The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Reality

Kevin Drum is yet again singing the praises of socialized medicine:

To absolutely no one's surprise, overall healthcare costs rose at a breathtaking rate yet again last year. Healthcare now accounts for 16% of U.S. GDP, compared to about 10-11% in our nearest competitor.

And what do we get for all that dough? Not much.

... it's still hard to believe that more Democrats aren't willing to put their reputations behind a genuinely sane, comprehensive, modern national healthcare plan. Not a patch, not "catastrophic insurance," and certainly not HSAs. After all, lots of countries already have decent systems for us to borrow ideas from, and citizens in those countries generally have greater choice of physicians, better (and more equal) care, lower costs, wider coverage, and better outcomes.

This persistent idea that the socialized systems of Europe offer superior healthcare is simply an ahistorical folly. On a day of your choice, just search Google News for "NHS" to taste the fate of those dependent on government care. I chose today, and found:
  • A mental healthcare crisis, with undersupply meaning that patients were farmed out to the private system (at up to $444,000 per year);
  • A patient whose heart surgery was cancelled to shorten the waiting list;
  • The drug Ebixa, for Alzheimer's disease, pronounced "too expensive" at $4.25/day and effectively banned; and
  • A followup on the continuing dental crisis [caused by payments to practitioners set below market rates] which makes it effectively impossible to sign up for any NHS dentist.
All these articles are less than 24 hours old. I could, quite literally, do this post every day of the year. Is this the medical system you want in your own country? And, if so, may I ask that you move somewhere they already have one?