This article appeared in Consent #8 (May-July 1989)


- William Frampton

{Mr. Frampton is Freedom Party's Regional Chairman, Metro Toronto.}

"Lack of beds killed hubby, wife claims" read the newspaper headline of January l4. But what the headline and article didn't say was --- what caused the lack of beds?

While the tragic deaths of patients waiting for surgery may well be due to the worsening shortage of hospital facilities, it's time to wake up to the fact that such shortages are the inevitable result of any system of socialized medicine.

All useful products and services --- including health care --- must be produced before they can be consumed. Since no one will produce without being paid for their work, there can never be any such thing as "free" health care. Health care, like other things in life, will always have a price tag attached. The only questions to be settled are how much will it cost and who will pay for it?

The price of any good is determined by supply and demand in the market. Market prices give producers vital information about the quantity of any good that is desired by the public. Changes in demand modify prices, which in turn tell producers how the supply should be adjusted. Any interference with this process makes it impossible to solve the problem of how much should be produced.

Under socialized medicine the bills are paid directly by the government. Since the patient never knows how much his care costs, he has no incentive to restrict consumption and as a result, demand skyrockets. The government has artificially inflated the demand without a corresponding increase in the supply, creating an inevitable shortage. As a result, costs have escalated much faster than its ability to pay them.

As long as Ontario has a government-controlled health care system, the situation cannot improve. Socialized medicine is dangerous to our health.

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