Sunday, August 9, 2009
Another stab at Health Care
A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog that might have been missed by my newer readers. The topic was this pending disaster called Socialized Medicine, or if you prefer, Obamacare. I even received a great comment from a practicing British dentist who told us to avoid socialized healthcare at all costs. That was pretty damning evidence indeed. When my lil’ ol’ blog gets read by a physician in Britain, and the good doctor agrees with me, I can’t be completely fulla crap now, can I?
Now, a late-comer opted to leave me a comment that kinda got me ticked off, so I’m gonna pull the comment, and my reply, and use it to preface this post.
I used to live in France and I love socialized health care. You don't have to worry if a doctor is in your "network," you don't have to wonder if giant bills for your "percentage" of the cost will come in the mail, doctors actually have time to talk to their patients, no one worries about whether they can afford the drugs or treatment they need. And the French are healthier, spend less on healthcare, and live longer than Americans - as do many Europeans. America pays more per capita on health care, receives less of it, and is less healthy than just about any industrialized country. We die younger, we have more heart attacks, we weigh more...Wake up America! Get off your fat asses and join the rest of the industrialized world!
God, how I wanted to just say that if you loved it so much, move the hell back.
However, I countered with:
I actually rather like my health insurance. Insurance is just that, insurance. You pay for it in the event you need it, just like with your car. Should we just get rid of car insurance too and have the government repair our cars when some asshole runs into it?
I'm in good health over all and have never worried about the cost of prescriptions for myself or my wife. In fact, her monthly scrip (which isn’t even done on our insurance) costs us four dollars, less than a fancy cup of French coffee. I had an elective procedure done 18 months ago that cost me a whopping 70 dollars instead of a thousand, it was over in 12 minutes, my pain meds were about $3.64 on my insurance, and I had the consult done WHEN I WANTED, not in weeks, and had the procedure scheduled and performed within a few DAYS, not months.
I'm not ready for some government lackey to decide whether or not I can have a procedure or even see a specialist.
According to http://www.marininstitute.org/alcohol_policy/french_drinking.htm , "France's rate of heart disease is actually similar to that of neighboring Italy, Spain, and southern Germany - lower than many countries in the world, but hardly as remarkable as reported in the '80s and early '90s.
The French drink one-and-a-half times more per capita than Americans and their death rate from liver cirrhosis is more than one-and-a-half times greater than that in the United States. According to WHO, France has the sixth highest adult per capita alcohol consumption in the world. (The U.S. ranks 32nd.) Alcohol may be involved in nearly half of the deaths from road accidents, half of all homicides, and one-quarter of suicides, according to the French equivalent of the U.S. Institutes of Health. And while coronary heart disease may be less pervasive in that country of 60 million people than in many others, it is still the number one cause of death. "
The London School of Economics reported in 2007 that "Previously ranked by WHO as the best performer, the French health system is not without problems. It has traditionally operated with little regard to efficiency or cost containment. It has the highest rate of pharmaceutical use in the EU, while, until recently at least, there has been little attempt to incorporate cost effectiveness into policy making."
And the French chain smoke like bonfires…
To my previous comments, I add this:
Britain's National Health Service is paid for out of a social security tax. Services are free at the point of provision. No co-pay, no reimbursement. They operate on a budget of about £90 billion (about $148 billion). That makes the average cost per person about £1,500 ($2,463).
The NHS is big HUGE. With 1.5 million employees it is one of the largest employers in the world. Only China's People's Liberation Army, India's state railways and good old Wal-Mart employ more folks. Sixty percent of the NHS budget goes toward salaries, leaving only 40% of the money to go to actual treatments. Those salaries aren’t just for the doctors and nurses. That pays for all the administrative and executive wonks too. So, even though I live in mathematically-challenged America, I can see that less than half of the money goes to the patients.
The French system is run on a compulsory purchase of insurance through the workplace. The insurance cost is based on how much a worker earns. Low-income workers pay nothing. The average contribution per person is about $4,000. The government sets fees for services and negotiates the price of drugs with pharmaceutical companies. That’s doublespeak for “we take money out of your check whether you want us to or not in order to pay for what you think is insurance but is actually socialized medicine”.
Service is not free at the point of provision. But reimbursement for costs is swift and in the case of catastrophic illness all fees are waived. People are free to purchase supplementary insurance from private companies.
With a compulsory insurance plan, as in France, German care is universal and equitable. Germans pay approximately 14.3 percent of their earnings to buy this insurance. As in France, people are free to buy supplementary private health insurance.
I personally pay about $4,000+/- a year for my health insurance. However, that’s for both my wife and me. The money comes out of my check, and her check goes untouched. In France or Germany, we’d each be paying that money out; in essence the health care coverage would cost us twice as much for what comes out to be far less care and coverage.
Less coverage? Yup.
Some facts I borrowed from a report in an article by Scott Atlas for The National Center For Policy Analysis and brought to my attention by Greg Knapp on The Schnitt Show:
Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.
Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.
Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.
Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from them are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.
Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians
Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:
•Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
•Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
•More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
•Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).
Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.
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.
Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.
Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade. The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.
Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.
The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country. Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.
At a recent “town-hall meeting” (Democrat-speak for Obama Socialist Rally full of jackboot thugs), nearly a hundred doctors showed up to voice their disapproval of socialized healthcare. These weren’t angry crackpots, as the Left likes to label us, but rater educated professional physicians who wanted to voice their opposition to this crapfest, a right guaranteed as Americans.
The doctors who have to implement this bullshit don’t want any part of it.
What in he HELL is this CRAP?
Let’s try instead to overhaul the current insurance systems, no? I mean, out of that 4 grand I drop every year to be insured, I admittedly use virtually none of it. I’ve been to a doc 5 times in the 4 years I’ve been under this insurance plan. Two office visits and an ultrasound of my gall bladder, and then two other visits a year later to the specialist who did a procedure on me. My wife uses it more than me and goes to a doc maybe 3 times a year. It would actually be cheaper to pay outta pocket for as little we use it, but then what if something happens? My co-worker had a heart attack last October, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, and after the insurance paid out he still owed close to 12 grand. I dunno about you, but I ain’t got a spare 12 grand sitting in a coffee can buried in the yard. So, even though I have far better uses for four thousand dollars a year, it’s better to have & not need than to need & not have.
And furthermore…if socialized medicine in Europe is so freakin’ great, why are they all running shit-scared over the swine flu? They have people with runny noses jamming up the 911 (or rather 999) systems like it was Armageddon-meets-Outbreak, when we’re living normal lives and not in a panic.
So, in closing, here’s a plan for you:
Get thee over to this website (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text) and copy the entire shitty House bill on healthcare, and post it in an email to Obama’s Gestapo spies at firstname.lastname@example.org . Maybe that way someone will actually read the effing bill. If not, maybe the spam will shut the thing down. WARNING—do not become a member of opencongress.org, as it is a governmental site that wants all your personal information. It won’t let you participate in the opinion poll unless you register, and that sucks, but of the people that have registered, only 13% are in favor of the bill, and THAT is also some damning evidence that this bill sucks.