|Steyn on Canada and the Commonwealth|
|Wednesday, 17 June 2009|
This story from Le Journal de Montréal is en français, but you don't have to know the lingo of the Continent to figure out the meaning of le mot "incontinent":
Des patients souffrant d'un problème d'incontinence grave doivent attendre jusqu'à trois ans pour une opération qui dure à peine 30 minutes.
Which means: In the Province of Quebec, patients suffering from serious incontinence — ie, they have to aller aux toilettes jusqu'à 12 fois par nuit (that's 12 times a night) — have to wait three years for a half-hour operation. That's 3 years times 365 nights times 12 trips to the bathroom.
There are only two urologists in the province who perform the operation, in part because hospital budgets are so tight they decline to buy the necessary "neurostimulator."
The central point about socialized medicine is that restricting access is the only means of controlling costs. And, when comparisons of health "costs" between nations are made, the time you spend in the bathroom each night and the subsequent impact on your work performance the following day are not factored in.
Of course, if you get sick of the three-year wait, you can always drive a couple of hours south, with frequent rest stops, to Fletcher Allen Hospital in Vermont or Dartmouth-Hitchcock in New Hampshire, and write a check. For the moment. Once the U.S. system has been "reformed" so that its wait lists are up to Euro-Canadian standards, poor incontinent Quebeckers will have to drive to Costa Rica. And that's a lot more rest stops.