- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2006

I recently underwent hernia-repair surgery, and I share this not to be a squeamishly personal blogger but to bring up what I consider a happy example of American health care working well. To wit: I was diagnosed on Mar. 8 by an internal doctor, and just three weeks later was under the knife.

Compare that brief interim to average waiting times in Canada. According to the public policy think tank the Fraser Institute, waiting time for surgery up north takes an average of approximately 18 weeks.

The worst shortcoming in our health care system is the number of those without any coverage (46 million, according to this advocacy group — exactly how many of that number are “chronically uninsured” isn’t so clear). And that, it seems to me, is the result not merely of poverty but of the irrational system of tying coverage to employment.

My question for the health care gurus out there is this: Is there a way to remedy the problem of the uninsured without radically overhauling the system — without, in other words, affecting positive scenarios such as the personal one I described above? In debates over health care reform — the “Patients’ bill of rights” and all that — neither party has put forward a workable solution to the problem, other than the extreme options of a single-payer, Canadian-style system or a libertarian scheme in which everyone has a portable “health savings account.”

Just asking…


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