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Be Careful What You Wish For

The administration is insistent on pursuing health-care “reform” this year. But before we go uprooting what’s in place perhaps we should take note of what we have. Scott Atlas, M.D. a Hoover Institute fellow, puts out ten helpful facts here. Each is worth reading and references some rather stunning statistics, but the summary is as follows:

Fact No. 1:  Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
Fact No. 2:  Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
Fact No. 3:  Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed  countries.
Fact No. 4:  Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians
Fact No. 5:  Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
Fact No. 6:  Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.
Fact No. 7:  People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.

Fact No. 8:  Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.
Fact No. 9:  Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.
Fact No. 10:  Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.

On Fact No. 7,  just how dissatisfied are other countries with their health care systems? “More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.” And those waiting times (Fact. No. 6):

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.

There is something to be said for not decimating our system — which is, by the way, better liked by our fellow citizens (51.3%) than that of other industrialized countries. But I’m sure the Obama team has it all figured out.


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