It is a simple fact that scarcity means society must devise a mechanism or set of mechanisms to determine who gets the goodies. The primary mechanism that we use for most goods and services is the price system, but gubmnt intervention has crippled the effectiveness of that mechanism considerably in the health care industry in Canada.
So other mechanisms must be designed to ration health care. In Canada, we nominally use "first-come, first-served" or queuing, but there are numerous ways that people can and do jump the queue. I wrote about those yesterday.
Today, though, I want to point out a more pernicious form of rationing. A close friend was expressing being upset with some treatment provided by a nurse and was told something to the effect that,
You should watch yourself. You know, your doctor has plenty of patients and plenty of patients waiting to get on the list and doesn't need patients with an attitude.This example highlights that when rationing occurs, it must be according to some criterion or criteria. The gubmnt-contrived shortages we observe in Canada mean that people who control the doling out of services sometimes get to pick and choose according their own tastes and wishes. This system opens the door for increased discrimination and reduced responsiveness to patients' wishes (or, dare I say, "needs").
Overall, favourtism, discrimination, and the incentives for getting to know the right people are among the more pernicious effects engendered by gubmnt-contrived shortages.