NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 28, 2006

Although national health care may be the Holy Grail of American liberalism, Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research sees this model more as a poisoned chalice.

It would be bad enough if national health care merely offered patients low-quality treatment. Even worse, Ridenour finds, it kills them:

  • Breast cancer is fatal to 25 percent of its American victims; in Great Britain and New Zealand, both socialized-medicine havens, breast cancer kills 46 percent of women it strikes.
  • Prostate cancer proves fatal to 19 percent of its American sufferers; in single-payer Canada, this ailment kills 25 percent of such men and eradicates 57 percent of their British counterparts.
  • After major surgery, a 2003 British study found, 2.5 percent of American patients died in the hospital versus nearly 10 percent of similar Britons; seriously ill U.S. hospital patients die at one-seventh the pace of those in the United Kingdom.

In addition, medicrats often distribute resources based on politics rather than science, leaving a disorganized and inefficient system for many patients, says Ridenour:

  • In usual circumstances, people over age 75 should not be accepted for treatment of end-state renal failure, according to New Zealand's official guidelines, unfortunately government controls kidney dialysis.
  • According to a Populus survey, 98 percent of Britons want to reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment.

For all its problems, says Ridenour, the United States' more market-friendly health system offers patients better care and would deliver greater advancements if government adopted liability reform, interstate medical insurance sales, unhindered health savings accounts and other pro-market improvements, says columnist Deroy Murdock.

Source: Deroy Murdock, "Free health care is a fatal notion,", August 28, 2006


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