When it comes to treating sick patients, it’s clear that the American health care system outperforms single-payer systems. Consider cancer. Our five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is over 97 percent – more than most developed countries, including Canada, which has a survival rate of just over 91 percent, and the United Kingdom, with a survival rate of slightly more than 83 percent.

According to one study, American cancer patients live longer than people with the same diagnoses in 10 European countries, thanks in part to higher levels of spending on cancer care in the United States. That spending gives American patients access to the best treatments, medicines and technologies.

For example, the United States does a much better job screening for cancer. According to the World Health Organization, U.S. patients have better access to breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all people 50 and older get screened for colorectal cancer. Thanks in no small part to its inability to provide screening to all who need it, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service only recommends screening for certain patients over 55.

We should not be surprised, then, that the overall survival rate for colorectal cancer in the United States is 65 percent – five percentage points higher than in the United Kingdom.

Far too many Americans are dying young. But a government takeover of the U.S. health care system is unlikely to address what’s driving life expectancy.

In fact, it could consign many more people to needless suffering when they actually need care.