Archive for Health

Quote of the Day

Dave Killion — June 8, 2012

“The debate over ObamaCare is not between people who care and people who don’t care. It is between people who know how to help the sick, and those who don’t.”

Michael F.Cannon, “Why ObamaCare Won’t Help the Sick

Variations on this theme are appropriate in every area where libertarians advocate voluntarism and cooperation, rather than one-size-fits-all government coercion.

Being Deserving is not the Same as Being Entitled

Dave Killion — May 7, 2012

According to information on the Facebook group ‘Help Save Souris Dialysis‘,11 patients residing in and around the town of  Souris, Prince Edward Island,  may be losing perfect access to their dialysis sessions. At Liberty PEI, Libertarian Book Club member Ashley Johnston offers a libertarian critique of the group’s view regarding healthcare entitlement. Here’s a taste –

“Words have meaning and the above quote (we ALL deserve nothing but the best healthcare) means that we should all get all treatments available. Even if all of the communities resources paid for nothing else, no food, no shelter, no roads, and all of that money was put into healthcare there would still be treatments that we could not afford. So then let’s even take away the hyperbole and revise the statement to read, ‘we all deserve the healthcare we can reasonably afford.’ Assuming you could find a bureaucrat with enough ‘reason’ to handle my money wisely (I won’t hold my breath), this still fails morally because of coercive taxes, and still has to be shown to be the optimum method of saving lives.”

Ashley’s takedown is thorough and complete. My take-away is this; no one has the right to forcefully take the possessions of one party and give them to another, and there is nothing about the second party’s needs, wants, or deserts that creates a right where one didn’t exist before. Understanding this very simple point is the line that demarcates the libertarian from the authoritarian.

Taking the Pulse of Canada’s War on Drugs

Dave Killion — March 29, 2012

Over at Hit and Run, Lucy Steigerwald writes about some recent news here in the Great White North

“Portugal gets it; the president of Guatemala gets it; Now some Canadians are noticing that the whole be-like-the-U.S. and declare war on plants and people is not the best policy idea. 

The chief medical officers of three Canadians provinces, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan have written a new paper for Open Medicine called “Improving community health and safety in Canada through evidence-based policies on illegal drugs.” Its conclusions are a cautious version of the above; law and order harshness does nothing to sate appetites for drugs, marijuana in particular is not terribly bad for people, and U.S. policies are just awful so why emulate them?”

I think these physicians are correct in both their diagnosis and their prescription, however, I don’t look to physicians for policy advice anymore than I do movie stars. Of course, every individual is entitled to their opinion, but what am I to make of “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War“, “Physicians for Social Responsibility“, or “Doctors for the Environment“? Is there something about obtaining an MD that bestows insight and ability concerning public policy? Well, the physicians themselves must think so, because there are an awful lot of ‘Doctors for This’ and ‘Doctors Against That’ in this world.

Mind you, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is a Ob-Gyn, so maybe there is something to all this. Either way, I welcome all allies.

But Nanny, That Hurts!

Dave Killion — March 22, 2012

Sorry buddy, no more gruel. It's too high in trans-fats.

“In a move that combines the mayor’s affinity for overbearing health regulations with his controversial stance on homeless shelters already under fire from advocacy groups and City Council members, a new rule barring food donations to shelters is raising even more concern.

CBS reports on the bizarre rule that turns away food, perhaps the most needed item for any shelter, because according to health officials, it’s impossible to gauge the items’ salt, fiber, and other nutritional stats.”

If you were homeless, wouldn’t you prefer food that was potentially high in fat and salt to no food at all?

Opting Out of BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP)

David — March 1, 2012

I am in the process of opting out of BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). Here are a few things I have found out so far:

