Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Dirty Side of Universal Health Care

A national health-care system may be the Holy Grail of American liberalism. If only the government managed medicine, the argument goes, costs could be restrained, quality assured and access extended from the poshest beach house to the humblest shotgun shack

But is there a downside?

It would be bad enough if national health care merely offered patients low-quality treatment. Even worse, Ridenour finds, it kills them.
• Breast cancer is fatal to 25 percent of its American victims. In Great Britain and New Zealand, both socialized-medicine havens, breast cancer kills 46 percent of women it strikes.
• Prostate cancer proves fatal to 19 percent of its American sufferers. In single-payer Canada, the National Center for Policy Analysis reports, this ailment kills 25 percent of such men and eradicates 57 percent of their British counterparts.
• After major surgery, a 2003 British study found, 2.5 percent of American patients died in the hospital versus nearly 10 percent of similar Britons. Seriously ill U.S. hospital patients die at one-seventh the pace of those in the U.K.
• "In usual circumstances, people over age 75 should not be accepted" for treatment of end-state renal failure, according to New Zealand's official guidelines. Unfortunately, for older Kiwis, government controls kidney dialysis.
• According to a Populus survey, 98 percent of Britons want to reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment.

Why don’t we ever hear about these stats?

OK, now you have . . .
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