The Sovietization of Medical Care, by Jeffrey A. Tucker 

Socialized medicine is not within field-goal range of what its purported to do. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at

Soviet health care

My good friend professor Yuri Maltsev died this week and I’ve spent these mourning days recalling our conversations. He was a leading economist in the old Soviet Union, as the top advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev’s chief economist. He defected in 1989 before the Soviet Union fell apart. We became fast friends just after he landed in DC, and we spent a year or more together collaborating on many projects. 

He was a font of amazing stories about how things really worked in the Soviet Union. Contrary to what US economists were claiming until the very end, it was not a rich country with mighty industrial achievements. It was a poor country where nothing worked. There were no replacement parts for most machines including tractors. He doubted that there would ever be a nuclear exchange simply because most Soviet workers knew that the bombs were all for show. If they ever dared press the button, they would most likely blow themselves up. 

As the systems of command and control in those states fell apart (Russia, East Germany, Romania, Poland, Czechia, and so on), Yuri was in a position to advise the reforms. To his sadness and contrary to his advice, even though the parties and leaderships collapsed, there was almost no attempt to reform the health-care sectors of these countries. They left them all in place while focusing on things like heavy industry and technology sectors (and here banditry took over). 

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