Socialized Death

Kate McMillan points to several recent cases in Canada of people dying of prostate cancer while waiting for treatment.

Sure, the service is awful. But it’s free! And rich and poor die, making it fair! Or, maybe not:

In late February, it was announced that the NDP’s Agriculture Minister Clay Serby had to step down from his portfolio and would be out of the legislature, while undergoing treatment for cancer. The type of cancer has not been revealed, but it is known that it’s “treatable” and that he has already had surgery. Officials stressed that Serby was not given preferential treatment or moved to the front of the waiting list.

Okay, maybe ministers get special treatment. And rich people who can afford to get treatment in the U.S. But, other than that. . .

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hal says:

    Not that I would defend the Canadian system, but let’s put a bit of perspective on this.

    New England Journal of Medicine 336, no. 11 [1997], They concluded that almost 100,000 people died in the United States each year because of lack of needed care–three times the number of people who died of AIDs.

    Would that we could hold our own system to the august standards that you judge the Canadian system to.

    We have the most expensive health care system in the work and about 45 million of us don’t have access to any of it – most of the children.

    Something about “taking the log out of our own eye” before we ridicule the moats in the other system comes quickly to mind.

  2. We have the most expensive health care system in the work and about 45 million of us don’t have access to any of it – most of the children.

    Not having health insurance is not the same thing as not having any access to health care. Indeed, part of the health care problem is that the people who don’t have health insurance clog up the emergency services–because they can’t turn anyone away.

    (Mind you, many of those who don’t have health insurance can’t be bothered to apply for Medicaid or state programs like TennCare.)

  3. Also, a lot of young people don’t have health insurance, and just pay for services on an “as needed” basis. I did that for most of my twenties.

    We also have a lot of people in this country who don’t seek health care because they are living on the margins by choice. Sadly, a lot of drug addicts fall into this category.

  4. McGehee says:

    Chris, please — don’t try to confuse Hal with facts.