KENNEDY: WHY WASN’T HE FLOWN TO EUROPE?

Well, I guess it’s up to me to ask the uncouth yet obvious question: If U.S. health care is inferior to the systems of Canada and Europe, why wasn’t a rich and famous man like Senator Kennedy immediately sent to one of those places so that he could get the best care available?

As Whitecoat noted the other day, Kennedy was indeed transferred from Cape Cod Hospital, where he was initally admitted, and airlifted to … Massachusetts General Hospital. Why not Europe? Perhaps the answer lies in this international comparison of cancer survival rates for males:

David Catron

This table is from The Telegraph, which reported the results of a study first published in The Lancet. Despite the mountains of BS piled up by single-payer advocates (including Kennedy himself), it clearly showed that the U.S. health care system outperforms the “superior” systems of Europe.

A couple of weeks ago, John McCain was lambasted for having the audacity to say that U.S. health care was still the best in the world. It would appear that the Kennedy family agrees. 

Comments 18

  1. interested wrote:

    Denial of care:

    Here is one interesting link. But this is anecdotal as opposeed to a clear expression fo givernment policy.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1576704/Don't-treat-the-old-and-unhealthy,-say-doctors.html

    Last Updated: 11:47PM BST 18/04/2008

    Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.

    Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

    Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

    The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as “out­rageous” and “disgraceful”.

    Posted 21 May 2008 at 10:58 am
  2. Josh wrote:

    I think you are confusing quality of medical care with Health Care. Quality of medical care has to do with the skills, technology, and research of individual doctors and the field as a whole. In this sense the US is a leader in the world. Health Care refers to issues of insurance and the actual providing of such people and technology to those who need it from a financial viewpoint. As poor as the US Health Care system may be, this is never really an issue for the ubber wealthy who can afford it regardless.

    Posted 21 May 2008 at 11:07 am
  3. Catron wrote:

    “I think you are confusing quality of medical care with Health Care.”

    Actually, these two things are routinely conflated by the “give us European health care” crowd. Their argument goes as follows: “We pay more for health care but get poorer quality.”

    A good example can be found in the article that I linked in my last paragraph. Another example can be found in this piece by Paul Krugman.

    The reality is that McCain’s comment, though politically incorrect, was spot on.

    Posted 21 May 2008 at 11:45 am
  4. Josh wrote:

    It’s not an issue of more money for poorer quality, it is one of more money for fewer services. “Less bang for the buck”.

    Posted 21 May 2008 at 12:38 pm
  5. SmartDoc wrote:

    Kennedy has a tiny 0.5 cm (small pea sized) primary glioma. This means he had instant access to a high resolution state of the art MRI, something the liberals like Kennedy want to deny you or me.

    In a socialized system, like Canada there would be a three month+ wait for a second rate obsolete MRI. And forget the PET scanners so invaluable in modern oncology. Stone Age Ontario doesn’t even cover any PET scans.

    The hypocrisy and dishonesty of democrats like Kennedy is impressive.

    That being said, the gioma is incurable and Kennedy will be gone in a few months. I wish him a pain-free and peaceful death.

    Posted 21 May 2008 at 8:38 pm
  6. Matt Horn wrote:

    I can’t stand Kennedy, but wish him the best possible outcome on this. Also remember, he is the same guy that swore the HMO was the cure to our healthcare problems in 1973, until it wasn’t. The laws of economics will not bend to political expediency. I hope his experience helps stop the dishonest crusade against our system so we can get to work on solutions rather than rhetoric.

    Posted 22 May 2008 at 10:17 am
  7. Marc Brown wrote:

    ‘In a socialized system, like Canada there would be a three month+ wait for a second rate obsolete MRI.’

    Ha ha – so after a seizure the docs all shrug and say ‘he’ll snap out of it’. What nonsense.

    As for 5 year survival times they are pretty meaningless – if you look at mortality rates from cancer you get a much clearer idea that the US and other countries are pretty even. If you diagnosis a lot of slow growing cancer early of course you boost the 5 yr rate but not the long term survival.

    As for glioma, some of the most advanced experimental treatments are in Europe. But no matter where he goes if it’s a grade 4 he probably has only 4-5 months at his age.

    And as for sutent, that’s an experimental drug with no proof yet of increasing overall survival for what are in ant case terminal kidney cancers.

