I just read a remarkable story in the news. A liberal (our version of Democrat) MP (Member of Parliament- our version of Congress) Belinda Stronach recently traveled to America for her breast cancer treatment. What? Now there's a grand endorsement for government-run health care, huh? She left her own country to get the best care that money could buy- in the USA. Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. Rich liberals have always been hypocrites- in any country, in any language. When I was a kid, I remember liberals fighting for school busing. They claimed to be fighting for equality for black children. They called anyone who opposed school busing a "racist." Yet as soon as busing became the law, they sent their kids to exclusive lily-white private schools. We called them "limosine liberals." Today you can find hypocrites just like that all over bastions of liberalism like Hollywood, Manhattan and San Francisco. Rich liberals support equality, equal opportunity and affirmative action- except at their homes, their businesses, and their own kid's schools. Rich liberals never think the rules apply to them. They think integrated public schools are great for YOUR kids- but not for their precious spoiled brats.
Obviously that liberal hypocrisy translates to health care too. The government-run health care system of Canada (a nice term for "Socialized Medicine") is good enough for you and your family- but not for the wealthy billionaire politicians like Belinda Stronach (who is the daughter of Canadian billionaire business mogul Frank Stronach). Now don't get me wrong. I support freedom of choice. I think what Belinda did was the right thing. If I was sick with cancer, I'd choose to go wherever I could get the best health care. It just so happens that Belinda agrees that this place for the best health care is found in America. Canadians by the millions understand that the "expensive" American health care system is the best- and they choose to cross the border nonstop for medical care they can't find at home. Now our health care system has been endorsed by a prominent liberal member of Canadian Parliament. You know, the same health care system that liberal Democrats here in America complain about day and night- and want to tear down to force government-run health care (otherwise known as "Socialized Medicine") down our throats. Of course a free-market Libertarian conservative like me supports Belinda Stronach seeking (and paying for) health care wherever she chooses. But why isn't that free market available to the rest of her countrymen? Why isn't the system that is forced down the throat of all Canadian citizens good enough for a billionaire member of parliament? You mean freedom of choice is something reserved only for the exclusive and privileged few?
As a man who lost both his parents to cancer 28 days apart, I feel Belinda's pain. My mom died of breast cancer- the same disease affecting Belinda. I will always have a special place in my heart for cancer victims. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my mom or dad. I want to defeat and eradicate cancer more than anyone on earth. I hope and pray that Belinda Stronach will make a full recovery. But I also hope this experience changes her political point of view too. Doesn't everyone deserve freedom of choice? Doesn't everyone deserve to choose the medical care and physician that's right for you? Doesn't everyone deserve the best doctor that money can buy? Doesn't everyone deserve quick and competent care? The thing that drives liberals absolutely crazy is that not everyone gets the best medical care in America. But at least some of us get it. Perhaps a majority of us get it. We have to pay through the nose for it- but we get it. But that's not good enough for bleeding heart liberals. They're not happy unless there's complete equality for everyone. In a government-run system there is in fact equality- it's miserable care for EVERYONE! It's rationing for everyone. Unless you're a rich, liberal hypocrite. People like that (anywhere in the world) can opt out of the system and pay for their own private care at world-class medical centers- in the USA of course.
Don't believe me? A recent article by Jon Stossel (a hero of mine) in the Wall Street Journal reported that breast cancer survival rates are far higher in the United States. Among females diagnosed with breast cancer- one quarter die in the U.S.; while one third die in France; and almost half die in UK. How sad is that? How powerful are those facts? Where exactly do you want to be treated? The fact is that the smartest doctors in the world are found in the United States, not in spite of, but precisely because we have the most expensive health care system in the world. Next time you need an eye operation, or a breast cancer operation, do you want the K-Mart blue plate special? Do you want some foreign doctor who can't speak English, who finished next-to-last in his class in Barbados Medical School? Or do you want the guy who finished first in his class at Harvard (who has written 12 books on his medical specialty)? That Harvard guy is expensive. There is nothing cheap about good medicine. There are no "50% off sales" when you're talking about your eye, or your kidney, or your heart. If you want the best medical care in the world, you'd better be willing to pay for it. We get it (most of the time) in the USA. They don't in Canada, UK or France.
And on the rare occasions that they do get it, they certainly don't get it in a timely fashion. Next time you need a hip replaced, why not wait 16 months in beautiful Paris or London or Toronto. 16 months of agony is no big deal, right? Afterall, at this very moment almost one million Canadians are on a waiting list for medical care (in a country of under 20 million people). These long waits aren't just for cancer operations- this is for basic care. In UK the wait for a dentist is so long, news reports say that patients are choosing to pull out their own decaying teeth. In Scotland, rationing is so severe that the government will not provide treatments that would keep the elderly from going blind. Still want government-run health care? How about letting the people that managed Hurricane Katrina and Walter Reed hospital run the whole country's medical care? I can't wait for that.
Stories abound of sick Canadians and Brits waiting months for necessary operations or treatments. And who decides what's necessary? The government- those same kind of brilliant bureaucrats that brought us the well-managed Iraq War! How about competent treatment? Liberals don't understand why capitalism works. It attracts the best and brightest to American medicine only because medicine PAYS huge dollars here in a private enterprise system. If we socialize medicine and cut the dollars dramatically, you'll attract mediocre doctors. Not the best of the best, but the worst of the best. The smartest kids will decide to go into law or business or investment banking. But I'll tell you what they won't do- they won't give up a decade of the best (youngest) years of their life (for med school and internships) for a lifetime of mediocre pay. You attract the most brilliant doctors by offering the biggest dollars. Do we want a health care system that attracts incompetent doctors for mediocre pay? If my doctor can't afford to play golf, I don't want him anywhere near my heart! Next time I'm in a life and death medical emergency, I want the doctor leaning over my lifeless body to be very rich. Filthy rich. And American. Harvard American.
In the end, our U.S. health care system isn't perfect- far from it. It many instances, it is a disappointment. But there's nothing better out there. It turns out health care is like marriage. It's the worst institution on earth- except for all the others! I hear divorced friends constantly bad-mouthing marriage, yet two years later they're all married again. If it's so bad, why get re-married? Of course the answer is they searched around and couldn't find anything better. The truth is that humans like to complain. It gives them something to do. Complaining about marriage and health care are a national sport in the USA. That's fine. Just come get me when you find something better.
Wayne Allyn Root is a Candidate for the Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination. You can read more about his opinions on important issues at www.ROOT4America.com.