Saturday, November 1, 2008

Socialized Medicine: Grab a Number

I've been skeptical of socialized medicine for a long time. This is basically the idea that health care can be free for all and provided by the government. Just imagine health care turning into the New Jersey DMV with long waiting lines, sub-standard service and endless mounds of forms. Sounds like a scary Halloween movie plot line to me.

In theory, socialized medicine is a great idea because everything would go smoothly and everyone would receive the same level of care. In reality, different parts of the country would have different care and urban areas would see long lines and doctors stressed from dealing with the sheer number of patients they would have to see. In a utopian society, pharmaceutical companies would have no objections to dealing with the government and paying less than market value for their drugs. However under socialized medicine, we would see less people enter the field of medicinal research, leading to less breakthroughs and substandard medication.

What should be done instead? How about creating health clinics in populated urban areas that offer free care, provided an appointment is made. People would have access to preventative care and this would more than likely ease the stress of area emergency rooms as problems could be diagnosed and addressed earlier. Having appointment only scheduling would keep wait times relatively short and allow doctors to avoid "assembly line" appointments.

If you don't like that idea, perhaps creating funding to merge health care service into the public school system. We could have children get to see a doctor once a year for a checkup and they wouldn't even have to leave the school to do it. In my mind, health care is one issue that cannot be solved by bigger government.

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