James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Victory in Canada

Any government "public" service or facility will always have its waste and inefficiency. That is why even advocates of socialized education, postal services, health care, transit, or whatever, must concede the right and freedom of the individual to seek out or provide private alternatives to the public system. If the public system is so great, there wouldn't be the need for them; if the public system is falling apart, the people would only be victimized if private options were prohibited. To illustrate:

"Oh, no, your private college can't have a library. Our city has a public library. Use that."

"Your private college library provides a far superior collection than the public system. That is unfair to the people who can not afford to go to your college and must depend on the public system. Shut it down."

The necessity for private alternatives is even more important when it comes to health care. As Steve Chapman provides some good news from Canada:

The program, said the court, has such serious flaws that it is violating constitutional rights and must be fundamentally changed. And the flaws, far from being unique to Quebec, are part of the basic structure of Canada's health-care policy.
In some cases, the delay lasts longer than the person enduring it. Or as the Supreme Court put it: "Patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care."

Not only does the government subject its citizens to painful and even fatal delays in the public system, it bars them from seeking alternatives in the private market. You see, it's illegal for private insurers to pay for services covered by the public system.

That policy is what forced the Supreme Court to order changes. "The prohibition on obtaining private health insurance," it declared, "is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services."

Prohibiting access to private insurance. It is amazing, simply amazing, that any country that is called a "free society" could even contemplate such a thing, let alone legislate it. Of course, "reasonable services" ought to be in the eye of the individual, not the government or the Supreme Court. Let's hope the Court's ruling is just the start for real free market reform in Canada.

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