    Posted 22 May 2008 at 4:05 pm
  8. SmartDoc wrote:

    Ten seconds into a Google search of “MRI waits in Canada” I came up with this gem to contrast with uber-hypocrite Kennedy’s care:

    “A Newfoundland mother says her young son’s wait for a diagnostic procedure is too long, and too dangerous. Brenda Oldford’s four-year-old son Ryan has already lost a kidney to cancer. Although he is now cancer-free, his family and physicians want to ensure cancer cells have not spread.
    Oldford has been told Ryan may have to wait TWO AND A HALF YEARS for an MRI – or a magnetic resonance imaging scan – to assess the state of his remaining kidney. ” (my CAPITALS)

    Reference: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2005/01/13/nf-mri-wait-20050112.html

    Posted 22 May 2008 at 6:32 pm
  9. Joe C. wrote:

    “If you diagnosis a lot of slow growing cancer early of course you boost the 5 yr rate but not the long term survival.”

    Yeah, all that fancy early detection of cancer stuff is just a big greedy capitalist con.

    Posted 22 May 2008 at 6:49 pm
  10. Rich wrote:

    “Ha ha – so after a seizure the docs all shrug and say ‘he’ll snap out of it’. What nonsense. ”

    No, he’d get a CT, which could easily have missed the lesion. Then he’d take anti-seizure medications until the seizures became intractable or some other neurological event, probably something that looked like a stroke, occurred. Then he’d be rescanned, and the CT would easily identify the 2cm mass lesion. Then the provicial authority would pat themselves on their collective backs for having saved a few dollars (canadian) on a test that would not have changed the outcome. Of course, it might not have been a glioma after all, but since it was, rationing the MRI was the “correct” thing to have done. Nice rectrospectoscope.

    Posted 22 May 2008 at 6:51 pm
  11. mark wrote:

    Kennedy has the same “government provided” health care that John McCain has. It is the best in the world, if you’re a senator or rich.

    You confuse the issue, medicine in the U.S. is the best, no doubt, for the wealthy!

    Posted 23 May 2008 at 1:49 am
  12. Marc Brown wrote:

    I agree that the US (and Japan) have the highest per head ratio of MRI scanners. But in the US they are not used as much per machine and of course many more tests are done owing to the worried well/defensive medicine, driving up your costs. And of course access and short waits are prioritised for those with the best health insurance. For every horror story you can find from Canada, I can give you 10 from the US about people struggling desperately to get care for conditions such as cancer. But you know that, I’m sure.

    Posted 23 May 2008 at 5:25 am
  13. Joe C. wrote:

    “But in the US they are not used as much per machine and of course many more tests are done owing to the worried well/defensive medicine, driving up your costs.”

    Tell that to the poor Canucks who have to drive to places like Buffalo for their imaging. Maybe your NHS could afford more modern imaging equipment if they weren’t throwing money away on useless crap like a homeopathy hospital.

    “And of course access and short waits are prioritised for those with the best health insurance.”

    Nonsense. Anyone can get a medically-necessary scan at a major trauma center. My wife got $3,000 worth of CT imaging without as much as an insurance card because her employer at the time was too lazy to fill out the paperwork.

    Posted 23 May 2008 at 8:44 am
  14. Marc Brown wrote:

    “Anyone can get a medically-necessary scan at a major trauma center. ”

    So all 47 million uninsured and the many underinsured are treated as well as Ted Kennedy? Do they also all get regular screening? Is no one – repeat no one – left with unpayable bills despite being insured?

    Posted 23 May 2008 at 1:04 pm
  15. Joe C. wrote:

    “So all 47 million uninsured and the many underinsured are treated as well as Ted Kennedy?”

    Does your run-of-the-mill chav get the same level of treatment as the Queen or her slightly demented grandson Harry? The egalitarian society you envision lives exclusively in your head.

    Posted 27 May 2008 at 5:12 pm
  16. Marc Brown wrote:

    ‘Does your run-of-the-mill chav get the same level of treatment as the Queen or her slightly demented grandson Harry?’

    The Royal Family are treated privately outside of the NHS. The vast majority of British people get equitable NHS care.

    Posted 28 May 2008 at 2:59 am
  17. Rich wrote:

    “equitable” – eq·ui·ta·ble : adj. Denying care fairly and equally to all concerned.

    Posted 28 May 2008 at 6:56 am
  18. Joe C. wrote:

    “The Royal Family are treated privately outside of the NHS. The vast majority of British people get equitable NHS care.”

    If the NHS is so wonderful, why isn’t the Royal Family using it?

    Posted 28 May 2008 at 9:32 am

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