Today’s New York Times carries a piece by Krugman called “Death by Insurance.” It’s a rant in favor of the “single-payer system,” i.e., explicit socialized medicine along the lines of Canada and other countries. The article concludes with the words:
So here we are. Our current health care system is unraveling. Older Americans are already covered by a national health insurance system; extending that system to cover everyone would save money, reduce financial anxiety and save thousands of American lives every year. Why don’t we just do it?
Here’s part of the answer to Krugman’s question:
From The New York Times, February 20, 2006:
Ruling Has Canada Planting Seeds of Private Health Care
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
TORONTO, Feb. 19 â€” The cracks are still small in Canada’s vaunted public health insurance system, but several of its largest provinces are beginning to open the way for private health care eventually to take root around the country.
Last week Quebec proposed to lift a ban on private health insurance for several elective surgical procedures, and announced that it would pay for such surgeries at private clinics when waiting times at public facilities were unreasonable.
The proposal, by Premier Jean Charest, who called for “a new era for health care in Quebec,” came in response to a Supreme Court decision last June that struck down a provincial law that banned private medical insurance and ordered the province to initiate a reform program within a year.
The Supreme Court decision ruled that long waits for various medical procedures in the province had violated patients’ “life and personal security, inviolability and freedom,” and that prohibition of private health insurance was unconstitutional when the public health system did not deliver “reasonable services.”