Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on July 14, 2009 By Draginol In Politics

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/07/state-run-health-care-by-the-numbers/

Great article.


Comments (Page 1)
on Jul 15, 2009


0: The number of unrehearsed, unscripted questions asked of President Obama during his “Town Hall” on health care reform.


That seems typical for the man.



13: The number of teeth that British veteran Ian Boynton pulled out himself with pliers “because he couldn’t find an NHS (National Health Service) dentist… [he] could not afford to go private for treatment so instead took the drastic action to remove 13 of his teeth that were giving him severe pain.”


I don't see how a more expensive system that doesn't offer an NHS equivalent would have helped him.




14: The percentage of all patients in Britain who wait more than one (1) year to receive treatment after a referral by a general practitioner. Half of all National Health Care patients in Britain wait between 18 and 52 weeks for treatment.


I would be very interested in the numbers for Germany. The UK have a rather bad public healthcare system. It seems idiotic to use it as an example when obviously one would want to emulate a system that works better.




37: The “health care ranking” assigned to the U.S. by the World Health Organization among the world’s countries. This oft-quoted number is used to justify an overhaul of the U.S. health care system and lists countries like Italy (2), Andorra (4), Malta (5), Singapore (6), Oman (8), Portugal (12), Greece (14), the United Kingdom (18), Ireland (19), Columbia (22), Cyprus (24), Saudi Arabia (26), the UAE (27), Morocco (29), Canada (30), Chile (33), the Dominican Republic (35) and Costa Rica (36) ahead of the U.S. Considering that no U.S. citizens travel to these countries when experiencing a life-threatening situation, it’s worth questioning the methods by which the WHO arrived at these rankings. Their criteria included subjective and political assessments such as “Fairness in financial contribution“. Suffice it to say that the WHO’s rankings are clearly fraudulent and are designed to influence U.S. policy.



37!!!! (Any Kevin Smith fans here?)

This is true. Note that Irish citizens often travel to Northern-Ireland (i.e. the UK) or Hungary to receive treatment because it's cheaper there. (Unless, apparently, you are a veteran.)



60: Average cancer survival rate (all types) for patients in the United States. Canada’s survival rate is significantly lower at 55%, while Europe’s is a dismal 48%.


I wonder why. Does the public system fare especially badly for cancer treatment?



81: Average percentage of those who survive a diagnosis of prostate cancer in the United States versus 43% in Britain under their National Health Service.


What's the percentage for Germany?

I don't know much about cancer. Is it possible that it goes away on its own? If so maybe the US just detects more cancers or detects them in an earlier stage?



90: Number of days, on average, each Canadian patient must wait for an MRI under the Canadian government-run health care system.


I had this done last year. I waited less than a week. I have no idea where these "waiting periods" come from. I keep hearing about them from Americans, but I have never heard of them in Germany or Ireland.



750: The estimated number of people waiting in line (in the pouring rain) at Britain’s Bury Office attempting to register for dental care.


I wouldn't know about that. I just call my dentist and get an appointment the next week. This worked in Germany (where the dentist was essentially free for me and paid for by the public insurance system) and now in Ireland (where I pay the dentist myself and then get between 50% and 70% of the money back from my private insurance companu).

The only time I ever had to wait for treatment was when I had just moved to Ireland in 2004, didn't have any money, and needed a root canal treatment for 950 euros which I didn't have. In Germany, it would have taken a week. In Ireland I had to wait until I had saved enough money.



2050: By this year, “Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (health care for the poor) will consume nearly the entire federal budget.” And by 2082, Medicare spending alone will consume the entire federal budget. This trajectory is, quite obviously, unsustainable for our children and our grandchildren. Congress is bequeathing our descendents a bankrupt health care system — for just the third of the medical system that the government already runs!


I can't really say if this is true or not.



10,000: Number of Canadian breast cancer patients to file a class action lawsuit against Quebec’s hospitals because, on average, they were forced to wait 60 days to begin post-operative radiation treatments.


Nothing from me...



280,392: The number of jobs that employers would shed if government levied an employer mandate, requiring them to insure all employees. A 2007 study by Katherine Baicker of Harvard University and Helen Levy of the University of Michigan (“Employer Health Insurance Mandates and the Risk of Unemployment“) found that “0.2 percent of all full-time workers and 1.4 percent of uninsured full-time workers would lose their jobs if a health insurance mandate were written into law. Workers who would lose their jobs are disproportionately likely to be high school dropouts, minority, and female.”


But at least they would have health insurance from the public system.



443,849: The number of British patients of the National Healthcare Service (NHS) who waited four or more weeks for inpatient admittance into a hospital (Excel file) in May of 2009 (more than 75% of all patients).


Again, never happened to me or anybody I know.



1,500,000: The number of Canadians who do not have — and cannot find — a general practitioner/primary care physician due to shortages in medical staff: “In Norwood, Ontario, 20/20 videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor… Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery ‘elective.’ …’The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,’ she said.”


My general practitioner charges 55 Euros per visit. He is OK, although he shares his office with a chiropracter.

