Advocates of â€śsingle-payerâ€? health care become very touchy whenÂ it is equated with socialized medicine. And this is understandable. They wish to depict government-run health care in a positive light, and socialized medicine has a well-deserved reputation for inefficiency and poor care.
But is there any real difference, in practice, between these two types of government-run systems? As it happens, both versions have been in the news recently, and the reports suggest that â€śsingle-payerâ€? health care and socialized medicine produce equally dismal outcomes.Â
The study found that the Health Service is still one of Europeâ€™s worst healthcare providers, in the same league as countries such as Slovenia and Hungary which spend far less on health.
Why? Well, among other problems, the NHS produces abysmal cancer survival rates:
The study backs up a recent Italian report which placed Britain near the bottom of a European table for the chances of its patients still being alive five years after being diagnosed with cancer.
Meanwhile, in Australiaâ€™s â€śsingle-payerâ€? health care system is also letting its patients down. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the following:
Thousands of X-rays and other medical scans are not being interpreted by radiologists in Sydney hospitals because of outdated technology and a national shortage of radiologists.
And this has dire implications for Australian patients:
The Opposition health spokeswoman, Jillian Skinner, said the backlog at some hospitals was putting patients in danger by delaying the diagnosis of potential conditions, including cancer.Â
Outdated technology, physician shortages, patients at riskâ€”this is government-run health care. And government-run health care, whatever you call it, always produces the same unacceptable results.