The single-payer healthcare system in our own backyard.

Yesterday I posted on a video produced by PJTV featuring Steven Crowder exploring the experience of Canada’s socialized health care system. Those of us opposed to bringing such a system here point to the reality of Canada’s system (as opposed to the myth of it pushed by such worthies as Obama and filmmaker Michael Moore) as well as the government monuments to inefficiency and poor service of Medicare and Medicaid. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reminds us all that we’ve missed one both far more relevant to the discussion and closer to home than our northern neighbor:

Mary Clare Jalonick of the Associated Press provides an eye-opening report on Indian Health Service, a single-payer system that rations care to Native Americans on reservations across the country — and kills them through neglect and a severe lack of resources:

Without a doubt, the people on the reservations represent some of the poorest of the poor in America.  Yet we already have a single-payer system in place to provide health care to Native Americans on these reservations.  Do we properly fund it?  Do we make sure that enough resources are applied to ensure good health care?  Not at all.  It is, as the agency itself describes, a system of rationing medical resources, and the end result is a poor population unable to seek out its own care locked into a system that only works when someone is on death’s door.

And sometimes they can’t get it even when the Reaper is sitting in the room. Jalonick tells the soul-crushing story of Ta’Shon Rain Little Light, a 5-year-old girl living on a reservation in Montana. Complaining to her mother that her stomach hurt – enough that she quit eating and playing – she was diagnosed at the tribal clinic as depressed. A 5-year old girl. Depressed. The pain increased as time went by and 10 more visits to the clinic passed. Finally, when the little girl’s lung collapsed and she was airlifted to a childrens’ hospital in Denver they were able to confirm the suspicions that had been rising in the family: Ta’Shon had terminal cancer. Read the story Morrissey’s linked for the details but be warned – you’re going to be hurting inside by the time you’re done.

The Indian Health Service’s issues are matters of both a lack of resources and an attitude by the administrators that conserving those resources is the top priority they have. Concern for and care for the patients that need the medical services is not. Canada’s system is in the same shape. Ditto Britain’s. Every single healthcare system controlled by a government develops the same problems and the suggestion that Obama’s won’t is ludicrous folly; completely unsupported fantasy masquerading as rational argument. America deserves better and this fool’s errand of a suggestion for reform is only making real reform harder to even discuss, let alone seriously debate. The single-payer approach should be dropped – right now – and publicly disavowed so people can relax that stories such as Ta’Shon’s and Crowder’s won’t be told in their families from a 1st-person perspective.



  1. The largest health care system in the US is run by the VA. Despite failing to properly budget for the influx of customers it has gotten since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it gets high marks for its service from the veterans it serves. It is also very cost-effective. Not a perfect system, but worth studying.

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