NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 19, 2009

Americans are subjected to a stream of opinion deriding as utterly miserable the U.S. health-care system compared to the rest of the developed world.

But it may be a good time to consider a few unheralded facts about America's health-care system:

  • Americans have better survival rates from both common and rare cancers than Europeans and Canadians.
  • Americans have better access to preventing screening and treatment for chronic diseases than Canadians.
  • In the United Kingdom and Canada, patients wait far longer than Americans (about twice as long, sometimes even more than a year) to see a specialist, have elective surgery like hip replacements or cataracts, or get radiation treatment for cancer.
  • Sixty percent of Western Europeans say their health systems need "urgent" reform.
  • Although much maligned by economists and targeted by policymakers, an overwhelming majority of America's leading physicians themselves recently listed the computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations in improving patient care in the previous decade.
  • By any measure, the vast majority of all the innovation in health care in the world comes out of the U.S. health-care system.

Source: Scott Atlas, "Pardon the Interruption," Washington Times, February 18, 2009. 

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