> history of harming and killing patients that it was meant to serve. In
> 2000, a 9-year-old patient died after coming to the same hospital with


> broken teeth. One investigation discovered that a man with a serious


> tumor was left untreated in the emergency room for four days before
> relatives transferred him to another hospital so that he could get a
> life-saving operation.
> Dozens of other cases of incompetence, poor management, bureaucratic
> indifference, and lapses in care were found. So many violations were
> revealed that the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services


> filed a report that not only condemned the hospital for "substandard


> but declared that "patients at King-Harbor in Willowbrook were in
> immediate jeopardy of harm or death."
> But surely, this county-operated hospital must be underfunded! Not
> according to the /Los Angeles// Times�/ five-part investigative series
> that included the headline, "Underfunding Is a Myth, but the


> Is Real." The report said that King-Harbor hospital "spent more per
> patient than 75 percent of the public and teaching hospitals in
> California, according to a 2002 state audit that looked at fiscal year
> 2000." In other words, King-Harbor county hospital could be considered
> /overfunded/ compared to most other hospitals.
> According to the World Health Organization, the United States� "overall
> performance" in health care is supposedly 37th in the world. But in the
> "patient satisfaction category," America ranks No. 1, and it�s No. 2


> the shortest waiting time for nonemergency surgery. This is an amazing
> statistic, since more than 50 percent of every U.S. medical dollar


> is controlled by local, state or federal agencies.
> Everyone wants better and more affordable services. But the issue of
> health care or any service boils down to choice. To the more
> libertarian-minded among us, the greatest way to bring down prices and
> raise quality is to let people make their own decisions. Without

choice, a

> system can easily morph into a stagnant monopoly where politics


> who gets which doctor, what medical procedures are appropriate, and how
> much quality is affordable. Any other way but choice makes a mockery of
> free institutions.
> In the case of Edith Rodriguez�s experience with government medicine,


> outcome was a tragedy of unimaginable incompetence. This might be our


> if government completely invades the medical field. The health care may