April 20, 2009 8:19AM

The Wonders of Socialized Dentistry

As we all know, the American health care system is less than perfect. An inefficient amalgam of government spending, federal tax incentives, employer‐​based insurance, and private providers, the U.S. system costs us more than it should for the services provided. Nevertheless, medicine in America remains far more directed by and for patients, in contrast to nationalized systems, which are usually organized by and for bureaucrats.

The results sometimes are horrific. Indeed, the best way to understand the consequences of Britain’s National Health Service is simply to read stories in British newspapers. Consider this one in the Daily Mail about the lack of adequate dental care:

Like so many young women, Amy King always took great pride in her appearance.

Standing in front of the mirror to check her make‐​up before a night out, the 21‐​year‐​old would always try a smile — friends told her they loved the way it lit up her face.

Eight weeks ago, all that changed. The student from Plymouth was admitted to hospital where, in a single operation, she had every tooth in her mouth removed.

Obviously, not all foreign systems do so little for their patients. France, Germany, and Switzerland all provide care differently, and in all of these nations people receive better treatment than in Britain. But no where is turning health care over to government the best way to ensure quality yet affordable medical care. Instead, control over health care should be placed back in the hands of those who have the most at stake: patients.