Across the state, primary care providers are now turning away patients, and waiting times have lengthened because physicians receive below-market payments along with an influx of new patients. 

HillaryCare Exposing Itself as a Catastrophe 

State Experiments with Socialized Medicine Already Failing 

Socialized medicine doesn't work, and state experiments toward that end are proving it. 

One beauty of America's federalist system of government is that individual states can famously serve as "laboratories of democracy."  Thus, state governments can experiment with different approaches to address the needs of their respective citizens, allowing us to determine which approaches work, and which ones don't. 

Indeed, such state experimentation has proven invaluable in maintaining this vital federalist system.  Perhaps the best example in recent memory is the state of Wisconsin's successful implementation of welfare reform in the 1990s.  Based upon Wisconsin's wildly successful model, the former President Bill Clinton was finally forced to succumb to the Newt Gingrich-led effort to enact similar welfare reform nationwide.  The results speak for themselves, as welfare rolls have plummeted while employment and productive behavior among former welfare recipients have skyrocketed. 

This was our federalist system at its best.  And we at the Center for Individual Freedom, as a group dedicated to preserving and advancing the principles enshrined in our Constitution, applaud this flexibility of experimentation, and stand as a vanguard against centralized bureaucratic encroachment upon such freedom. 

Unfortunately, the right of states to engage in policy experimentation sometimes teaches lessons on what not to do. 

Efforts toward socialized medicine are a case in point.  Certain states have recently begun to implement socialized health care initiatives, with already disastrous results. 

Ironically, one vivid example comes from Wisconsin, which provided such positive instruction regarding welfare reform.  The Wisconsin Senate has passed a "single-payer" plan to provide coverage for every resident over age 65, but the price tag and necessary tax increases render it a cancerous proposal for Wisconsin citizens and taxpayers.  It turns out that the scheme will cost each Wisconsin worker an average of $510 every month, and businesses would suffer a new 14.5% tax on wages paid, according to The Wall Street Journal

In addition to the stifling costs and tax increases, which will merely drive businesses, employees and productive citizens to relocate in other states, this plan will provide a perverse incentive for illegal immigrants, the uninsured and less-healthy people to relocate to Wisconsin.  This is because the program is open to anyone who has lived in Wisconsin for 12 months, regardless of employment status. 

In other words, an already poisonous government program will only get worse through a vicious cycle as businesses and healthy citizens leave, while freeloaders and unhealthy citizens replace them.  Additionally, big labor unions salivate at the prospect of unloading their health care responsibilities upon hapless Wisconsin taxpayers. 

Massachusetts, which famously introduced its own effort toward mandatory universal coverage, provides another unfortunate example of the failure of government-paid health care. 

Last year, Massachusetts passed a prematurely-celebrated health care initiative entitled "Commonwealth Care" that provided state-subsidized coverage and required all residents to purchase insurance.  State residents who fail to obtain insurance are penalized with additional state taxes.  The law also required employers to either pay for health insurance or cough up a hefty tax penalty for each employee that they cannot cover. 

Anyone who has passed Econ 101 could have predicted what would happen next, but it nevertheless caught government bureaucrats by surprise. 

Across the state, primary care providers are now turning away patients, and waiting times have lengthened because physicians receive below-market payments along with an influx of new patients.  Thus, Massachusetts bureaucrats are learning a lesson that even Communist bloc countries learned decades ago:  when government social planners artificially increase demand and reduce supply via price controls and rationing, shortages and inferior quality quickly follow. 

And this is an idea that so many wish to emulate in other states and on a national scale? 

After all, there is a reason that Canadians come to America for health care coverage, rather than vice-versa, regardless of Michael Moore's "Sicko" propaganda.  Namely, the free market works, and socialized medicine does not. 

Defenders of socialized medicine often respond that the nation's V.A. system proves that government-provided health insurance can work.  What these activists fail to acknowledge, however, is that the V.A. system is not a form of health "insurance."  Rather, it is a social safety net provided by taxpayers to veterans in recognition of the great contribution that veterans have made to our nation.  It is a benefit that they have earned, not a society-wide system of health insurance.  Accordingly, this well-deserved reward to our nation's veterans does not provide a parallel to socialized medicine. 

Across the country, state politicians and presidential candidates seek to spread these failed schemes in pursuit of cheap political points.  It is incumbent upon more sober Americans to stop them. 

July 27, 2007
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