There is some dismaying news coming out of England, that land often held up as a socialized medicine success story.

Falling numbers of state dentists in England has led to some people taking extreme measures, including extracting their own teeth, according to a new study released Monday.

Others have used superglue to stick crowns back on, rather than stumping up for private treatment, said the study. One person spoke of carrying out 14 separate extractions on himself with pliers.

More typically, a lack of publicly-funded dentists means that growing numbers go private: 78 percent of private patients said they were there because they could not find a National Health Service (NHS) dentist, and only 15 percent because of better treatment.

Scarcity is what you get with socialized medicine. When there is no obvious cost to visiting the dentist or doctor, people will seek out medical care for stuff fixed with an aspirin. Miss V has twice complained about her head hurting just before she went to bed. And in both times she said she wanted to visit the doctor. Doctors have the same magical property as bandages. For Miss V, any owie can be made better with a bandage, and just visiting the doctor will make any pain or illness go away better than aspirin. It’s magic! And speaking of flights of fantasy, she has no understanding of the costs of visiting the doctor because she doesn’t pay anything for it. Because she doesn’t pay for it, she’d be willing to visit the doctor for every headache and stomach upset she gets.

And that’s what you get whenever the cost is hidden from the people using the service. If the out-of-pocket cost of visiting the hospital’s emergency room were $100, people would go only when there is an emergency. If the out-of-pocket costs were reduced to zero, people would visit for every sniffle, headache, and skinned knee. The increased use of the emergency room would increase the hospital’s costs of supplying health care to the people. That bill will be passed to the government who turns around and taxes the people. At some point the government will push back to the hospital and refuse to increase funding. The hospital will then turn around and refuse services to the people, commonly in the form of slower processing of patients. That is why we hear of long waiting times for patients in Canada. Are you anxious to have 5+ week waiting times to see your doctor only to spend another 6+ weeks waiting for the specialist? Long lines are what you get with Socialism.

But in addition to the way socialized medicine slows down service to hold down costs, socialized medicine also places a cap on medical salaries. When you limit the pay for a job, you discourage people from entering that field. Why would someone spend the years of medical training to become a dentist or a doctor when there is a limit on the salary people could earn? The end result is “[f]alling numbers of state dentists in England.”

Socialism sucks, and socialized medicine is Socialism. It’s no wonder that socialized medicine sucks.

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