It’s the Outcomes, Silly

Well-meaning but ignorant folks from the AMA to AARP [ed: sorry, couldn’t find any Z org’s that fit the bill] have long touted gummint-run healthcare, a la Medicare, as the ideal solution to a system they consider “broken.” Nationalized health care, they argue, provides the most fair and efficient means of delivery.

Um, no:

“More than 825,000 Canadian citizens are currently on waiting lists for surgery and other necessary treatments…Canada also limits access to common medical technologies.”

But wait, the MVNHS© has it right!

Um, no (again):

In Britain, more than 1 million sick citizens are currently waiting for hospital admission…Britain even has a government agency explicitly tasked with limiting people’s access to prescription drugs.”

We’ve mentioned these problems numerous times here at IB (for example, our Oy Canada and MVNHS© series). The problem, of course, isn’t the cost or availability of health insurance, it’s the cost of health care. And if a system can’t control that (as no socialized scheme has ever managed to do), then one is left with rationing and substandard care.

As Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, notes, the pundits and pols love the sound bites, but not the facts. They’re quick to cite the recent World Health Organization’s ranking of various countries’ health care systems (which we also posted on) which placed the US near the bottom of the top 20%, behind countries like Morocco and even Costa Rica. But they looked at only two of the important factors that contribute to a nation’s true health care picture: a modified definition of mortality and “fairness” (whatever that means). What the study failed to consider are much more important factors, such as cancer and cardiac care.

The truth is, our system is actually superior to socialized schemes when it comes to saving, and prolonging, lives. Why is it, for example that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi chose the Cleveland Clininc, over his own country’s “free” medical care, when he needed heart surgery a couple of years ago? I doubt it was just for a trip to Corky and Lenny’s.

And what about that “free” health care? Surely a gummint-run system guarantees better cost efficiency?

Sadly, no:

The United States produces over half of the $175 billion in health care technology products purchased globally. In 2004, the federal government funded medical research to the tune of $18.4 billion. By contrast, the European Union — which has a significantly larger population than the United States — allocated funds equal to just $3.7 billion for medical research.”

You get what you pay for.

The bottom line is that there is no “universal” health care scheme that can control costs, guarantee access and deliver consistently superior outcomes. Does this mean that our system is perfect? Of course not. But market-driven changes beat central planning committee ones every time.

posted by H G Stern, LUTCF, CBC at 10:00 AM

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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