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A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing, Part II

Amy Ridenour at The National Center Blog continues her series Huffington Post Beware: A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part II. Here's a portion:

I've already shown in the first post of this series that in some very important ways the American system outperforms the single-payer systems of Canada and Britain, but let me throw a bit more cold water on the idea that "single-payer systems work and they save money." In Canada, currently 1.2 million people are unable to find a family doctor due to shortages. According to Dr. David Gratzer, a few towns each year hold lotteries to see who gets to see the doctor. And if you have the time, check out this teaser for a documentary about the Canadian health care system that shows, among other things, a woman named Diane Gorsuch, who had appointments for open-heart surgery cancelled twice and died of a heart attack before her third appointment.

In Britain, about 61,000 surgeries are cancelled each year. This results in circumstances like what happened to Mavis Skeet, whose cancer became inoperable after her operation was cancelled four times. And, of course, there are the waiting lists, which resulted in Brian Booy becoming the ultimate victim of bureaucracy in that he finally got an appointment for his bypass surgery a year after he had died from a heart attack.

Read the rest of Amy's post. It's an especially good one.

Comments (14)

Every day in this country m... (Below threshold)

Every day in this country medical mistakes are made and people die from them, from medication errors to botched surgeries to misdiagnoses of life-threatening conditions; fortunately the successes vastly outnumber the failures. Medicine is inexact, subject to many, many variables, and vulnerable to human error no matter who is paying for it.

To nit-pick, to cite examples of so-and-so whos surgery came to late in a "socoalized medicine" system is to disingenuously skirt the issue. The number of uninsured people in this country is way too high and growing. Health care is a right, not a luxury, and we need to find a better way to make sure everyone has reasonable access.

American health care is too expensive and too exclusive; we need to look hard, and quickly, at how we do this and find a better way. The current system, driven by special interests in Big Pharm and the HMOs, is leaving many Americans in dire straits, through no fault of their own. We owe it to everyone to do a better job, whatever the system. Maybe it's time again to take the blinders off and make choices based on what is right for the people rather than those who contribute the most $$$ at election time.

shoud be posted by: groucho... (Below threshold)

shoud be posted by: groucho

should check my spelling mo... (Below threshold)

should check my spelling more carefully, I really should..

Health care is a right</... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Health care is a right?

Must have been the Patriot Act that stripped that one out of the Constitution.

I'm curious, which amendment did that one come under?

As long as we're enumerating "rights," groucho, care to list some of the others we should consider? Do we have a "right" to a job? Clothing? A home? A car?

As a canadian victim of hea... (Below threshold)
k. smart:

As a canadian victim of health care myths created by the vested interests(read trade unionists, and government minions), about how health care will be inaccessible, as in the bad old American system, I recommend to everyone that the NC blog has the situation essentially correct. From top to bottom, trade unionists, from the doctors, down to the janitors, to the parking lot attendants, use these scare tactics to prevent accountability and change. And of course, the government 'managers' can't manage, because everything is laid out in the current collective bargaining agreement.

The unions control the system, and play it like a fine violin, doing their job of aquiring ever increasing benefits for their members. Often however, the best interests of the unions are at direct odds with patient care. Virtually every time the government feels the heat from taxpayers over poor medical service, and adds vast sums(billions of dollars) to the system, outcomes do not improve, but pay packets within the system sure do look better.

Monopoly delivery systems never lend themselves to excellence, or quality. Instead they become vast bureaucratic monoliths. They resist change, and are inured to market place interactions, so they are not driven to innovation or peak level performance. They therefore fail to have positive outcomes.

In canada, I think that the quality of emergent care is among the best, world-wide. Right after that point, however, is where the wheels fall off.

Through mechanisms like rationing of service(wait lists), and capping of educational placements(with resultant shortages of skills, and personnel), the patient is ill-served in the single payer system. As governments struggle to cap costs, lest the health care bills consume the entire output of the economy, people do, in fact die, or see a treatable condition escalate into life-long debilitating problems, as opposed cures possible through prompt care.

It is impossible to run down the entire list of negative factors in a short comment, and I have been long-winded enough here. But I do advise the American electorate that the rosy predictions floated by those who would have one taxpayer funded medical system are selling a pig in a poke.

One final thought. When the president tells you he is not interested in 'universal health care', on the basis that the government should not be in the business of subsidizing corporate America, he is telling the absolute truth, and is doing the electorate(taxpayers) a great favor.

Cheers, from canada!

I know it's not in the cons... (Below threshold)

I know it's not in the constitution, but, frankly, I don't think they were thinking that far ahead. You're obviously someone with good health care. If the constitution guarantees our right to stockpile enough weaponry top blow ourselves away at a world record pace, the least we can do is make sure we can cover the cost of the outcome. Just one example. Yes, it is a right. If we can't see that then we're not nearly as civilized as we think we are.

