Nobody likes spending more on health care than we have to, but it's not self-evident that moving to a single-payer system like what Canada has would be a better choice. In exchange for paying less out of pocket for their health care, Canadians pay higher taxes -- and they often have to wait long times for the health care they want. About a fifth of Canadians report difficulty getting timely treatment for their health concerns.
And imagine this: Even with "free" health care, 13.7% of Canadians don't have a regular family doctor. Britain has a different system of socialized medicine, but they have serious staffing problems, in part driven by the fact they don't have enough money. Britain, like Canada, also has problems with long waiting times, including people with life-threatening conditions having to wait for a week to see a doctor.
It's disappointing that we haven't heard more from the Presidential candidates about how they're going to address the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare. Whether we realize it or not, we're putting 12.4% of our income into Social Security as well as 2.9% into Medicare. One of the things we're likely not looking at is how changing medical needs expand the role of government-sponsored health care over time. As we come closer to turning bio-engineered organs and other cutting-edge technologies into reality, we shouldn't be surprised to see the costs rise as well.
We were able to talk with Representative Steve King and Senator John McCain about the caucuses this afternoon. Don't forget that WHO will have comprehensive caucus coverage on Thursday night, starting in the early evening and lasting through the results in the night.
Singing Auld Lang Syne for the new year? Take a look at the translation and you'll probably understand why it was a bagpipe song. One thing I'd never known about New Year's traditions was that Southerners eat black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year. However you celebrate, please be safe.