Shortly after President Obama signed his health care law, French president Nicolas Sarkozy offered this backhanded compliment to the United States: “Welcome to the club of countries that does not dump its sick people.”
Every member of Sarkozy’s “club” has its stories of sick people who have been “dumped,” in one manner or another, despite laws that officially preclude such things from ever happening. In 2005, Canada’s Supreme Court wrote of its country’s Medicare system: “Access to a waiting list is not access to healthcare…[T]here is unchallenged evidence that in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.” The British, meanwhile, often seem more content to let the National Health Service shortchange its patients than to let an American lecture them about how often it happens.
The checkered history of government guarantees is why so many Americans – a majority, in fact – oppose President Obama’s new law, which they believe will move the United States even further from Sarkozy’s ideal world than it is now.
Presidents Obama and Sarkozy may prefer the false compassion of a government guarantee. I’ll take the real thing.
Repeal the bill.