UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM

Japan has a “universal” health care system not unlike that which many faux-progressives advocate for the U.S.  Like all government-controlled systems, it boasts a strict price control mechanism that produces provider shortages. As AP reports, such shortages can have tragic results for patients is dire need of care:

An 89-year-old woman died after an ambulance crew spent two hours trying 30 hospitals before finding one that would accept her for treatment, Japanese officials said Friday.

The two hours the ambulance crew spent searching for an open bed should have been spent saving the patient’s life. The next time you hear someone promoting “universal” health care, imagine your mother going through what this poor woman endured.

Comments 16

  1. Scott wrote:

    I could easily tout the recent debacle with CIGNA that resulted in loss of a young women’s life or the one billon dollar bonus that UHC paid to it’s ex-CEO (not to mention the stock option scandal) plus the recent BCBS of Cali policy rescissions as reason why OUR current system fails patients as well.

    I know; de-regulation will solve all those problems. While I agree that the CMS system is rancid, there is no one healthcare system that is perfect. This tit for tat is a waste of our energy.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 1:24 pm
  2. R. Garth Kirkwood MD wrote:

    From the info provided, it does not sound like Japan has a single payer system. Because Canada, Britain, Japan, and our own federal government have not up to this point operated a health care system properly does not mean that it cannot be done.
    R. Garth Kirkwood MD

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 1:26 pm
  3. Catron wrote:

    Scott, your Cigna example relies on a highly speculative connection (between executive bonuses and benefits) combined with an extraordinary transplant situation. This Japanese patient died because basic, garden-variety health care services were unavailable. Apples and oranges.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 2:00 pm
  4. Scott wrote:

    “Scott, your Cigna example relies on a highly speculative connection (between executive bonuses and benefits) combined with an extraordinary transplant situation. This Japanese patient died because basic, garden-variety health care services were unavailable. Apples and oranges.?

    I wasn’t trying to compare the actual medical treatment, I was referring to how the “system? operates as I thought you were referring to Universal Healthcare as a system (not a type of medical service) and how the system fails patients (basic treatment or not).

    There have been many “garden-variety? healthcare services that have failed patients here as well. So I don’t see the point glorifying the inefficiencies of other countries healthcare systems, because our current system surely inst something to stand behind and point our finger……. HA HA!

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 3:01 pm
  5. Catron wrote:

    “I don’t see the point glorifying the inefficiencies of other countries healthcare systems.”

    Universal health care advocates are constantly claiming that government-run systems (like Japan’s) offer better care than we provide. So, the point of this post (and others like it) is to show that “universal” health care systems are not superior at all.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 3:31 pm
  6. spike wrote:

    Aggregation of anecdotes != data.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 3:52 pm
  7. Marc Brown wrote:

    As usual, there is more to this story that our Catron doesn’t know – the woman in question was not initially deemed to be an emergency by paramedics. If she had, she would have been admitted to ER at any one of 13 units. This does not excuse what happened, but as we know if it wasn’t for government intervention in the US, namely EMTALA, millions of Americans wouldn’t even make it to the ambulance.

    See http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20071229TDY02305.htm

    Also see this letter in the WSJ:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119665213060911396.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 3:56 pm
  8. Rich wrote:

    If it is reasonable to point to other systems as examples of how ours might be improved, it is also reasonable to point out their failures.

    If we dismiss their failures because our system has failures of it’s own, we should dismiss their successes as well, since our system has those too.

    The real problem is trying to debate this issue with people who are clearly as irrational about it as they are the “faltering” economy.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 4:18 pm
  9. Marc Brown wrote:

    ‘If it is reasonable to point to other systems as examples of how ours might be improved, it is also reasonable to point out their failures.’

    Trouble is, nearly all the examples that Mr Catron comes up with turn out to be false or misleading, such as the one on Avastin for advanced breast cancer. And compared with other countries, the failings of America are orders of magnitude greater – such as the 60 million plus uninsured in any year.

    As for the economy, there is no doubt that there is a world slowdown, partly due to one of the most blatantly greedy scams ever in the US, namely the subprime crisis. Will it tip into recession? No one really knows at present.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 5:43 pm
  10. Rich wrote:

    “such as the 60 million plus uninsured in any year”

    A perfect example of a misleading claim.

