Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, April 18, 2003

Since Sullivan is out, I have to point out some BBC slander. It seems that free-market reforms in China are responsible for SARS.

Now that China is in the grip of a new and mysterious virus, Sars, there are fears that a system which discourages some people from going to a doctor may also be helping spread disease. Twenty years ago, virtually all Chinese were given low-cost or free medical care by government hospitals. Today, only officials and state enterprise employees get government medical care. Everyone else must fend for themselves. The wealthy elite can now buy private medical insurance. But even white collar workers like Li Yuan think the cost is too high.

But Xu Yonghai says that the most damaging result of China's new free-market health care system could be that authorities are simply unaware of the spread of disease. He cites Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), the atypical pneumonia that probably originated in China, as an example. China has been criticised for allegedly under-reporting Sars deaths and infections. Health workers in Beijing hospitals have repeatedly told journalists that government figures are a gross under-estimation, and that officials have told them to keep silent about the real numbers for fear of spreading panic.

For starters if there were a free press and an open government to go along with those 'free-market' reforms we wouldn't have to worry about trusting the Chinese government to tell us about the number of SARS cases. Secondly, this idea that China had a wonderful 'free' (or cheap) health care system whereby everyone in the country recieved great health care on demand is the same lie trotted out about Casrto. It was fed to us by the Communist goverment of China and has been repeated so many times everyone believes it. With no free press to contrdict them and the 'independent' international news agencies playing footsie to maintain access (where have we heard that before?) this has become an accepted fact. The truth is that 20 years ago all of the people who had SARS would have disappeared had they gone to a government clinic and nobody would have ever known.

< email | 4/18/2003 10:50:00 AM | link

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