Thursday, March 26, 2009


Another interesting blurb from the National Center for Policy Analysis. You can sign up for their free e-mail summarizing economic and health articles at


Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America's health care system should be considered, says Scott W. Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Stanford University Medical Center.

Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers:

Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.

Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway.

The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries:

Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians:

Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent).

Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."

Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom:

Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long -- sometimes more than a year -- to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.
All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.

In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

Source: Scott W. Atlas, "10 Surprising Facts About American Health Care," National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 649, March 24, 2009.

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  1. I posted today on a report that indicated that had Natasha Richardson been in the US when she had her tragic accident, she very well may have lived. Her condition was highly treatable. Socialized medicine kills. But hey, maybe that's what Obama's planning on to lower the Medicare and Social Security rolls.

  2. I agree with this. I was thinking the same thing. :)

  3. I grew up on Welfare, child support, food stamps (the old paper ones) and Medicaid. I can tell you, first hand, that government medical care sucks. Fewer doctors are willing to take Medicaid patients, and almost no dentists will take any Medicaid patients over the age of 12. Nor are any in the medical profession willing to waste time and resources on those who are on the government dole.

    I don't believe that will change once the government puts everyone on it, either.

    There's a reason why those who can afford it travel here for medical care from countries with socialized medicine.

  4. I don't think there is any question that Obama is going to try to ration health care to the elderly. With the baby boomers ready to retire, the current system will be overloaded. Since the government has spent all excess Social Security and Medicare funds on their pet projects, we are on a pay as you go system. Who better to skimp on than the elderly who need the most care.

  5. I have a sister who has lived in Canada for 35 years. She tells me "Whatever you do, don't agree to socialized medicine." She has family members that have had to wait five months for needed surgery.

  6. As a Canadian myself with a family member that died at age 34 of treatable breast cancer leaving five children when the only problem was the Canadaian solcialized medical system, I will tell you to rise up in the streets against socialized medicine. There is nothing more degenerative.

  7. I lived in the United Kingdom for 30 years. I would not know where to begin with the horror stories. NO to socialized medicine.

  8. American medical care can be compared to a luxury hotel. It's second to none for those who have access to it. For everyone else, there's the seedy, dangerous Medicaid Motel.

  9. I thought it was comical a while back when Sen. Kennedy had his heart problems, that a person who is soooooo pro socialized health care, so anti our current health care system, and who can obviously afford to go anywhere in the world for his own health problems, decided to have his surgery done in North Carolina!