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No Wait Times in a Government Run Healthcare System

May 28, 2009
by Pete Rivera
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There was yet another news story about how (or not) a government run Healthcare system would cause excessive wait times. I reviewed some interesting studies from the Canadian Healthcare system on average wait times by procedure or illness. In fact you now have the Canadian Prime Minister announcing that they will support new “Patient Wait Time Guarantees.” They call this “Taming of the Queue.”

For those that have run Military Medical Facilities this is nothing new. We know that healthcare is rationed by military status; Active duty, dependents of, Retired, and dependents of. If you are at the bottom of the food chain, be prepared to wait all morning to be seen. Some Family Practice Residency programs “select” their patients for each Physician panel. This means that if you did not make the list, you don’t get seen in that clinic. So who makes the list? It is often those that retired with a senior rank or had some sort of connection with someone in the system. Let's not even talk about the VA system. So why don’t we hear about this? Because it’s “free” healthcare.

So what happens in a U.S. government system? After investing more than 10.6% of our GDP we will have a comparable system as other countries. Certainty if you are a politician or a senior government worker you will not have to wait. If you can afford it, you can pay for additional coverage and get seen by a “private” physician. The average person will be taking additional time off from work to factor in the wait time to be seen. News stories will focus on horror stories of those that waited for procedures which they did not receive in time. So why do people want this type of system? Because it’s “free” healthcare.

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