Barbara Friedman (Democrat) 40,546 57.9% Noel Degaetano (Republican) 25,452 36.3% Kelley Ross (Libertarian) 4,201 5.8%
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In November Californians are being asked to vote for a Canadian style, "single-payer," socialized medicine system. Under this system every doctor, nurse, and medical technician in the State will become an employee of State government, and medical services will supposedly become "free" and guaranteed for everyone in California.
The unrepentant leftists who have proposed this scheme, people who are ashamed and resentful of actually being called socialists, argue that these kinds of public takeovers of medicine work fine in Canada and everywhere else that they have been tried. That is a lie. Socialism, wherever it has been tried, results in a restriction of services and a decline in the quality of services. Canadians routinely must wait even months for routine medical tests and even for surgery. Canadians cannot see a medical specialist until after they are given permission by a general practitioner. Canadians have died waiting for hospital beds, in part because Canadian hospitals can "reduce costs" by using hospital beds for convalescent care. Canadian hospitals have gone on "vacation"--closed down temporarily--just to reduce costs. Although people complain that too many Americans go to emergency rooms for medical care, Canadians do much the same thing, since they do not need to wait as long in an emergency room as they do to get care otherwise. There is an organization in Canada that will get you to doctors in the United States if you are having a problem getting care in Canada! Britain's National Health Service is the largest employer in Europe, but the number of hospital beds has steadily declined: the rule is that "useless work replaces useful work" as the number of bureaucrats grows and the number of doctors declines. Most of Britain's hospitals were built as charitable institutions, like Los Angeles' famous Catholic and Jewish hospitals, but the British National Health Service, which took over all those hospitals, has built NO new ones. It is charity, especially religious charity, that has always dealt with the helpless and indigent with compassion. Public charity deals with the helpless and indigent as numbers. A "right" to medical care really means that you can legally force someone to give it to you. Are they going to be friendly and caring if that is so? Or are they going to do as little as they can get away with.
Proposition 186 actually wants doctors and nurses to form public employee unions to bargain with the State. Such unions are already a plague on the public. Politicians are not spending their own money, and so public employee unions can exploit their monopoly position and use moralistic rhetoric to get public employees wages and benefits far beyond what private employees could get in the free market: Yet it is the private employees in the free market that must then PAY for all those wages and benefits! History and economics have now demonstrated countless times that costs for anything CANNOT be contained without the free market. Our medical system is in trouble because there is already too much government intervention in it, too much of people getting "free" benefits, too much of bureaucrats and politicians spending other people's money, and too much of US expecting that there really is such a thing as a free lunch, or free anything.
When you deal with anyone whom you do not pay, they don't need you. Do you get that feeling when you deal with someone from the Postal Service, the IRS, or the DMV? You do, after all, pay them through taxes, but you cannot withdraw your taxes if you don't like their service. And what do your public schools tell you if you complain about something? They know better than you. You will be in the same situation under a public financed medical system. Doctors will protect each other through their own unions, just as they mostly do now through the monopoly legal privileges given to the American Medical Association. The time has come to end such monopolies, not expand them into a new bureaucratic and public employee union empire.
Proposition 186 was soundly defeated.
YES: 26.6% NO: 73.4%
Although the "single payer," Canadian-like government health service envisioned in Proposition 186 experienced a crushing defeat in the election, it is disturbing that a great many Americans, perhaps even a majority, seem to think that something should be done to make health care a "right" or an entitlement for everyone. This is a tribute, if that is the right word, to how poorly the free market is defended, or even articulated, in the press, or by politicians who supposedly are its defenders. As Milton Friedman has said, the lesson of the manifest failure of socialism in 1989 seems to have been that we need more socialism. Less mysterious is how politics continues to operate with promises of money and benefits and the creation of rent seeking interest groups. When the corruption is so far gone, it takes more than mere foreign events, however important, to reverse the trend. And when the "chattering classes" of intellectuals, academics, and journalists have been raised on Marxist clichés, the inertia of their prejudices cannot soon be deflected.
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