Thursday, February 19, 2009

Regulation works. Single-payer healthcare works

Canada and the Recession: Angles of Deflection - Economix Blog -

As Fareed Zakaria points out in a recent Newsweek article, Canada is weathering the financial crisis better than we are. Canadian banks are more old-fashioned (that is, centrally regulated) than our own. Stricter leverage requirements have been enforced. Subprime mortgages have not been encouraged. Prohibitions against foreign bank takeovers have protected Canadian institutions from competition from the United States, but also buffered them against financial contagion.

Mr. Zakaria overstates the case when he claims that no government bailout has taken place there. The Canadian government has provided substantial assistance to the financial sector. But its efforts to increase available credit remain far less costly than our trillion-dollar subsidies. A more serious concern for Canadians is the likelihood that the sinking American and global economy will pull them down.

If unemployment continues to rise over the next few months in the United States, as predicted, many families will lose their health insurance coverage or struggle to pay premiums they can ill afford. By contrast, increased unemployment won’t reduce Canadian access to health care.

As the economist (and fellow Economix blogger) Uwe Reinhardt explains, the single-payer Canadian health care system delivers very good results for about half the per-person cost of ours — with huge savings from reduced paperwork. Economic disparities in access to health care are significantly lower there. More...


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