The Myth of National Healthcare pt. 2

Posted: July 6, 2009 in National Health Care
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Please check out Pt. 1 if you have not read it yet.

The proponent of socialized medicine will follow with this statement. Other countries around the world have it and it works fine. If you hear this utter lie come out of their mouth you should follow with these two questions. Where in the world does national health care work on a population of 310 million people? What is your research that proves that the system is more effective than the American system? Now effective can be viewed a bunch of ways, but specifically I am saying that the healthcare is affordable, promotes competition, and is not wasteful.

Here is the proper answer, it doesn’t work. Sorry. You want research, it’s everywhere. But I will provide you with an example that is very close to home. Many proponents of socialized medicine will immediately declare that Canada has it. As if the fact that they are in the same hemisphere proves that socialized medicine would work here. It is the only country in the world where private health insurance is completely outlawed! Why? Because the government has to to maintain control of the system.

Want statistics? In 2008 the total amount per person health care expenditures in Canada totaled over $5000 a person, nearly 10% of their entire GDP (Fraser Institute “How Good Is Canadian Healthcare? 2008 Report“). This is a country that has the population the size of the state of California (Canada’s population is about 33 million). So let’s expand the data here and see what would happen if we applied this to the US. Let’s just say we completely ditched the private system we have and switch to a Canadian system. We have a population of 310 million people in this country, take that times $5000, $1,550,000,000,000. Yes, that’s $1.55 trillion a year! Now to be fare the US currently spends almost 17% of GDP (National Coalition on Healthcare) on healthcare but it would be important to examine the causal factors for the expense; aging population, unhealthy population, and cost overruns in dealing with insurance companies. I will get in to that in a later piece. I never said that our system is perfect, it needs work as well.

Americans have amazing access to the diagnostic technology that they need. A good example of why socialized medicine does not deliver the care that people need is the discrepancy in access to MRI and CT machines between the USA and Canada. Canada has only 6.2 MRI units to every one million people, the USA 26.5 units. Canada has 12 CT units per million people, the USA 33.9. Granted diagnostics is only one piece of the puzzle but I sure as heck don’t want to be waiting around for my doctor to be able to get me a test. The only OECD country (countries with socialized medicine) to have better access than this is Japan.

Liberals get all giddy when Japan is brought up. Japan has one of the most successful socialized programs in the world. To compare, the population of Japan is only about 130 million. I found a great NPR article that discusses their system. NPR is always a good place to look for articles that promote liberal ideals, your tax dollars hard at work. This article tries real hard to sell it but a rational thinker will pick up what the problem is. I really don’t want a system that pays a doctor the equivalent of $4.30 to sew up a six square inch cut on my body. I had to laugh when it is explained that the doctor must charge for parking and have vending machines in his lobby to help make money. I don’t know about you but I expect doctors to make a lot of money, they are dealing with my life.

Look, I can go on but you get the point. The research data exists. The average American that believes the government can actually solve the healthcare crisis doesn’t read the data or doesn’t look at the data in a comparative perspective. Population matters because it gives us size and scope of the system. The more complexity in a system the more waste, this is one of the first laws of bureaucracy. In a society complexity is increased proportional to population. It’s just logic that tells you this.

Oh, one more thing, how happy are Canadians with their system? In a survey cited in the Fraser Institute document above, 72% of Canadians beleive that their system needs fundamental changes or changed completely. The US in that same survey actually scored worse, 82%. There were other OECD countries mentioned but their data was very similiar to Canada. The only anomaly was the Netherlands and I don’t know why it wasn’t as low. Stil,l 58% of people felt that fundamental or complete overhaul was necessary there. Obama likes to use the saying that Americans like to hang with the devil they do know as opposed to the devil we don’t. We don’t want to know the other devil, it’s not an answer either.

The next topic I will address in Pt 3 is what is actually driving the costs in our systems. It’s not the “evil” corporations as you are led to believe. It’s actually our own faults.


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