Socialized Medicine Denies Surgery to Smokers

One of the most insidious problems with socialized medicine is usually overlooked: It gives the lifestyle nannies a very potent way to control everyone else. Anyone who makes choices the nannies disapprove of will find their medical care delayed, and maybe even denied.

This has been going on for quite a while in England, where smokers are routinely discriminated against. They’re being moved to the bottom of waiting lists, and some doctors are simply refusing to treat them. And now it’s official – if you smoke, you can’t get surgery until you’ve quit for at least a month.

It can be argued that such discrimination is justified when the resource in question is rare. For instance, if there’s only one kidney available for every ten people who need one, it makes sense to ration it to the person who is the most likely to survive the operation and live the longest afterward. Requiring the patient to be as healthy as possible before the procedure isn’t unreasonable.

But for standard procedures that’s both an excuse and an admission that socialized medicine is, by nature, rationed.

Removing all the market forces and training people that medical care as “free,” (or worse yet, a “right”) removes all incentives to conserve resources. The system gets flooded, can’t handle the overflow, and becomes as congested as the entry way of a Wal-Mart running a special on mullet trimmers. Procedures that can be scheduled in days in free market countries require waits of weeks or months in socialized medicine countries. If they can ration care and demand behavior modification for the kidney patent, why not do the same for everyone else?

This is where the nannies come on board. These dour do-gooders demand that everyone else be as risk adverse as they are. They will simply not tolerate people choosing fun over safety or risk over longevity. Anyone with the audacity to stand up to them, to reject their meddling and make their own decisions, will lose their access to health care.

This is already the norm in Britain, especially with smokers. There’s little doubt it will spread to drinkers, and then, perhaps, to rock climbers and bungee jumpers and motorcycle riders. And people who speed, or have unprotected sex, or eat their meat rare. When everyone is being forced to pay for health care, then everyone has to stay in line, or else.

The ill fated Hillarycare plan would have made it a felony to go outside the system and buy your own health care. (Which ends any need to discuss whether or not Hillary is a fascist.) If this policy gets put in place, adults engaging in politically incorrect behavior would discover they couldn’t get care at any price.

We are already besieged on all sides by the nannies who are successfully demanding that Big Brother limit more and more of our decisions. If we are foolish enough to elect weasels who institute socialized medicine in the US, we may find ourselves faced with the choice of living according to the nannies demands or living without medical care.


2 Comment(s)

  1. That is the best argument against socialized healthcare, since the state has to fund everyone, it gives them the incentive and “duty” to start dictating personal choices.

    Funny thing is that a number of countries with socialized healthcare are starting to consider full or partial privatization of their healthcare systems because they have been expensive and often deliver poor quality care. The United Kingdom’s health system has a very poor record and I think smokers are being used as a scapegoat for the incompetence of the politicians and civil servants who run the clusterfuck.

    Harley | Jun 12, 2007 | Reply

  2. Ehh… I’m in the UK. The smoking thing only applies to situations where being a smoker will create problems for surviving/recovering from treatment, and does not apply to urgent or emergency care.

    Erra | Jun 27, 2009 | Reply

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