Imagine, in Vancouver, 2025; an old man wakes up and finds himself with a terrible heartache. On his way to the hospital, he passes by hundreds of billboards, flyers and brochures advertising great health insurance plans; 1.5% annual rate, free iPod with every health insurance approved. He staggers on, finally making to the hospital where he finds a woman in the receptionist area guarded by two security guards. As he approaches, the lady asked, “Any life-threatening injuries?” The man shook his head no. “Any health insurance?” Regrettably, the man shook his head no again. “I’m sorry, this hospital only serves patients with health insurance; please try elsewhere”. The old man heads towards the exit as a young man in a fine business suit walks pass him, shows his Platinum Health ID card and is escorted by one of the guards to the VIP waiting room filled with leather seats and free cappuccino.
This isn’t a story, it’s a reality. Today, thousands of sicken citizens of United States are turned away; simply because they do not have health insurance. How is it possible for such a sophisticated society, widely aware of human rights and compassion for human suffering; turn a blind eye simply because they do not have insurance? And on the northern border, Canada is praised for its excellence in its social programs and health care.
Privatization. Many civilizations had attempted such form of government. Here, the world saw Communism. Yet, they met their own demise as corruption and proliferation motivated by human greed took control of a once so innocent desire to achieve equality among all. This was the Soviet Union.
Some would argue that privatization allows the free market to achieve the best optimal outcome of health care. Driven by competition and the invisible free market hand, society is supposed to benefit from it all. Consider a circus show. A tight-rope walker performs with a safety net and another doesn’t. Would one say that the walker without a safety net is a better performer? However, why would it matter to the performance evaluation that the performer with a safety net is lesser when he puts on the exact identical show? Yet, when both walkers fall, the one without the safety net dies. This is market imperfection. Regardless of the invisible free hand, imperfection lies in the system, at the fault of desperation to impress, or profits. This is why government intervention is needed. The government acts as the safety net for the tight-rope walker. When that individual falls, there is basic health care to provide the essential necessities to preserve human life and treat the suffering.
The United States has already fallen off the tight-rope and their society is paying the price of the ugliness of privatized health care. Privatization in Canada? NO WAY! Canada cares and is willing to pay billions of dollars to provide a safety net, a health care plan for all, but no free cappuccino.