March 28, 2008

The rest of the story of John Doe (see March 26, 2008 blog):

As I expected, the negative publicity surrounding John Doe’s plight bought him an exception from the insurance company. After denials in the first two rounds of appeals, a higher up functionary looked at the bad press and said yes.

For anybody who thinks it would be different under Canadian style nationalized coverage, think again. The Canadian press frequently has stories about hard luck cases similar to John Doe, and the ending is often similar. A government bureaucrat is embarrassed or pressured into changing the rules that create waiting lists and a scarcity of the highest tier treatments.

Sometimes the story ends differently – our Canadian John Doe travels to the US for treatment. If we have nationalized health care, where will we travel for our treatment when the line is too long? The only way the healthcare system functions rationally is when the people seeking treatment are empowered to manage their own access to care.