Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

September 19, 2011

Bastiat, Obamacare and Brain Infections

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 3:00 pm

Is health care in the United States a mess?  Of course it is.  I don’t think anyone argues this.  The argument starts when trying to answer the question, “why?”  Has health care in the U.S. always been a mess?  I think most folks would answer, “no.”  O.K.  I know this sounds like a marriage counseling session but stay with me.  I would argue that the answer is right in front of us.  Frederic Bastiat, the French philosopher and statesman used a method of argument known as “reductio ad absurdum.”  He would reduce (or magnify) an argument in scope to make his point clear.  If, for instance, a tornado and its inherent destruction was good for the economy, then why not completely destroy an entire city…or state…or country?…think of how great that would be for the economy!  This was how he approached many issues that were not entirely clear or that he thought were perhaps true on the surface but rotten at the core (specious).  As more and more political pressure was brought to make trains stop in certain towns in the French countryside, the stops that the trains were mandated to make by the government were so numerous (and economically unjustified) the operation of the train was not possible without heavy losses.  Bastiat recommended in his usual style that the train be operated in reverse!    O.K….to the point.  I maintain that health care in the U.S. is a mess due to the extent to which government at all levels is involved.  This involvement introduces price distortion and malinvestment not only in patient care but also in research and in the availability of pharmaceuticals and innovative new approaches to disease management and….you get the idea.

Now before the argument starts about my last statement, let’s look at this through Bastiat’s lens.  Let’s take government involvement in health care to the extreme.  Let’s actually find an example where  it is ILLEGAL  to buy health care  for yourself!!  Go to the head of the class if you said, “Canada and North Korea.”

How does this system work?  I  just spent 3 days with Rick Baker, the Canadian surgical broker.  He is a bit of a legend in Canada.  His success stories are a source of the most damning embarrassment for the Canadian government and their health care scheme.  We could argue this or that point, but’s what’s the point?  Canadians are coming to Oklahoma City for surgical care. Ouch.  What was that you said?  You were thinking of trying to prove to me how wonderful their system is?  But I just popped your balloon didn’t I?  Are they coming to Oklahoma City because the care here is cheaper?  No.  The care in Canada is free.  They have to pay here.  But wait!  If it’s free there, why are they coming here?  Ouch.  Because it isn’t there.  This is like a store that lures people in with a sale on items they don’t have on their shelves then takes credit for helping the poor with low prices.

I hesitate to repeat any of the horror stories related to this government manufactured rationing of care for fear of leaving out a possibly even more outrageous example that has slipped my mind.  There are so many sad stories that it is difficult to keep them all straight.  How about an 8 year old little girl going deaf from a middle ear infection put on a 15 month waiting list for placement of ear tubes?  She eventually lost all of her hearing in one ear, half in the left and had to have a neurosurgeon drain a brain abscess from this neglect.  Or a man that Canadian cardiologists all agreed needed urgent coronary artery bypass surgery put on a 6 month waiting list?  He was operated on 24 hours later in Oklahoma City with a life-saving bypass operation.

As Rick has said to the U.S. Congress in his testimony, and as he has said to me many times,” this really the system you want in your country?”  The Surgery Center of Oklahoma has provided care to many patients sent to us by Rick.  Here is another interview with him.  Watch this interview with a woman I helped get to Oklahoma City.  I am proud  to claim to be the one that helped Rick Baker and Canada find Oklahoma.

Washington has given us Canadian health care.  Where will we go when we need care?

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

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