Hospitals respect him though and that is good enough for me.




12,000,000: number of illegal immigrants who would qualify for free health care and — in all likelihood — additional health care rights for relatives under the Democrats’ universal health care plan, according to a reported statement by the office of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and spokespeople for the racial separatist group La Raza.


That is obviously a problem with the specific plan.




$311,000,000 ($311 million): The amount of additional funding requested last month by the Obama administration simply to combat Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud is estimated at $60 billion annually.


Such fraud might likely go away if there existed a universal system.




$3,600,000,000 ($3.6 billion): The amount of added malpractice insurance costs to the current health care system instigated by an out-of-control trial lawyer lobby that donates heavily to Democrat causes.


This has nothing to do with any concept of public health care but merely with corrupt Democrats and the trial lawyer lobby.




$10,000,000,000 ($10 billion): The estimated amount of Medicaid fraud, based upon FBI estimates. Criminal practices include billing for nonexistent, overstated, or unnecessary services, kickbacks to patients, inflated costs, etc.


I assume this never happens to private insurance companies?



$60,000,000,000 ($60 billion): The estimated annual amount of Medicare fraud, due to widespread criminal operations that victimize taxpayers and specialize in dead doctors, fake patients, non-existent treatments and the like.


Again...




$107,000,000,000,000 ($107 trillion): The estimated shortfall of the Medicare and Social Security programs, which are utterly and completely bankrupt; they can be legitimately called an “enormous version of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme”.


So it's time to create new programs, isn't it?

on Jul 15, 2009

In my, and my family's, experience the NHS is very good when the condition is more serious.  The time from my dads NHS dentist spotting something odd with his tongue to the surgery for mouth cancer was about 10 days.  My grans was about 2 weeks.

Non urjget issues, such as hip jobs, do take longer.   But in the last ten years everybody I know has been dealt with within a few months.

on Jul 15, 2009

I wonder why. Does the public system fare especially badly for cancer treatment?

As cancer tends to be a very time-sensitive condition (the longer it goes unchecked, the more it grows and the greater the chance it will spread to other organs), I'd expect any system that introduces wait times is going to have a negative impact on outcomes.

on Jul 15, 2009

As cancer tends to be a very time-sensitive condition (the longer it goes unchecked, the more it grows and the greater the chance it will spread to other organs), I'd expect any system that introduces wait times is going to have a negative impact on outcomes.

Again, I have never heard of those wait times. Since the statistics were for Europe, not Britain (which apparently has those waiting times), the waiting times can hardly be the reason.

 

on Jul 16, 2009

$311,000,000 ($311 million): The amount of additional funding requested last month by the Obama administration simply to combat Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud is estimated at $60 billion annually.

 Such fraud might likely go away if there existed a universal system

Doubtful. Corruption is also universal. And how much of that money just gets ate up in the black hole of bureaucacy?

My general practitioner charges 55 Euros per visit. He is OK, although he shares his office with a chiropracter. Hospitals respect him though and that is good enough for me.

I have a $12 co-pay...we are so enslaved here in the US. Even this would be too much for the "must have" entitlement crowds here.

$10,000,000,000 ($10 billion): The estimated amount of Medicaid fraud, based upon FBI estimates. Criminal practices include billing for nonexistent, overstated, or unnecessary services, kickbacks to patients, inflated costs, etc.

 I assume this never happens to private insurance companies?

 $60,000,000,000 ($60 billion): The estimated annual amount of Medicare fraud, due to widespread criminal operations that victimize taxpayers and specialize in dead doctors, fake patients, non-existent treatments and the like.

 Again...

But it is much harder for a private company to absorb the losses, so they investigate more thoroughly. The government just excepts it as a cost of providing services. It's not hard to imagine bigger government will mean bigger waste if the national plan established here.

The cancer ratio might be lower if treatment is rationed or curtailed. It sounded like some counties in the EU could be skewing the number for everyone there a bit.

 

on Jul 16, 2009

Doubtful. Corruption is also universal. And how much of that money just gets ate up in the black hole of bureaucacy?

If everybody had insurance (and was forced to have it), how many cases do you think would exist of people trying to pretend that they fall under certain insurance scheme when they don't?

 

I have a $12 co-pay...we are so enslaved here in the US. Even this would be too much for the "must have" entitlement crowds here.

That's another subject entirely.

 

But it is much harder for a private company to absorb the losses, so they investigate more thoroughly. The government just excepts it as a cost of providing services. It's not hard to imagine bigger government will mean bigger waste if the national plan established here.

It's not hard to imagine, but it's also a bogus argument.

That government is more wasteful than private companies is purely opinion. Socialists argue for nationalisation because they perceive government as being more efficient and less wasteful. Their argument is as good, which is to say as bad, as yours.

 

 

The cancer ratio might be lower if treatment is rationed or curtailed. It sounded like some counties in the EU could be skewing the number for everyone there a bit.

