The Circle Completes Itself

Time for a Curmudgeonly Gem Of Insight:

“Unexpected consequences aren’t unexpected to everyone.”

Seven years ago I commented on the contentious and very recent passage of Obamacare. I noted that a competitive market existed in certain medical venues such as fake boobs, dentistry, and optometry.

“…breast augmentation surgery is my explanation as to why Obamacare wont completely suck.”
Adaptive Curmudgeon 2010

Anything paid for by someone other than the consumer, from orthopedics to sneakers, will inevitably by definition trend toward crappy. (Even if you’re invested in the politics and wish to call that result “unexpected”.) For example, back in the long forgotten distant era of 2010 most really scary medical horror stories tended to come from VA Hospitals, inner city ER rooms, and abroad (I’m looking at you British NHS); places where the patient isn’t holding the power of the purse. Striving for a silver lining, I postulated that as conditions worsen perhaps people with money and inclination may form an alternate market; just as they have for things which aren’t covered by insurance; like fake tits and LASIK.

We’re not there yet but here’s another sign on the road: Hospitals performing private cosmetic operations despite delays for necessary surgeries. It’s from Canada, our beloved neighbor to the north, and earlier and more complete adopter of socialized medicine than our fair nation. So does the story have all the “unexpected consequences” of socialized medicine? Lets dig a little further shall we?

“While some Canadians wait months to undergo medically necessary surgeries, public hospitals across the country are routinely providing operating-room space for cosmetic, privately paid operations”

Extended waiting times? Check. Private money gets more timely care? Check.

“Breast enhancements, nose jobs and other aesthetic procedures are being carried out during daytime hours — employing the same facilities and support staff…”

Fake tits, is there nothing they can’t do?

“despite the demand and long queues, governments often don’t provide enough money to fill standard operating-room hours — typically 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”

Rationing, wait times, inadequate funding? I’m shocked. This is my shocked face.

“That means there’s room to allow patient-paid, non-medical work”

I can see that. I’m a big fan of efficiency. Would it be better that the empty facilities remain unused?

““It’s quite obvious that we could be utilizing those operating rooms for a longer period of time for performing medically necessary surgeries,” said Dr. Mitchell Brown”

No argument from me. If there was more magic unicorn money, hospitals could fill the operating rooms more completely. Wake me when we get to the part that wasn’t covered in Econ 101.

“the delay even for heavily funded “priority” treatments like hip replacements remains daunting. More than 20 per cent of those patients in 2016 waited longer than the recommended six months”

I used this phrase “As soon as the bare bones system is run by the people that brought us the TSA, the post office, and the Department of Motor Vehicles quality will become craptacular.” Substitute timeliness for quality and I called it. Also, here’s my favorite DMV joke.

So, amid the glorious Canadian “free” healthcare there are long waits and limited funds. So what’s this got to do with using the empty facilities for boob jobs?

““I can also see this is a means for hospitals to raise revenue.””

Boom! An “unexpected consequence”, hospitals (even ones that provide “free” healthcare) are scrambling to raise revenue. It’s like capitalism is less a stuffy theory in a book written by old dead guys and more like the way the universe works. For my next trick I’ll examine whether gravity points down and if the sky is blue.

So how does earlier adopter Canada’s use of a hospital compare with latecomer Americas?

“Brown noted that Canadian hospitals have spare, unfunded slots despite the fact they keep much more limited operating hours than their American counterparts. Many U.S. surgical facilities run for twice as long — from 7 a.m. to midnight, he said.”

Just like those plucky Yanks, to squeeze extra use out of expensive facilities. Give it time and I’m sure we’ll chill out and go Canadian on that front as well.

If only there was one line that could sum this all up and complete the entire circle:

““Hospitals are pretty much all working in the red,” noted Rotenberg, “and this is a source of revenue for them.””

I can live with that.


Hat tip to Knuckledraggin My Life Away.

About AdaptiveCurmudgeon

Adaptive Curmudgeon is handsome, brave, and wise.
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3 Responses to The Circle Completes Itself

  1. Ray says:

    I have a very raw emotional sore spot when it comes to Canada’s health care system. They killed my father.

    He was on a cruise ship with one of the family, headed for a tour of the Alaska glaciers. Shortly after the ship left Seattle, he suffered a heart attack (I don’t know what type). The ship’s doctor got him stabilized and my father was showing improvement. The ship pulled in to Victoria, British Columbia and transferred my father to the nearest hospital. During the transfer, the ambulance attendant removed the I.V. that the ship’s doctor had started to keep my father’s fluid levels up. The hospital placed my father in a ward and he went on the “waiting list”. My sister had driven like a madwoman from Washington up to BC. When she got to the hospital, my father still hadn’t had his I.V. replaced by the hospital. My sister was going up and down the hallway begging every nurse she could find trying to get them to start an IV. It took 3 hours before someone finally got another IV started. In the interim, my father had slipped into a near coma from lack of fluids. His body started to shut down. It was 8 HOURS before a doctor finally showed up, but by then it was too late and my father died from heart and other organ failure.

    He should not have died.

    Here’s another tidbit to think about. Do you really want your healthcare run by people who can’t even run a profitable whorehouse? The government took over a brothel in Nevada due to back taxes owed. Within a year, they had run the brothel into the ground and it had to be shut down.


    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      That’s a tragedy. My condolences.

      I’ve heard other, similar, stories when I’ve been in Canada. Back in ’10 the media was constantly telling us how awesome Canada’s magic medicine was but I never heard the press mention the other side of the coin.

      Personally, I want my Doctor to work for me. Specifically for me. I’m grumpy like that. But my opinion wasn’t important enough in 2010 and “my side” lost the debate. Interestingly, when “my side” lost the vote we didn’t start protests that involved blocking streets, burning cars, or wearing pink hats. 🙂

  2. Max Damage says:

    My condolences, Ray, as pitiful as they might be compared to your loss. Allow me to note, however, that you spent 3 hours trying to get somebody, anybody, to start that IV. In that time I suspect you could have learned how to do it yourself from a YouTube video or an on-line nursing program provided by many nursing colleges. And then you’d likely be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. If you can quite literally save a life and be prosecuted for it, if the doctors and nurses don’t respond to the patient’s needs, then every time you see the words “health care” you can substitute “government dictates” and be closer to the truth.

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