  1. When you opt out you have to do it for a minimum of one year. How odd. I suspect they do this as a scare tactic to stop people from exiting the system. Insurance companies are always happy to protect people for payment regardless of how recently you stopped using their services. Companies are clearly more compassionate than our provincial government.
  2. Based on the first point you would think our government didn’t want BC residents to have MSP once they opted out. Here is where it gets strange: they automatically opt you back in after a year. In other words you have to fill out a form and send it in to them every year if you want to stay opted out. The first point is odd but this is outrageous and criminal. If a private company were to automatically opt customers back into services they had opted out of and immediately started charging for it they would be promptly taken to court. If the first law suit didn’t bankrupt them, surely the class action suit that followed would. Can you imagine if Netflix automatically opted all customers back in to its service after one year after said parties de-activated their accounts? Criminal.
  3. This is the part where I was going to recommend some great private options to any of you who are interested in opting out. The troubling thing is that I found little to no private health insurance options in BC. Pacific Blue Cross only provides insurance for those already covered by MSP. In fact Blue Cross seems to think BC residents are required to get MSP – this is what it said on their website: “All BC residents are required to enroll with the Medical Services Plan.” This is an error – you can opt out of MSP. You just have to waist precious time doing it every year because our provincial government is a criminal gang writ large. My assumption is that private options are few – maybe even non-existent – for the same reason that there are no private ferries going to the mainland: the government has subsidised through tax funding and leveraged its monopoly position to extinguish competitors. Maybe we can get the Canadian Federal Government to break up the Provincial Government’s abusive monopoly? If only the government applied the laws it applies to individuals and companies to itself.


Mon Dieu!

Dave Killion — February 16, 2012

Libertarians must, always and everywhere, condemn state intervention in health care that goes beyond enforcing prohibitions against the use of force and fraud. That said, I acknowledge that some interventions offend me less than others. Interventions such as perineal re-education

“When I gave birth to our daughter last November, my husband and I spent five government-sponsored days in the maternity ward at Clinique Leonardo Da Vinci, where we learned that French hospital meals come with a cheese course and that as part of my postpartum treatment I would be prescribed 10 to 20 sessions of la rééducation périnéale. This is a kind of physical therapy designed to retrain the muscles of the pelvic floor, including the vagina, and is one of the cornerstones of French postnatal care. Two months after our daughter was born, I summoned the courage to teach my vagina some new tricks.”

All kidding aside, this is still an egregious attack on the individual sovereignty of French citizens, and should be brought to an end immediately. Furthermore, while some may applaud this program for being innovative, one must keep in mind the displacement effect state intervention has. I am quite confident that absent government meddling in health care, free enterprise would have made the benefits of post-natal vaginal tightening both inexpensive and widespread a long time ago. Just one more reason to hate the state.

Good doggies

Dave Killion — January 10, 2012

A Facebook friend had this posted on his wall, and although I haven’t seen it anywhere unless I went looking for it, I understand it has gone viral and has garnered the subject a great deal of attention. The lady in the photo maintains her blog here.

It seems this woman has no idea that government intervention raises the costs and delays the availability of drugs needed for our cures and comforts. It appears she does not know that licensing regulations have driven the costs of health care providers to astronomical levels while simultaneously decreasing their availability. It looks like she is unaware that regulation of the insurance industry has protected providers from the competitive market forces that would have lowered prices to the point where she would have found insurance worth buying. All she knows is that she didn’t have to trouble her friends, family, and community for help, because the President of the United States forces strangers to sacrifice some of themselves on her behalf.

Truly, we are like dogs cringing in fear as our masters cage us, leash us, beat and starve us. And like dogs, when our overlords throw us the smallest morsel, we wag our tails and lick their feet in love and gratitude.

The state confesses

Dave Killion — November 20, 2011

I'm gonna need a closer look at your buns.

Many people consider government regulation necessary to to protect consumers from foods that are unsafe because of insufficient sanitation, poor handling, mislabeling, and so on, but the fact is that in a free marketplace there is vigorous competition between suppliers to provide every consumer with goods that are not only safe and healthy but also priced to give desired value. Suppliers who fail to do so are crushed in both the market and in the courts. But don’t take my word for it! Just ask the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

“Most recalls in Canada are voluntary, which means that the recalls are initiated and carried out by the manufacturer, importer, distributor or retailer responsible. The CFIA works with the firm to ensure the effectiveness of the recall. However, in the event that a company is unable, or refuses, to voluntarily recall a product, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has the power to order a mandatory recall for products that pose a health risk.”

Even the government acknowledges that it is really the market that protects us. And as to those items that are not voluntarily recalled despite the fact that the government declares they “pose a health risk”? What do you want to bet that those are products that are not actually dangerous, but are subject to some popular hysteria that makes recalling them politically expedient?