That's likely. Note that treatment is rationed and curtailed in the US too, since doctors need money to function.

on Jul 16, 2009

If everybody had insurance (and was forced to have it), how many cases do you think would exist of people trying to pretend that they fall under certain insurance scheme when they don't?

Good point. They won't read something as important as a mortgage contract, why would they read their insurance policy. Maybe we can hire some bureaucrats to tell people what they should have.

But it is much harder for a private company to absorb the losses, so they investigate more thoroughly. The government just excepts it as a cost of providing services. It's not hard to imagine bigger government will mean bigger waste if the national plan established here.

It's not hard to imagine, but it's also a bogus argument. That government is more wasteful than private companies is purely opinion. Socialists argue for nationalization because they perceive government as being more efficient and less wasteful. Their argument is as good, which is to say as bad, as yours.

I see government waste everyday, it's not my opinion it's a fact. Sometimes it's small sometimes not. I've seen it my entire 24 years in the military and I see it now as a contractor. It is safe to assume it exists outside the areas I see. It is also safe to assume as government grows larger, so will the problems. Anyone that argues to the contrary is either on the outside of the issue, indifferent, or benefiting from the hemorrhage of tax dollars, and IMO is part of the problem.

 

on Jul 17, 2009

I see government waste everyday, it's not my opinion it's a fact. Sometimes it's small sometimes not. I've seen it my entire 24 years in the military and I see it now as a contractor. It is safe to assume it exists outside the areas I see. It is also safe to assume as government grows larger, so will the problems. Anyone that argues to the contrary is either on the outside of the issue, indifferent, or benefiting from the hemorrhage of tax dollars, and IMO is part of the problem.

And I have seen private company waste every day. In fact we have just seen a breakdown of the private banking system.

 

on Jul 17, 2009

all the studies I have seen ('political' and peer reviewed medical journals) have pointed out that the US system costs between 2 and three time more than canada's for just the admin.

 

Seattle doctors for example have to deal with at least 775 different plans and so need to know how to apply etc with this vast range.  Candain doctors need to know how to deal with one.

 

There is waste in every single system humans have ever come up with.

on Jul 17, 2009



all the studies I have seen ('political' and peer reviewed medical journals) have pointed out that the US system costs between 2 and three time more than canada's for just the admin.



That's likely true and confirms what I have heard.

But note that while a single-payer system is obviously cheaper (it's a monopsony and monopsonies create the lowest possible prices) medical care is not really a system which we want to be cheap.




Seattle doctors for example have to deal with at least 775 different plans and so need to know how to apply etc with this vast range.  Canadian doctors need to know how to deal with one.



Good point!




There is waste in every single system humans have ever come up with.



True.

on Jul 17, 2009

And I have seen private company waste every day. In fact we have just seen a breakdown of the private banking system.

Until recently, private industry had to take the loss for poor judgment. Government produces nothing, if it loses money it takes more from the taxpayer or another program. I'm not denying waste in the private sector, I'm saying government wastes more, and most government employees cannot easily be dismissed due to incompetence. Some supervisors even promote poor performers to get rid of them. With few exceptions, private industry sheds anyone that is a drag on the bottom line.

on Jul 17, 2009

And where is the evidence for that?

Don't forget that it is not just the waste in just one part of the system.

The NHS hospitals have a lot of paperpushers, granted.  But the GPs don't really.  If the GPs had to deal with a number of private hosipitals and billing etc then they would need a lot more people to deal with that.

 

What would be wrong, waste wise, of having private hospitals, private GPs but a govermental payed system?  The waste in hospitals and with GPs would, according to you, be mimimal and one insurance scheme would be one billing system for the GPs while the collection system could be dealt with by the tax collection authorities and would not need that much more work from them. 

on Jul 17, 2009

13: The number of teeth that British veteran Ian Boynton pulled out himself with pliers “because he couldn’t find an NHS (National Health Service) dentist… [he] could not afford to go private for treatment so instead took the drastic action to remove 13 of his teeth that were giving him severe pain

Always funny when an article shoots itself in the foot without even realising it!

on Jul 19, 2009

But note that while a single-payer system is obviously cheaper (it's a monopsony and monopsonies create the lowest possible prices)

I'm not so sure you are correct in that assumption.  As examples, I would offer Medicare, Medicaid, the VA health system and the military health system.  And the true cost of government programs is never known, so many direct and indirect costs being subsumed in other budgets, not to mention the never-counted costs of unfunded mandates.

on Jul 19, 2009

And the true cost of government programs is never known, so many direct and indirect costs being subsumed in other budgets, not to mention the never-counted costs of unfunded mandates.

Isn't that a problem though with the American political system, rather than single-payer healthcare? Most other countries' health systems work to budgets, which are largely spelt out in Federal/State Budgets and then their progress tracked through Annual Reports.

Also, on waiting periods:

Are the Americans here saying that if you want to have non-urgent surgery in the US (eg hip replacement for the sake of comparison), your general practitioner will refer you, your private insurer will sign off on it and you'll have it done in a few days? Or is there an unofficial waiting period?