Much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I must report the shocking
facts: Medical care is medical care. Nothing more and nothing less.
This may not seem like a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge. But
it completely contradicts what is being said by many of those who are
urging "universal health care" because so many Americans lack health
Insurance is not medical care. Indeed, health care is not the same as
medical care. Countries with universal health care do not have more or
better medical care.
The bottom line is medical care. But the rhetoric and the talking points
are about insurance. Many people who could afford health insurance do
not choose to have it because they know that medical care will be
available at the nearest emergency room, whether they have insurance or
|FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER|
Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
This is especially true for young people, who do not anticipate
long-term medical problems and who can always get a broken leg or an
allergy attack taken care of at an emergency room and spend their
money on a more upscale lifestyle.
This may not be a wise decision but it is their decision, and there is
no reason why other people should lose the right to make decisions for
themselves because some people make questionable decisions.
If you don't think government bureaucrats can make questionable
decisions, then you haven't dealt with many government bureaucrats.
It is one thing to deal with bureaucrats when you are at the Department
of Motor Vehicles and in good health. It is something else when you have
to deal with bureaucrats when you are lying on a gurney and bleeding or
are doubled over in pain on a hospital bed.
People who believe in "universal health care" show remarkably little
interest usually none in finding out what that phrase turns out to
mean in practice, in those countries where it already exists, such as
Britain, Sweden or Canada.
For one thing, "universal health care" in these countries means months
of waiting for surgery that American get in a matter of weeks or even
In these and other countries, it means having only a fraction as many
MRIs and other high-tech medical devices available per person as in the
In Sweden, it means not only having bureaucrats deciding what medicines
the government will and will not pay for, but even preventing you from
buying the more expensive medicine for yourself with your own money.
That would violate the "equality" that is the magic mantra.
Those who think in terms of talking points, instead of trying to
understand realities, make much of the fact that some countries with
government-controlled medical care have longer life expectancies than
that in the United States.
That is where the difference between health care and medical care comes
in. Medical care is what doctors can do for you. Health care includes
what you do for yourself such as diet, exercise and lifestyle.
If a doctor arrives on the scene to find you wiped out by a drug
overdose or shot through the heart by some of your rougher companions,
there may not be much that he can do except sign the death certificate.
Even for things that take longer to do you in obesity, alcohol,
cholesterol, tobacco doctors can tell you what to do or not do, but
whether you follow their advice or not is what determines the outcome.
Americans tend to be more obese, consume more drugs and have more
homicides. None of that is going to change with "universal health care"
because it isn't health care. It is medical care.
When it comes to things where medical care itself makes the biggest
difference cancer survival rates, for example Americans do much
better than people in most other countries.
No one who compares medical care in this country with medical care in
other countries is likely to want to switch. But those who cannot be
bothered with the facts may help destroy the best medical care in the
world by falling for political rhetoric.