The normal critique of socialized medicine is to point out that people have to wait a long time for these kinds of treatments in places like Britain. And that's certainly a valid critique. I'm sure my mom and daughter would still be waiting for their treatments, while my father and wife would probably be dead.Agreed--as does the Mayo Clinic.
The key point, though, is that these treatments didn't just come out out of the blue. They were developed by drug companies and device makers who thought they had a good market for things that would make people feel better.
But under a national healthcare plan, the "market" will consist of whatever the bureaucrats are willing to buy. That means treatment for politically stylish diseases will get some money, but otherwise the main concern will be cost-control. More treatments, to bureaucrats, mean more costs.
It doesn't always work that way, of course. The rise of proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec has made ulcer surgery a thing of the past. But to the bureaucratic mindset, those pills are a cost, and ulcer-surgery expenses can be dealt with by rationing. Let 'em eat Maalox while they wait.
I exaggerate, but . . . well, maybe I don't. The truth is, despite the great promise of new medical technology out there now, in terms of new cancer treatments, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and more, the potential marvels of the next twenty years will never be developed unless some developer thinks there's a market.
And with bureaucrats in charge of deciding what treatments to pay for, the existence of such markets will be much less certain. Oh, sure, federally-funded medical research will still go on at the NSF, NIH, etc. But turning that research into actual products is a different story.
My family benefited from innovative treatments that probably wouldn't be around if the United States had adopted socialized medicine when that was first proposed over half a century ago. In 20 years from now, a lot more treatments -- and, probably, dramatically better treatments -- won't be around if we adopt a national healthcare program now.
It's ironic that the same Democrats who were pushing the medical prospects for stem-cell research during the last election are now pushing a program that will make such progress far less likely.
(via Don Surber)