A minor surgical procedure always puts one in a reflective mood about the prospect of government-run medical services.  At least it has that effect on me, whereas others may not be so lucky.  My brief incarceration as I recuperate bids me to think back on the process, which began on January 20.  The doctor said, “Yep, you need procedure X.”  I said, “OK, let’s do it.”  He said, “I have the 16th of February or the 18th of March free.”  “Let’s go with the 16th.”  So we did, and here I am.  A successful minor procedure completed with relatively little encumbrance from the statist know-it-alls.  I knew what it would cost beforehand, considered the costs and benefits, and agreed to pay.  The doctor was willing, and so it was done.

Imagine the same scenario repeated under Brit-care or Canada-care, both of which have become hopelessly dysfunctional, or under Obamacare, which would be dysfunctional out of the box.  If I had been allowed the procedure at all, it would have been because some political compromise, or bureaucratic decision, had blessed it.  It would have been scheduled not one month, but perhaps 6 or 9 months, after the decision was made.  It may never have been scheduled at all, because in the strictest sense, it was not life-threatening and did not fall into any category typically favored by the political class these days.

The faults of the medical care system in the United States – and there are many – can all be traced to the manipulation and distortion of the free marketplace by well-intentioned government meddling.  The sooner we face this fact, the better:  whenever the state injects itself, it screws things up.  This is true not because people in government are bad or evil (as a general rule), but simply because government does not have and can never have the kind of incentives as do individuals making free decisions, which naturally tend to control costs and increase quality.  Even so, our system is still the best and freest in the world, but the clearest way to improvement is less government, not more.