Free Medicine

Alerted to this by James Taranto today. No doubt the U.S. health care system needs a thorough re-thinking. However, be careful what you wish for when you remove market signals. Control prices – and suffer shortages (see gasoline lines in the New York area in the wake of Sandy), or offer something for “free” – and demand skyrockets. Again – shortages result. Here, they are translated into lengthy waiting times…

Gilbert says there are days she can’t face going into work at the Royal Victoria Hospital, a renowned cancer centre in gynecology, and dealing with crying patients. “Put yourself in their place. … I have difficulty making eye contact with patients. I am ashamed to be in such a situation.

“People are suffering. People are waiting too long,” Gilbert said. “This should not happen. No matter how good your surgery is, no matter how good your chemotherapy is, if you delay the surgery there could be a problem. The cancer grows. The cancer spreads.”