Socialized Medicine is not the Best Solution

Thursday, November 7, 2013
posted by elizabeth @ 4:26 PM

I don’t want to come across as a Smarty Pants, but why are so many Americans surprised at the lack of choice in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance market and corresponding increase in premiums?   What did they think was going to happen with government mandated healthcare?  Pam Kehaly, President of Anthem Blue Cross in California recently shared a letter from a young woman whose premium went up 50% under her new mandated policy — “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it.”   Really?   Who else is going to pay for government-mandated healthcare?  Who is going to control it?  As Dr. Ben Carson recently said in a speech to the Value Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., “Once you have control of them, you can do what you want.”

Before I go further, let me say that the healthcare system in America clearly had, and has, faults.   Not all is bad about the law.  For example, under the ACA, pre-existing conditions cannot be excluded and “children” can stay on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26.  However, nothing is truly free or perfectly equitable in life.  In addition to the financial cost of higher taxes and higher premiums under Obamacare, we also loose freedom and choice.    Edie Littlefield Sundby wrote an piece in the Wall Street Journal November 3rd detailing the cancellation of his great, affordable United Healthcare insurance policy that helped him survive stage 4 gallbladder cancer for seven years.   Now, he is losing his doctors who have cared for him, hospitals where he sought treatment, and the new policies’ prices are more expensive.  Less choice and more out of pocket money.

Where is our country headed?   Let’s look at other countries with socialized medicine.  Canada guarantees health care for their citizens, but at what cost?   David Gratzer writes at length about the failings of basic healthcare in his Canada:  ERs overflowing with people waiting for admission, some waiting for days; waiting times for basic diagnostic tests and months wait for radiation therapy for cancer treatment.  In Ontario, more than 1.5 million citizens cannot find a family physician and in Nova Scotia, one community actually held a lottery to determine who would get a doctor’s appointment.  Purchasing private insurance for basic services is illegal; however, Canadians can buy supplemental private insurance for items not covered by the government.   

In Great Britain, nationalized healthcare has been around since the 1940s.  But, it too has issues of providing care in a timely fashion.   A 2012 article by Ion Mihai Pacepa showed an 18 week wait for an MRI. And, “the heart disease mortality rate in England is 36 percent higher than that in the U.S.” (Forbes, 7-5-13).   Sir William Wells, a senior British health official, has said “The big trouble with a state monopoly is that it builds in massive inefficiencies and inward looking culture.”  Access may be equitable; the care is not excellent, so quoted in the Prime Minister’s 2010 White Paper.  Both Canada and Great Britain are beginning to look at ways to incorporate choices and privatization as their systems are failing.

At the horrible end of the socialized medicine spectrum is the former communist country of Romania. In 1948, Marxist leaders proclaimed they were doing away with “capitalist” health system and were replacing it with a “social system.”  This system gave way to the highest infant mortality rate in Europe, patients forced to share hospital beds,  and doctors working only a few hours a day, and not on weekends.    

American healthcare is the best in the world.  Our cancer survival rates are high.  The American survival rate of leukemia is almost 50%, in Europe the rate is just 35%.   For prostate cancer, our survival rate is 81.2%; in France it is only 61.75% and in England it is just 44.3%. 

Of course, the Affordability Care Act is law.  Some are ecstatic.  Some are not.   As we move forward with our government telling us what is best for us and continue on the path of cradle-to-grave government control, just remember, the citizens of hardline socialist and communist countries never thought their lives would be as bleak and dominated as they became.  

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