Lurking Observer, I'll fore... (Below threshold)

Lurking Observer, I'll forego my bypass surgery, just send me a new Cadilac.
Sounds like the perfect health plan designed by the democ'rat party. Let the elderly and sick suffer for a few more months and they'll die. No cost to the left wing elitest. They would just go ahead and shoot the sick and elderly but they have been unable to change the laws on murder, so far but they're working on it. Murdering infants is already legal.

Get in really bad health and they'll find a friendly doctor to do away with you. The claim starvation is a painless death.

Groucho, civilization has n... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Groucho, civilization has noting to do with healthcare. What you are trying to do is to subvert the Constitution of the United States of America. No where does it say you get to take my money to pay for something you may or may not be able to afford. When everything costs the same. What you are getting is not worth what you are paying. What you forget is that in a free country, the citizens are responsible for their own lives. That which governs least, governs best.

Here's what gripes me the m... (Below threshold)

Here's what gripes me the most. Healthcare IS accessible. It's health "insurance" that is another issue. Each state has health care available to those who can't afford it. One only has to ask.

Exactly Oyster. I have NEVE... (Below threshold)

Exactly Oyster. I have NEVER heard of anyone being turned away from an emergency room because they don't have insurance. Public Hospitals get refunded by the state anyway (any hospital administrators care to chime in?). Private hospitals, can be different (The ones run by Catholic Healthcare West my area, such as Mercy + Memorial Hospitals in Bakersfield, CA, to cite an example), but probably only to a degree, they are performing a public service and must adhere to those guidelines (such as the Taxi post Jay wrote a bit ago).

ERs do have to take anyone,... (Below threshold)

ERs do have to take anyone, whether they can pay or not, which is why they are often clogged with Medicaid patients with cold symptoms - who would have to pay a doctor if they went to one, so they check in at the ER.

Hospitals generally get some reimbursement from the state, but it is almost never enough to cover the costs incurred by keeping an ER open. That's why there are fewer and fewer ERs around these days . . . the "free" care is driving them out. TANSTAAFL.

There isn't any perfect system for health care. New drugs and advanced technology cost money, and naturally everyone wants the best care available.

Socialized medicine works about as well as socialized anything, which is to say: not very well. Which is why you don't see Americans traveling to Canada or Britain to get medical treatment, but thousands come the other way, paying out of their own pockets for the care they just cannot get at home.

groucho, the problem is tha... (Below threshold)
Ric Locke:

groucho, the problem is that health care, like nutrition and jobs and many others, is what the Left likes to call a "positive right" because they like to lie a lot.

Under that rubric things like free speech are "negative rights." A negative right is something that a second party can only hurt. If you're alone in a forest you can say what you like. It's only when someone else shows up that the possibility of suppressing your speech exists.

A "positive" right requires a second party to provide the wherewithal. If you have the "right" to medical care, somebody else has to become a doctor and provide it to you. If you have the "right" to good nutrition, somebody else has to become a farmer, grow the food, and give you some.

What if the second party declines? What if the person who's required to satisfy your "right" to health care decides to go golfing? What if the person you are demanding food from wants to feed himself and his family first?

The second party isn't enough. "Positive" rights require a third party to the transaction. The third party has be able to compel the second to provide the first with the wherewithal to exercise the "right", and behind all the lies that's the main point. Advocates of "positive" rights lust for the power to compel the reluctant. They are slavers, or would like to be. They want to completely destroy the "negative" rights, which cannot exist if the "positive" ones are being enforced. Therefore honest civil libertarians are opposed to the notion of "positive" rights. Liars may do as they like.


Damn, groucho or gr or what... (Below threshold)

Damn, groucho or gr or whatever, why don't you just move to Canada for that excellent health care? I'm sure you'd fit right in since they are a largely socialized, cradle to grave welfare state.

Nationalized health care is... (Below threshold)

Nationalized health care is not health care-it is triage. They look at you, how old you are, what your problem is and how much it will cost to fix. If the government determines that you will not be able to "pay" for your treatment in taxes they will more then likely deny you treatment or put you on a long waiting list in hopes you will die before you get to the head of that list.

My ex developed a relativly rare degenerative nerve disease. One that if it was treated immediately after discovery he stood a very good chance of living a full life, if not treated immediately the patient would die within 2-4 years and it is a painful death. He never would allow me to put him on my health insurance seeing as he was a British citizen and therefore would get all the best treatment for "free". He would also rant and rave about American healthcare like most of the Euros and LLL's do. Well the government decided that seeing as he was 58 when he developed this he would not be able to repay the government for his treatment so he was DENIED the treatments he needed to keep from dying a painful death. He sorta shut up about American healthcare after that because my insurance would have covered it. His brother (who is moderately wealthy) could not help him out because he had just paid cash to have bypass surgery done in the United States because he would have died before his turn came up for the surgery with the NHS in the UK.






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