Laura Hillier Didn’t Have to Die. Single Payer Killed Her With Bad Budgeting and Bad Facility Management.
A beautiful young woman, full of life and only 18, died recently. She didn’t have to. She had a curable form of leukemia. She needed a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. There were abundant compatible donors. All she lacked was the right kind of specialized operating room.
This young woman didn’t lack for health care “coverage.” She was in the hands of the lauded Canadian health care system. Universal coverage promised to all. Except, there was a backlog to get the right kind of room for the needed procedure. There were 30 people booked ahead of her. Laura Hillier deteriorated, suffered, and died while waiting for her elusive appointment with medical rescue.
Her recorded message to the world is haunting. Listen to it embedded in the Toronto Star’s account of her illness and death, and her parents’ campaign to bring change to Canadian health care. According to the the Daily Mail, Laura’s doctors told her there were numerous compatible donors. They just couldn’t quite schedule her yet.
After Laura’s death and her parents’ passionate campaign to draw attention to the senseless problems that caused it
The health ministry approved more than $100 million in spending recently to redirect hundreds of patients who will probably die waiting for transplants in Ontario to hospitals in Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit. More than 200 cases have been outsourced since September, yet only 19 patients have made it there so far.
As Americans debate the future of our own health care system, it is worth remembering policies and grand designs should be judged based on their results, not on their aspirations, intentions, or paper promises. American facilities in Ohio, New York, and Michigan (Detroit, Michigan!) offer capacity that the well-intentioned Canadian system cannot.
Maybe America’s system would improve even more if we could get government further out of it and free exchange further into it.