    The economy? Interesting. As long as there is a conservative to blame, is it s “slowdown” or a “recession.” When there is no conservative to blame, it is a “correction.”

    The liberals all pine for the Clinton days of prosperity, when unemployment was higher, GDP was lower, consumer confidence was lower, etc. Of course, the subprime “crisis” which invovles the smallest of minorities of homeowners, is the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the government is bailing out peiople who took out mortgages they couldn’t afford in the first place. Funny, though, patients are still willing to pay cash for my services, and I still cannot find a Wii. I wonder who is buying them in these economically challenging times.

    Posted 28 Dec 2007 at 6:10 pm
  11. Marc Brown wrote:

    ‘A perfect example of a misleading claim.’

    The extent of uninsured Americans is extensively researched, and if you can point to another developed country with such gross polarisation of provision – bearing in mind also the extent of underinsured – please do.

    As I said, there is a slowdown (and a ‘credit crunch’). No one as far has I know is betting everything on a major recession.

    Posted 29 Dec 2007 at 5:10 am
  12. Rich wrote:

    Please cite the source for “60 million plus” unsinsured.

    Of course, you are stating the peak simultaneous uninsured who have no means or opportunity to acquire insurance. You are omitting those who opt not to have it, and not double conting for people who are transiently uninsured for a short period of time. Otherwise, it is you who is being disingenuous.

    CARE provision in Canada is grossly polarized, with those of means getting what you believe to be inferior care in the US. The remaining 100% insured can wait for care, or get what they can in Canada. If the US is so far inferior, why do Canadians come south for care?

    Provision of coverage in Canada is not polarized, but provision of actual care is. In the US, provision of coverage is polarized, provision of care is much less so (given EMTALA, charity care clinics, Medicaid, etc.)

    As for the economy, read the papers, who each day report fears of recession (Yesterdays Reuters: “Lot’s of people believe a recessions started in December…”) on the front page, and “surprise economic indices” on page 25. Only those with blinders on or an agenda that would benefit from an economic downturn are “surprised”.

    Posted 29 Dec 2007 at 11:10 am
  13. Marc Brown wrote:

    ‘Please cite the source for “60 million plus? unsinsured.’

    I’m surprised you’re not aware of your own official reports.

    http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/05/uninsured-cps/index.htm

    ‘The 45.8 million uninsured are more likely to be poor and low income than higher income. Figure 2 shows that over half of the uninsured are below 200% of poverty, with 25% below the poverty line and 28% between 100% and 199% of poverty…

    …The “ever uninsured? figure is of particular policy relevance because it reveals how many individuals faced the significant financial risk of having a medical emergency that would have to be paid for out of pocket. According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), there were 64 million people who faced at least one month without coverage in 2001.’

    No matter what way you spin it, no other developed country has this level of health insecurity.

    ‘As for the economy, read the papers’

    But you don’t believe everything you read, do you… unlike Catron, who regurgitates endless far right gloop from around the world.

    Posted 29 Dec 2007 at 4:47 pm
  14. Rich wrote:

    “Ever-uninsured” is interesting in a country founded on principles of personal responsibility, particularly as it includes those with means who choose to forego coverage.

    And no, I don’t believe everything I read. But your statemtent that “no-one is betting on a recession” is false, unless those who write about it don’t believe what they wrote, either.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 10:42 am
  15. Marc Brown wrote:

    ‘particularly as it includes those with means who choose to forego coverage.’

    They are a minority. Nothing you have said alters the sad fact that many millions of Americans live in constant health insecurity. This is what marks your country out as different.

    ‘But your statemtent that “no-one is betting on a recession? is false’

    The Wall Street Journal polled economists on the chances of recession – the average is 38%. So it is more likely we won’t have one, according to expert views.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 1:05 pm
  16. Rich wrote:

    The source of our disagreement probably stems from the apparent fact that you equate “coverage” with “health security”, or “coverage” with “health care”. Nothing could be further from the truth, in ANY country. In every country in the world, there are those with coverage who have no “health security” and cannot get care. Conversely, in the US, there are plenty without coverage who get plenty of care. “Care” should be the operative variable, not “coverage.”

    I suggest that we agree to disagree.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 8:06 pm

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *