Hockey, Syrup And Healthcare?
I was recently in Victoria, BC meeting up with some old high school chums who now work in various levels of the healthcare industry. The Canadian Healthcare System.
Now, I tried to keep it light and convert them to Jesus, since that’s what all right wing conservative gun owners do, but about one burrito later most of the people in our crew started asking me about Healthcare, and why we don’t just go single payer down in the states (Try to imagine the rest of this in a Canadian accent, but they don’t say “eh” on the West Coast of Canada, that’s an Eastern thing).
Lucky for me, I’d spent a few months in England a handful of years ago and know a few tidbits about financing a giant social system.
Now the Canadians laughed a bit about the idiots who wanted to move to Canada after the Presidential Election only to learn that Canada requires you to have a viable, useful skill and other assets to prove that they aren’t just getting a bump on a log with you. Which, fortunately, forms the crux of the liberal problem with healthcare. Try to imagine this series of arguments taking place in the cramped confines of a Prius, driving towards the ferry to Vancouver at about 8:00 PM Canadian time (which is 80% less than American Time).
The one big problem with socialized healthcare has to do with a tough choice nobody wants to make: You can Either have great social services OR very open immigration policy. Not both.
The Canadians, who actually have socialized healthcare, agreed, which I did not expect. But they probed on why the U.S. won’t adopt it. In the United States, when you get your citizenship (which some members of my family have done), people are told where to sign up in order to bring their family members over, if they so choose.
In a socialized healthcare system, this is not economically viable. Because the healthcare system is funded by young 20-somethings that don’t have many health problems, a socialized healthcare system really only works when you have a hard cut off of age 25 for immigrants. As in, mom, dad, granddad, grandma, they all stay back home and only the immigrant, plus wife/kids, is permitted to stay. Otherwise the new citizens show up for free healthcare right at the age where the cost-benefit analysis starts to skew heavily in their favor.
At this point, one of the Canadians joked that it is also sort of funny how rich Canadians will often come to the United States, where they don’t have the long lines, for more expensive procedures. This exists as a phenomenon in the UK as well. When there’s no desire to wait in line and money is ample, people come to the U.S. to get serious medical work done.
Next they started to get on my case about allowing qualified immigrants in, and if someone has the skills to be a benefit to society, why should they have to pay for their own healthcare?
Well, if they are coming in and proving their worth to the economy and related skills by generating income, should not they naturally have, by virtue of providing a benefit to society, the ample resources to afford to pay for a privately competitive healthcare service?
So we all agreed at that point that in order to run a socialist single payer system, you have to be cold-hearted enough to decide who will pay into the system enough to earn the benefit, and who can’t be allowed in or they will break the system. But then, how is that any more cold-hearted than saying, “Pay for your own healthcare using the money you make at your job?”
Again, when you talk to people in the United States who have a starry eyed view of single payer as the end-all and be-all of human healthcare utopia, it is worth remembering that it is generated by a solid, wide base of young, skilled workers staying busy and the country refusing entry to people who are not serving a major economic purpose.
To that end, this writer has had the privilege of spending the last week talking to a lot of WWII vets and Great Depression survivors, and just about all of them agree that the CCC was the best idea ever and they would be 100% okay with bringing it back. Work hard, do stuff, stay busy, maybe not get paid a lot but at least you are doing something.