Monday, August 03, 2009

Enact Public Healthcare: 72 million Democrats Can't Be Wrong

From Obama to the wacked-out elderly hippies of Berzerkely, California the drumbeat of healthecare reform is so ubiquitous even the sane are tempted to believe the U.S. healthcare system has collapsed in a pile of toxic medical waste ready to be shipped to some hapless Third World African country. The trumpeting reminds me of a bumper sticker displayed on cars years ago, "Eat American Lamb: 10,000 Coyotes Can’t Be Wrong!"

Before we hand over our total health care to the same government that has bankrupted the mortgage market and set Medicare and Medicaid on sure paths to insolvency, a few non-ballyhooed facts should be presented to a bedazzled nation.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:
Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.
Yes, 10,000 coyotes can be wrong and lamb is not their only choice. Sometimes it's beef; it's what's for dinner. I would bet, however, that 10,000 coyotes are right more often than 72 million Democrats any day of the week. Obama is an advocate of single source healthcare supplier and single health care payer. He says so here. Single anything is not a choice, one size does not fit all, and even Henry Ford offered more colors than black.


h/t Attack Machine

The list of 10 was written by Scott W. Atlas, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a Stanford University Medical School professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology. The early version of the original essay was published in the Washington Times and presented later on the Nation Center for Public Analysis webpage, March 24, 2009.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red


Anonymous said...

It is almost like it was no longer about health care. It now seems like a contest between Obama and the rest of us. He refuses to believe he can't do anything he wants and his ego won't accept aqnything less than what he wants. Don

Indigo Red said...

You nailed it, Don. That's exactly what it's about.