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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10501/what-soviet-medicine-teaches-us/

What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us

August 21, 2009 by

In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal “cradle-to-grave” healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The “right to health” became a “constitutional right” of Soviet citizens.

The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would “reduce costs” and eliminate the “waste” that stemmed from “unnecessary duplication and parallelism” — i.e., competition.

These goals were similar to the ones declared by Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi — attractive and humane goals of universal coverage and low costs. What’s not to like?

The system had many decades to work, but widespread apathy and low quality of work paralyzed the healthcare system. In the depths of the socialist experiment, healthcare institutions in Russia were at least a hundred years behind the average US level. Moreover, the filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system. According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles or HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals. FULL ARTICLE


Jose Lopez August 29, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I can’t believe that this website is being visited by “Pedro Juarez” and the likes. People of Cuba starve, but their thought servants are still being paid for lies!

newson August 30, 2009 at 7:15 pm

those who want to picture the joys of cuban nationalized medicine should do a google-search on “therealcuba.com” and click on the tab “free health care”.

sorry i can’t get the link past mises’ spam filter.

Yuri Maltsev August 31, 2009 at 9:17 am

A website recommended by Mr. Newson of Cuban resistance to Castro dictatorship is


and it is packed with facts and testimonies on Cuban health care, economy, political and social life.

Mechanized March 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

It is quite extraordinary that any individual with any knowledge of socialized health care could openly advocate such a system.

Vestidos Cortos September 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Hi, I’ve recently been on the web blog once or twice now. I just thought to say hi and thanks for the tips supplied.

Jonathon Nadel September 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Yuri’s arguments in this article are absurdly thin. While he cites a quote or two on other subjects, where does he get his information about the Canadian medical system’s giving priority to people below 45? His flat statements such as,

“Existing rules such as ‘certificates of need,’ licensing, and other restrictions on the availability of healthcare services prevent competition and, therefore, result in higher prices and fewer services.”


“Socialized medical systems have not served to raise general health or living standards anywhere. In fact, both analytical reasoning and empirical evidence point to the opposite conclusion.”

are backed up by nothing in his article. What advanced medical system doesn’t require licensing for their practitioners? If one is to reference “analytical reasoning” and “empirical evidence” doesn’t it make sense to use either?

It’s quite sad that this comes from someone who considers himself an educator.

Yuri Maltsev October 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

Mr. Nadel’s post is another example of a disturbing outbreak of thuggery in intellectual debates.
The New York Times (not an enemy of socialized medicine) reports the crisis in Canadaian helath care in Canada’s Private Clinics Surge as Public System Falters


and another:


He also asks: “If one is to reference “analytical reasoning” and “empirical evidence” doesn’t it make sense to use either?” Yes, it does! i am surprised that anyone would question that.

Jim Turmmer October 20, 2010 at 7:51 am

After 20 years of capitalism and free enterprise, Russians have to resort to publich hospitals because they simply cannot pay the fees of private facilities. Except, of course, the minority of extra-rich, that got to that point by stealing, bribing, and so on. In his last paragraph Mr. Maltsev dares to call this situation “more humane”.

Yuri Maltsev October 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

There is not much of capitalism and free enterprise in today’s Russia. Don’t blame these on the health care crisis. Having said that todays economic situation in Russia is a great leap forward in comparison with socialist insanity of the Soviet Union. Health care today is much better than it was under the USSR in today’s Russia and especially those post-Soviet countries which embraced freedom.The New York Times (not an enemy of socialized medicine) reports this on Russian health care:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/28/business/worldbusiness/28iht-russhealth.4.6394606.html?scp=10&sq=health%20russia&st=Search

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