NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 8, 2005

In "Die in Britain, survive in U.S.," the cover article of the February 2005 issue of the Spectator, a British magazine, James Bartholomew details the downside of Britain's universal health care system.

  • Among women with breast cancer, for example, there's a 46 percent chance of dying from it in Britain, versus a 25 percent chance in the United States.
  • If you're a man diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have a 57 percent chance of it killing you in Britain; in the United States, the chance of dying drops to 19 percent.

"That is why those who are rich enough often go to America, leaving behind even private British health care. In America, you are more likely to be treated," writes Bartholomew, "and going back a stage further, you are more likely to get the diagnostic tests which lead to better treatment."

  • More specifically, three-quarters of Americans who've had a heart attack are given beta-blocker drugs, compared to fewer than a third in Britain.
  • Similarly, American patients are more likely than British patients to have a heart condition diagnosed with an angiogram, more likely to have an artery widened with angioplasty, and more likely to get back on their feet by way of a bypass.

Taken as a whole, Britain's universal health care system has evolved into a ramshackle structure where tests are underperformed, equipment is undersupplied, operations are underdone, and medical personnel are overworked, underpaid and overly tied down in red tape. In other words, your chances of coming out of the American medical system alive are dramatically better than in Britain, explains Bartholomew.

Source: Ralph R. Reiland, "Survivors More Common in America,", March 2, 2005; based upon: James Bartholomew, "Die in Britain, survive in U.S.," Spectator, February, 2005.

For Reiland text:


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