I was born and raised in Cuba, a country that, like all communist countries, had and still has government controlled healthcare. Many today still believe in the myth of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution, including the so called “free” healthcare. When government took over the Healthcare System, everything started to fall apart. Doctors and nurses started to leave the country (there’s very little incentive to study and practice medicine, when a taxi driver makes as much or more than a doctor. As a matter of fact, many doctors became full time or part time taxi drivers, that is why in Cuba we have the best educated taxi drivers in the world!), the quality of healthcare went on a steep downward spiral and for the past three decades Cubans in the island don’t even have access to the most basic over the counter medications, like an aspirin or an antihistamine, except for the ones that relatives and friends send them from America.
When a country has a single-payer system, like Canada, that nation has subscribed to the least effective way to achieve universal health insurance coverage. It’s a myth that Canadians enjoy universal healthcare coverage while receiving the same quality and quantity of medical goods and services as Americans today. Americans spend more on healthcare than Canadians do; however, they get faster access to more and better medical resources. Brett Skinner, in the Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, says: “Healthcare appears to cost less in Canada than in the United States partly because Canadian government health insurance does not cover many advanced medical treatments and technologies that are commonly available to Americans. If Canadians had access to the same quality and quantity of healthcare resources that Americans enjoy, Canada’s government health insurance monopoly would cost much more than it currently does.” Mr. Skinner ads: Our recent study comparing healthcare in the United States and Canada shows that the public-private U.S. system outperforms the Canadian system on almost all the key indicators of available healthcare resources. The United States even performs nearly as well as Canada in terms of providing “effective” health insurance coverage for its population.”
Our healthcare system is flawed, like any other human system, but the Canadian model of socialized medicine is far worse. Emulating an unsuccessful healthcare system is not only foolish but perilous. What we are witnessing today in America is a president and an administration with an agenda they want to push through no matter what the people have to say, even if the majority is against it. Townhall meetings all over America and all the latest polls reveal a general frustration and discontent on the part of the people because of the fact that many politicians (mostly ultra liberal democrats) don´t want to hear and don´t care about what voters have to say about healthcare. What I see today is not debate that involves, as someone told me, “the exchange of honest information grounded in fact, in knowledge, in education, in research, in search of the greater good” on the part of the politicians. I see rude, patronizing and condescending political ideologues looking down and putting down honest voters just because they disagree with them vehemently on this issue.
Socialized healthcare, and for that matter “socialized anything”, is never the right answer to any problem facing a nation, particularly the United States of America. Socialism is an ideology and a pretty destructive one at that. I should know. I not only experienced it first hand for many years, but have also studied the subject thoroughly during the past four decades. And the fact that some form of it may be working in certain small European countries, with populations of only a few millions, doesn’t mean that we should follow suit. Our country is too large (not only in square miles but also in population), too rich, too diverse and too complex for our government to start experimenting with simplistic and failed formulas at this stage of the game. We didn’t become the greatest country on the face of the Earth by emulating failed regimes and implementing destructive ideologies. Government tentacles are already too long and intrusive in our lives in America. Mostly because of that, our economy is not the freest in the world (According to the Index of Economic Freedom of the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal). The formula is simple and it works: the smaller the government and the less control it has the better for the people and for the country as a whole, and the freer we are. We already have too much control and intrusion from the government and it has only been detrimental to the wellbeing of our nation and to personal freedom. For example, if parents who value freedom and parental authority over their offspring, want to find out how free they are to make decisions concerning the education of their children, let them go to the public school and tell the administration that their children will no longer be coming to school. They will soon receive an unpleasant surprise from school authorities, and find out the hard way how deep the tentacles of the U.S. government penetrate into the citizen’s private life, gradually leaving less room for decisions that should be made only by parents, not government bureaucrats. I want the government controlling less, not more of the decisions concerning healthcare in my life. Always keep in mind that government is a terrible servant and a fearful master.
Concerning socialism, Winston Churchill said it best: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Guido F. Castellanos
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