Video: Canada’s health-care lottery

posted at 6:05 pm on September 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Many people in the US dream of hitting the lottery, and of all the freedom the jackpot would allow. In Canada, people dream of hitting the lottery too, but their aspirations are more down-to-earth … like finally getting a doctor. Fox Business News highlights the monthly contest in Norwood that determines who gets to access a family-practice physician, which only is possible because of Norwood’s off-the-books deal to have the town’s doctor add people at all (via the Peoples Press Collective):


Why aren’t there more family-practice physicians? Canada’s provincial governments had to cut their spending on health care, which drove the doctors out of the system. Thanks to a lack of competition, no other supply can come to market, which eventually leads to this kind of rationing. A lottery is only slightly more arbitrary than any other bureaucratic mechanism.

Stick around for the discussion after the report, which hits at the heart of the matter. Price opacity drives unnecessary use of services and products. The best way to get real reform is to end comprehensive insurance policies that interfere with the price mechanism of the market and put insurance in its natural role — as a bulwark against catastrophic loss. Read my AIP column for a lengthier discussion of that today.

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Under Obamacare treatment scarcity will be even worse as Dr.s will be obliged to conduct mandatory end-of-life counseling instead of treating sick people.

kooly on September 3, 2009 at 6:17 PM

“A lottery is only slightly more arbitrary than any other bureaucratic mechanism.”

… and it will come with an IRS audit.

Seven Percent Solution on September 3, 2009 at 6:20 PM

So is this the Canadian government’s attempt to raise revenue off of another failed government program?

“…proceeds benefit senior citizens.”

This is something Mad magazine would have parodied 40 years ago.

singlemalt_18 on September 3, 2009 at 6:20 PM

There are 19,000 Canadian trained doctors that left to practice medicine in America. Figgure that out.

seven on September 3, 2009 at 6:22 PM

The Problem is we’re addicted to healthcare and of course, Faux News just spreading one more healthcare myth. This would never happen in Obamacare-sarc.

Vanquisher on September 3, 2009 at 6:22 PM

This is why I love Fox.

jsulman on September 3, 2009 at 6:30 PM

The best way to get real reform is to end comprehensive insurance policies that interfere with the price mechanism of the market and put insurance in its natural role — as a bulwark against catastrophic loss.

Ed, you again expose yourself as a doctrinaire free market zealot. The idea that the price of services should be determined by people who actually foot the bill from their own resources — why, it’s unthinkably radical! Isn’t it more comforting to believe big daddy government will take care of everything?

Cicero43 on September 3, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Who needs health care when I have preventative medicine.

ColumbusConservative on September 3, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Appears that my post has duplicated according to word press, but I do not see it here.

So I apologize if it shows up 2 or 3 times…didn’t intend to spam the thread…

donkichi on September 3, 2009 at 6:42 PM

“With Government-Run Health Care on the Horizon, U.S. Doctors Report Surge in Requests for Species-Change Operations” http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/08/with-government-run-health-care-on.html

“Canadians Protest Plans to Ration Health Care in U.S.” http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/07/canadians-protest-plans-to-ration.html

Mervis Winter on September 3, 2009 at 7:09 PM

This is not a prediction, it’s a promise from nearly every….that is E V E R Y doctor I have to deal with in making sure my son gets his medical care as a quadriplegic:

“If Obama’s health care plan is implemented in any fashion at all that contains a ‘public option’, I am retiring”.

This is a total of 5 out of 7 doctors so far. We haven’t seen the other two doctors in a bit, but we will before the end of the year for regular status check ups and testing.

That’s ONE patient and his doctors.

Obama is not only going to finish off the economy and cause the biggest bank run in the history of the world, but he’s going to instantly throw us into 3rd world class medically overnight. This country is going to experience a major depression, a virtual flat lining of everything, then, a revolution with mass death on the left, and a race war taking over after that, only to bleed off to anarchy before someone with enough balls (that refuses to take the lead currently to avoid this mess) finally assumes a mantle of leadership and attempts to defend this country against Mexico, partially funded by Venezuela, Cuba, and from the rear, China and Iran.

