29 January 2008

Apples and apple trees

Sandefur has a little piece up where he quotes from a libertarian magazine article about Canada's economy. This is the section he quotes:
Canadian dependence on the United States is particularly true in health care, the most eminent Canadian idea looming in the American context. That is, public health care in Canada depends on private health care in the U.S. A small news story from last month illustrates this:

A Canadian woman has given birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets. The four girls were born at a U.S. hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units. Autumn, Brook, Calissa, and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefice Hospital in Great Falls, Montana. Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada, but none had space. The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician were flown 500 kilometers to the Montana hospital, the closest in the U.S., where the quadruplets were born on Sunday.

There you have Canadian health care in a nutshell. After all, you can’t expect a G-7 economy of only 30 million people to be able to offer the same level of neonatal intensive care coverage as a town of 50,000 in remote, rural Montana. And let’s face it, there’s nothing an expectant mom likes more on the day of delivery than 300 miles in a bumpy twin prop over the Rockies. Everyone knows that socialized health care means you wait and wait and wait—six months for an MRI, a year for a hip replacement, and so on. But here is the absolute logical reductio of a government monopoly in health care: the ten month waiting list for the maternity ward. Boldface added for emphasis -- DEH

I just love the total lack of references here. (And yes, I read the original article, and there's no reference there, either.) Every system is going to have shortfalls occasionally, and the birth of identical quadruplets is (as the original notes) extremely rare. Since we don't have any references at all to the original article, we have no idea exactly where this Canadian family was from -- they might have even found some way of being from an ever smaller town than that tiny little wooden shack in the woods of Great Falls, Montana.

Even aside from the anecdotal nature of this little tidbit, even aside from methodological errors, even aside from a complete and total disregard for references, let's please try to compare like with like. Somebody needs to go back to Sesame Street. "One of these things is not like the other..."

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