Archive for Health
Dave Killion — April 29, 2013
Better watch out for the Cheese Police.
At Reason.com, Baylen Linnekin writes about “The Government’s Looming Crackdown on Raw Milk Cheese” -
“Earlier this month reports emerged that the FDA had detained a U.S.-bound shipment of mimolette, a French cheese”… “If this FDA crackdown on a set of rather obscure, mitey artisanal cheeses that conform to traditional standards sounds like a small, targeted regulatory intervention involving cheeses you’ve never heard of, consider that this agency crackdown is but one small part of the FDA’s larger, very concerted international and domestic attack on artisanal cheeses—especially those made with raw milk.”
Although the article refers chiefly to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Linnekin also makes it clear that what is happening in the U.S. is also underway in Canada. Anyone surprised?
Not me. There are a bunch of bureaucrats who have budgets to justify and jobs to protect, so they have to find something to do. So, let’s see… shall we target big, corporate food producers? You know, the ones who have lawyers and make donations to the politicians on whom I depend for employment? Or, how about some defenceless small scale artisanal producers and organic farmers? Yeah, that sounds better. Let’s go after the hippies and the Amish.
Coming soon: Black Market cheese. If you’re making any, let me know, because I want to buy it. In fact, I’ve heard of people using Bitcoin to make anonymous purchases of illicit products over the internet. I don’t know if raw-milk cheeses are amongst those goods, but if not, there’s a market opportunity for somebody.
Dave Killion — April 25, 2013
Thank goodness that for every area where Canada has regulated innovation near to death, there is a country where the market is permitted freedom. If that were not the case, this world might never see $800 heart surgeries -
“Using pre-fabricated buildings, stripping out air-conditioning and even training visitors to help with post-operative care, (the chain of “no-frills” Narayana Hrudayalaya clinics in southern India) believes it can cut the cost of heart surgery”… “Already famous for his “heart factory” in Bangalore, which does the highest number of cardiac operations in the world, the latest Narayana Hrudayalaya (“Temple of the Heart”) projects are ultra low-cost facilities.”
It is a cold fact of nature that your typical Canadian would sooner bleed out and die on the operating table before admitting there are problems with the universal health insurance system. Well, all I can say is ‘Go, India!’ Neither Canada, the U.S. nor any other country is going to see constantly improving health care and perpetually falling prices until governments withdraw entirely from every facet of the health care market. If it weren’t for progress on the margins, we’d have none at all.
Hat Tip: Neatorama
Dave Killion — March 31, 2013
If the federal government approves a licence application to open three clinics, willing Canadians may soon be able to make up to $40 a week by selling plasma to Canadian Plasma Resources. Self-interested parties eager to keep market competition out of health care are not supportive -
“The chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare said she was shocked by the news that a company in Ontario was planning to pay for plasma.
“The critical issue here is opening up our blood services sector to for-profit companies who have an interest in providing a profit to their shareholders that at times could conflict with the imperative to maintain high quality health standards for Canadians,” Dr. Danielle Martin said in an interview Wednesday at Women’s College Hospital, where she is a family physician.”
Given that about 20,000 Canadians who received tainted blood products from U.S. sources contracted HIV and Hepatitis C, and that those U.S. sources paid for donations, one might think Dr. Martin has a point. One would be mistaken. Although the Canadian system was extensively revamped after the Krever Commission, market forces had already put key players (such as Health Management Associates) out of business. Furthermore, Canada has continued to use products from for-profit companies, to no ill effect -
“…officials distinguish between two uses of plasma. Plasma used for transfusions is always donated as part of an extensive screening and testing system.
Plasma can also processed and purified into therapeutic products using technology that inactivates viruses. For this stream, Canada uses products made from U.S. paid donor plasma.”
In a world where a free market in organ donations is desperately needed, it is depressing that there is even a debate concerning for-profit blood donation. It is doubly depressing that so much of the opposition comes from the medical community, which is bound, by oath, to do no harm. Cross your fingers, and hope the feds do the right thing here.
Dave Killion — March 18, 2013
Up yours, Bloomberg!
At times, even the most optimistic libertarian can temporarily succumb to hopelessness, brought on by fending off a seemingly endless torrent of tyranny and stupidity. I confess, there were moments when I was so depressed about the future that I would have happily voted for any candidate who promised nothing more than a quick and merciful death for my children. Happily, libertarians are better able to quash such sentiments thanks to our understanding of the difference between what is seen and what is not seen. Take, for example, Judge Milton Tingling’s rejection of New York Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed large-sized soda ban. What is seen? That New Yorkers may continue to decide for themselves whether or not to purchase sugary drinks by the litre. What is not seen? The snuffing of many regulations certain to have followed -
“Public health activists were already pursuing plans to use the ban as an entering wedge to get laws passed in other cities and states restricting food and beverage choices. “I think you’re not going to see a lot of push back here,” predicted Bloomberg himself.”
So, this is a bigger victory for freedom than it appears, even for Canadians. In Victoria, in Vancouver, in Charlottetown… in every major city in Canada, there are paternalists disguised as public health specialists, and each of them is eager to conflate medical judgements (tanning beds might raise your risk of cancer) with moral judgements (you should not use tanning beds). For the sake of their jobs and their egos, they look to deny their friends, neighbours, and family members the freedom to decide to trade some health and longevity for other things they might prefer, such as pleasure or convenience. Judge Tingling’s finding will almost certainly chill the enthusiasm of some of these nannies, and bolster the fighting resolve of their opponents. That’s a big win.