Thursday, December 30, 2010

Preston Manning writes bad Science Fiction

It's 2018 and Canada has answered the call of the professional right wing's fondest wet dreams on healthcare:
It is December, 2018, and at long last Canadian health care has been reformed. Long waiting lines are a thing of the past. Universal coverage has been maintained and expanded. The numbers of doctors and treatment facilities available to serve Canadians has been significantly increased. Health care for the vast majority of Canadians has dramatically improved and at lower cost per capita.
How did they get to this heaven on Earth in Canada's green and pleasant land?  Let Preston guide you along through a future where Wikileaks exposes all the Canadian politicians and opinion makers who condemn private medicine but fly out of the country to use it when its their own health on the line.  On balance, trying to enlist Wikileaks in the cause of Canadian right wing politics is probably better than calling for the murder of it's founder like Manning's fellow Calgary school right wing insider Tom Flanagan - but also far less likely than some right wing western government actually following through on such threats and murdering Julian Assange the way Flanagan wants.

Then there's the finishing blow, after Manning conflates real and imagined courtroom victories against the public system and creates this condescending  final flight of fancy:
 Meanwhile, back in Ottawa, the Standing Committee on Health had invited Dr. Lars Aalborg, Nobel Prize-winner and a world-renowned expert on queuing theory, to propose means of reducing Canada’s health-care waiting lines. Dr. Aalborg said he would do so only on the condition that members of the House of Commons agreed to participate in a scientific experiment. Being near Christmas, the members were in a charitable mood and consented to this unusual request. When Dr. Aalborg arrived he closed all the doors to the House of Commons except one and then asked all 308 members to form a line outside that door. He then asked the members to enter the chamber through that door, one by one, while he timed the process. Approximately one hour and 15 minutes later, all the members had entered the chamber. Dr. Aalborg then opened two more doors to the chamber and divided the members into three uneven lines, one outside each door. Once again the members were instructed to enter while Dr. Aalborg timed the process. This time it took less than 45 minutes for all members to enter the chamber.

Leading members of the Liberal and NDP caucuses – those who could count, tell time, or both –  (This presumably is an example of the classy, gracious civility in politics that Preston Manning claims to support - Cliff ) immediately explained the meaning of the experiment to their bewildered brethren. By establishing three open doors to its health-care system – a public care door, a private not-for-profit door, and a private for-profit door – and with government responsible to ensure that the care available through each met acceptable standards, Quebec ensured that the average waiting time for getting into the health-care system and receiving quality care would be significantly lower than if everyone was forced to wait in a long line behind a single door.
Is it rude to point out the fairly glaring logical fallacy inherent in his snotty little fairytale, that whether entering the room through three doors or one there's still only one pool of doctors, nurses and hospital beds in the room serving all three doors?

In Australia and Sweden, the concrete evidence was that the two tier system created a 'perverse incentive' for doctors to cherry pick the easiest most lucrative patients into the profit door's line, while the more expensive and less lucrative public door's line got longer and longer because those who could afford to pay their way in front of them funneled through the profit door.

Of course to market ideologues like Manning, an inequity like this result isn't a bug in his preferred system it's a feature.

Adapted and expanded from a comment I made on Buckdog's quick out of the gate response to Preston's dribbling.

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