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Natasha Richardson and "Medical Capital"

In writing about socialist medical care like they have in Canada, one of my points has been that socialist systems tend to be undercapitalized, as in such a system, capital becomes a liability rather than an asset. For example, the county where I work has about 80,000 residents and has as many MRI machines as does Montreal, which has several million people living in the area.

One doctor has pointed out that it took close to three hours to drive Richardson from Mount Tremblant to the trauma center in Montreal because Quebec has no medical helicopter system, unlike the USA, where such helicopters are common.

We should not be surprised. In Canada, no medical device has the capability of producing an income, so hospitals and medical care facilities often lack what is common in this country. For example, if a hospital or medical practice here purchases an MRI, that machine is able to provide an income to the provider as patients use it.

However, because no one can charge medical consumers for anything in Canada, the decision to purchase an MRI machine is purely one of cost. Medical facilities have only so much money to use, and the purchase of a device that performs MRIs means funds are drawn away from paying medical workers.

I remember a dentist friend telling me about visiting a dental clinic in Germany, which has had socialized medical care for years. He said it was like stepping back into the 1960s.

So, Ms. Richardson, RIP. Unfortunately, we are going to learn all of the wrong lessons from this sad event, as David Kramer has pointed out.


Contact William L. Anderson

William L. Anderson is a professor of economics at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland.

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