O Canada:

Mark Steyn has a good column this week on Canada's elections. One of the issues he thinks gets less debate than it deserves is the health care system:

The other day, as I was reading about the Liberals' exciting $9 billion "plan", my eye fell on a small story in a side column at the foot of the page about two twin boys born at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. That's in Alberta. Their mother, Debrah Cornthwaite, had begun the day by going to her local maternity ward at Langley Memorial Hospital. That's in British Columbia.

They told her, yes, your contractions are coming every four minutes, but sorry, we don't have any beds. And, after they'd checked with "BC Bedline", they brought her the further good news that there was not a hospital anywhere in the province in which she could deliver her babies. There followed seven hours of red tape. Then, late in the evening, she was driven to Abbotsford Airport and put on a chartered twin-prop to Edmonton, in the course of which flight the contractions increased to every two-and-a-half minutes.

Would you want to do that on your delivery day? They don't teach it in Lamaze class. Instead of being grateful to the greatest health care system on the planet, Mrs Cornthwaite's husband Brandon has been deplorably "divisive" and compared it to that of a Third World country. He has a point. There are circumstances in which citizens of developed nations occasionally find themselves having to be airlifted to hospital -- if they live, say, deep in the Australian bush or the interior of Alaska. But the Cornthwaites are a stone's throw from the province's biggest city.

Sorry, no beds. Try the neighbouring jurisdiction.

With Canadian healthcare sliding toward its logical conclusion -- a ten-month waiting list for the maternity ward -- here's a question to ask your Liberal chums: Do you seriously think your $9 billion "plan" will make two cents' worth of difference? Anymore than did your $21 billion "plan" to save heath care back in 2000? And, whether it’s $9 billion or $21 billion or a hundred billion trillion gazillion, won't most of it just get sucked up in the maw of bureaucracy? And the rest will go to miscellaneous expenses like chartering Cessnas for pregnant moms?

This is the real reason why socialized medicine won't work in the United States. American women are just too violent. I refuse to even imagine what my wife's reaction would have been to such a proposal--"We've got no beds, but sit tight for seven hours, and then we're flying you to Alabama." Whee.

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