Sunday, May 11, 2014

US Healthcare Still the Best in the World; WHO Ratings Slanted Toward Socialized Medicine

The WHO rates the US 42nd in the World Health System; a ranking that is absurd. For one it is slanted very heavily toward socialized medicine, placing the US below many countries with socialized medicine regardless of the quality of care. The WHO does not consider data on wait times for care,  the availability of advanced medical technology, or even the success rate of treatment. Other areas such as infant mortality (46th; highest in the western world) and life expediency (26th) are also based on very questionable and non-medical data. 1)infant mortality; most western nations have some criteria as to when attempts will be used to keep a new born infant alive; the US has none.

Some of the countries reporting infant mortality rates lower than the U.S. classify babies as "stillborn" if they survive less than 24 hours whether or not such babies breathe, move, or have a beating heart at birth. Forty percent of all infant deaths occur in the first 24 hours of life...In the United States, all infants who show signs of life at birth (take a breath, move voluntarily, have a heartbeat) are considered alive...In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, a baby born who is less than 30 centimeters long is not counted as a live birth. Therefore, unlike in the U.S., such high-risk infants cannot affect Swiss infant mortality rates. Efforts to salvage these tiny babies reflect this classification. Since 2000, 42 of the world's 52 surviving babies weighing less than 400g (0.9 lbs.) were born in the United States. Infant Mortality Figures For US Misleading

Life expediency is also misleading; as it's based on differently calculated infant mortality rates, and non-medical deaths that are high in the US such as suicides and homicides and car accidents; if you remove non-medical deaths, America leads life expectancy compared to any other western nation. The US is #1 in cancer and breast cancer survival; a fact that is not considered in the rating by the WHO.

(I)f we measure a health-care system by how well it serves its sick citizens, American medicine excels. Five-year cancer survival rates bear this out. For leukemia, the American survival rate is almost 50 percent; the European rate is just 35 percent. Esophageal carcinoma: 12 percent in the United States, 6 percent in Europe. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2 percent here, yet 61.7 percent in France and down to 44.3 percent in England—a striking variation.  Canadian Healthcare

In Canada, as in Britain under socialized medicine, patients are denied care, forced to cope with increasingly antiquated hospitals and equipment, and can die while waiting for treatment. Canada controls health care costs the same way Britain and Russia do: by denying modern treatment to the sick and letting the severely ill and old die Nation Health Insurance a Disaster

The Canadian government also does not allow doctors to charge for medical procedures if it is paid for by their single payer system; so you can't pay a private doctor more to be seen sooner.
Chaoulli was representing George Zeliotis, an elderly Montrealer forced to wait almost a year for a hip replacement. Zeliotis was in agony and taking high doses of opiates. Chaoulli maintained that the patient should have the right to pay for private health insurance and get treatment sooner. He based his argument on the Canadian equivalent of the Bill of Rights, as well as on the equivalent Quebec charter. The court hedged on the national question, but a majority agreed that Quebec’s charter did implicitly recognize such a right. Nation Health Insurance a Disaster 

As in Britain, eventually all National Single Payer system will need to cut corners. Britain's NHS seems to be returning to it's Eugenics roots;  suggestion this week from the Department of Health that it should take into account how much patients contribute to the economy when deciding on the cost-effectiveness of drugs. Denying Life savings Drugs This should really come as no surprize we have heard such things here in America from the Left. Howard Dean writes in an OpEd "One major problem [with ObamaCare] is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them." Politifact Lie of the Year and of course it simplies echos what Candidate Obama said, if the patient is too old, a pain pill is a lot cheaper than a pace maker).


The there are those that presume the US could just clone the EU, France or Japanese health system in the US. The problem with this is it should be common knowledge that every medical system in the world has evolved over many years as a result of the countries culture, changes in the culture, and the wants and needs of the citizenry and of course the resources available to build it and maintain it; the healthcare system in one country would certainly not succeed in another. Japan and France are a good example. Both are exclusive systems that deal with the particular needs of their culture. In Japan they have employer insurance with a public option (something that works because it was designed to assist the healthcare market, not take it over). The Japanese also have three times more hospitals per citizen  than the US as the Japanese go the hospitals 4 times more often than Americans. The quality of their healthcare is greatly assisted by their healthy lifestyle and diet; something that costs Americans dearly. Further the Japanese and French are the most overly medicated people in the western world. Even with the highest tax rate in the EU (45-50%), the French healthcare system is estimate to collapse in 3-5 years. To cut costs the healthcare system has stemmed the use of name brand drugs (a common demand by French patients) and giving taxi rides to patients that live in rural areas that are farther from the hospitals. A look at one aspect of the quality of care shows the male death rate from cancer in France is 238 per 100K; in the US total deaths, male and female combined is about 173 per 100K.

I also agree that the US needs a sustainable healthcare system that won't bankrupt the sick. The Heritage Foundation once recommended that a low cost catastrophic healthcare plan be mandatory to protect the sick from bankruptcy; I think that was a good starting place, but obviously Americans need more; and  ObamaCare was the answer. The CBO estimates ObamaCare will still leave 30 million people without healthcare by 2016 Without Medicaid Expansion ObamaCare Would Increase Uninsured.  ObamaCare did offer waht might be part of the answer. If ObamaCare did nothing more than fund the expansion of Medicaid, without the ObamaCare hegemony if demands, the states would be able to offer many uninsured, health coverage; this healthcare could be tailored to the individual states, rather than the one size fits  all implemented by ObamaCare. 

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