My colleague Alex Berezow at the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has a skill for writing efficiently about complex issues like COVID-19 and health care. In one of his latest posts at ACSH he points out the deep flaw in the notion of “universal health care” in a way that, with some minor edits, could be repurposed to criticize the notion of “housing as a human right.” Simply put, when anything is made universal it almost certainly isn’t unless there is an absolute equilibrium between supply and demand, a state that never exists permanently in nature or by fiat.
Berezow is stuck in Poland with his family because of travel restrictions, and when his young child became ill, he had to seek health care. After a fine experience with a private physician Berezow took his child to one of the providers giving “universal access” to follow up the child’s illness. It was a terrible experience with a misdiagnosis and a bizarre excuse for not administering a needed vaccine. Berezow’s last paragraph sums it up (links are Berezow’s):
“Polish doctors are overworked and underpaid, which is why there is a shortage of specialists in the country. (The shortage is particularly acute for pediatricians, anesthesiologists, and surgeons.) Many doctors leave for other EU countries. Some of those who stay behind will accept payments under the table in exchange for faster, better treatment. This former socialist nation is now capitalist, after all.”
What happens when we have “universal housing” in the United States when socialists stoking the collapse of the rental housing market get their way? Exactly the same state of affairs Berezow describes in Polish health care: few providers and a black market in housing for people who are waiting for “universal” housing being rationed by the