THAT is my prediction, and yes, it’s pretty unholy.

Spiritk9 on September 3, 2009 at 7:31 PM

My mother has a problem with her eyesight that requires surgery. She had to wait 3 months for an appointment. When the day came, the doctor wanted to do test that was already done, so the surgery was postponed. His mistake becomes my mother’s wait. Now she has to wait another three months for another appointment. She is going blind and merely needs a simple surgery procedure.

But there are no doctors available to do it. I’ve always hated socialism and socialists. But now it’s personal.

keep the change on September 3, 2009 at 7:33 PM

THAT is my prediction, and yes, it’s pretty unholy.

Spiritk9 on September 3, 2009 at 7:31 PM

In some form, what you described becomes more probable every day.

docdave on September 3, 2009 at 7:48 PM

Americans do realize this lottery idea is a good-news health care success story up here, don’t they? Thanks FOX for covering this — hopefully it will spread to other small towns in the casino gulag.

13blackcats on September 3, 2009 at 8:07 PM

CanadaCare = Obamacare

No thanks…

Khun Joe on September 3, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Oh the Canadian’s have such a WONDERFUL system! We should copy it! The Germans had a Cash for Clunkers, we should copy it! Hugo has snitch squads, we should copy it! Fidel addresses school children on TV, we should copy it!

Anyone else see a pattern from that “new bestest and brightest administration, ever!”?

Maybe that idea of limiting a president to 2 terms isn’t really such a good idea after all.

GarandFan on September 3, 2009 at 8:27 PM

You know, it’s funny. Here in America, most of us know better than to say, “I have a right to an automobile”, because we know what kind of ‘government car’ we’d be given.

We don’t say, “I have a right to a house” (with no mortgage), because we can imagine what kind of ‘government housing’ would be provided to us.

So what makes some of us pine for government health care?

I think it’s ignorance. ‘Health Care’ is a fairly abstract concept… It’s hard to define ‘good health care’.

We can only contrast to bad health care: Wait lists, lotteries to get a physician, dirty clinics, poorly trained personnel, ambulance stacking, patients stored in hallways, forbidden treatments.

Is that what we have a “right” to? Count me out.

Ralph64 on September 3, 2009 at 11:18 PM

I was trying to explain a simple economic principle to an Obamacare supporter at work today. He had difficulty understanding that with a fixed or possibly decreasing supply (amount of doctors) and an increased demand for healthcare (we are going to be covering another how many more million people?), prices will increase.

I think my chances would have been about 10 times greater getting a 3 year old to understand NAIRU than convincing this guy that health care costs will only increase with Obamacare.

That is, unless the government intervenes on the supply side (force doctors to practice and force people to go into the profession) or the demand side (rationing care).

Eprider on September 3, 2009 at 11:40 PM

Canada has a population of 31 million, and 5 million uninsured, even with socialized medicine. Compare that to the US, with a population of 300 million. If we had the same success rate as Canada has, we would end up with 50 million uninsured, which is larger than the claimed number today.

Vashta.Nerada on September 3, 2009 at 11:55 PM

I no longer want to be … a lumber jack.

Shy Guy on September 4, 2009 at 12:15 AM

I no longer want to be … a lumber jack.

Shy Guy on September 4, 2009 at 12:15 AM

lolo..excellent

Jeff from WI on September 4, 2009 at 9:46 AM

I no longer want to be … a lumber jack.

Shy Guy on September 4, 2009 at 12:15 AM

He cuts down trees.
He skips and jumps.
He goes to the lavatory.
On Wednesdays he goes shopping
and has buttered scones for tea…

SKYFOX on September 4, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Canadian health care and their “death panels” killed my mother several years ago. They simply decided there was no more they could do for her, so they put her in hospice without food or water. She took over a month to die. I got to watch the last week. Canada’s health system is archaic, incompetent, socialistic, a classic example of third world care and will completely crash inside of five years.

ultracon on September 4, 2009 at 4:15 PM