Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

No, I Don’t Think Obamacare Will Get This Bad; But I’m Sure They’ll Try


Is there any limit to single-payer fanaticism? Today’s New York Times suggests not.

Donald G. McNeil Jr. appears to be a reporter who believes that any nation can achieve “universal” coverage if the government exercises enough willpower. His example for the United States? Rwanda, for Pete’s sake: “A dirt-poor nation, with a health plan.” Sure, women give birth in clinics with dirt floors, and there are only three cardiologists and one neurosurgeon in this land of almost 10 million people. Nevertheless, according to a local doctor approvingly quoted by McNeil:

Rwanda can offer the United States one lesson about health insurance: “Solidarity — you cannot feel happy as a society if you don’t organize yourself so that people won’t die of poverty.”

And you don’t only get these calls for “solidarity” from countries whose citizens slaughtered a million or so of their fellows a few years ago — even single-payer advocates in developed, otherwise-free countries with “universal” health care find things to admire in third-world health systems. Carolyn Bennett, MD, a Canadian Member of Parliament, has spent years encouraging Canada to adopt the best features of Cuban health care.

I’ve often cautioned fellow conservatives not to go overboard in describing single-payer systems with terms normally used for North Korean labor camps. Maybe I’m too complacent. After all, the director-general of the World Health Organization recently complimented the Hermit Kingdom on its low rate of obesity.


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