Long lines, waits for care, endless bureaucracy: this is what happens when you move to socialized medicine, right? Wrong. For years, the Republicans in Congress have argued a socialized, government run health care system would lead to all of these things, but as China recently found out– moving from a socialized system to a private market system, like we have here, has caused increased problems of accessing medical care.
A recent column by David Pierson in the LA Times is well worth a read and outlines the growing problems of the health care system in China.
Appointments for the best doctors are normally snapped up before sunrise. Lines begin forming in front of the hospital’s six registration counters at least a day in advance.
Communist China had a socialized health care system, but as many things in the country has been shifting toward a Western style with limited government involvement in recent years. This has created large disparities in access to medical care between the wealthy and the poor and between urban and rural populations.
China is taking action. The government has launched a campaign aimed at rural areas which will invest $124 billion in rural services. However, it may already be to late. Thousands of rural residents have migrated into the cities citing the broken rural health care system.
Rationing is unfortunately part of the health care system no matter the level of government involvement. When put simply, there are a limited number or resources and at times the demand overwhelms the supply. It is unfair to say a shift from a private system to a system with greater government envolvement will solely cause a nightmare situation. As we have seen, encouraging the private market causes rationing and long lines. The real trick is balancing the government involvement and ability to reduce disparities in access with the beneifits of the private market system.
By Emma Sandoe