A Look At What’s In Store For Us If We Adopt Socialized Medicine

Hundreds of horror stories about the absurdities and inadequacies of socialized health care are coming out of the United Kingdom and Canada. Well, we can add one more to the list.

This comes from David Altaner and Bruce Rule at Bloomberg:

Jack Rosser’s doctor says taking Pfizer Inc.’s Sutent cancer drug may keep him alive long enough to see his 1-year-old daughter, Emma, enter primary school. The U.K.’s National Health Service says that’s not worth the expense.

If you read that right, then you know that under a nationalized health care system like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton envisioned, doctor’s would not be making decisions but government bureaucrats would. The above shows exactly how heartless such a nationalized system really is.

More :

The NHS, which provides health care to all Britons and is funded by tax revenue, is spending about 100 billion pounds this fiscal year, or more than double what it spent a decade ago, as the cost of treatments increase and the population ages. The higher costs are forcing the NHS to choose between buying expensive drugs for terminal patients and providing more services for a wider number of people.

About 800 of 3,000 cancer patients lose their appeals for regulator-approved drugs each year because of cost, Canterbury- based charity Rarer Cancers Forum said. The U.K. is considering whether to make permanent a preliminary ruling that four medicines, including Sutent, are too expensive to be part of the government-funded treatment of advanced kidney cancer.

There is a reason why the U.K. is in last place among the industrialized nations for cancer survival rates. Delayed detection and delayed treatment of various diseases and conditions are part and parcel to a socialized health care system. Government run health care offers too little too late.

And this telling fact illustrates what people in the U.K. really feel about the NHS:

South Gloucestershire, the trust that includes Rosser’s home, accepts applications for Sutent funding only for exceptional cases, said Ann Jarvis, director of commissioning at the trust, in an e-mail. “Unfortunately for very expensive drugs, if they are proven to only provide a small benefit we have to prioritize other treatments.”

The people joke, “We don’t have socialized health care, we have rationed health care.”

Yes, they do. And we do not want it over here. It is a disaster.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Cancer Patients Lose Shot At Longer Life In U.K. Cuts
David Altaner and Bruce Rule
Bloomberg.com
November 18, 2008

And there is more information at the following website:

Big Government Health

And learn some not-so-well known facts about government run health care:

Learn The Facts

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7 Responses

  1. “There is a reason why the U.K. is in last place among the industrialized nations for cancer survival rates.”

    – Please provide evidence of this as I’m pretty sure it’s actually the US which is low in the rankings for cancer survival. If it’s not for cancer survival, then it certainly is in overall health terms and has a very high child mortality rate compared to other indurstrialised nations.

    The US also spends 14% of its GDP on healthcare (and not everyone is covered), whereas the UK spends 7.5% and every man, woman and child is covered. Very new cancer drugs are not always allowed either because they have not been fully licensed, or the benefits are not completely clear. I guess in the US’ if you’re poor, rather than getting a slightly older form of cancer treatment, you’d simply be left to die. Great. The US system is massively ineffiecient, as is any system in which a ‘free’ market is the means by which a service is provided.

    Oh, and UK citizens have a higher life expectancy than US citizens, so the National Health Service must be doing something right. So basically, we’re spending less money on health as a percentage of national expenditure than you guys and we’re living longer. I’ll take that any day baby!

    Rather than spending 48.8 Cents of every US tax dollar on your nations debt and military, don’t you want something back for what you pay in? If you’re happy without that’s fine… I happen to enjoy getting certain perks from my gov.

  2. kennedy121,

    Here you go:

    Learn The Facts

    If you think the U.S. is in last place for cancer survival, then perhaps you can explain why cancer patients who are denied treatment in the U.K. or Canada come here to get treatment?

    As for your assertion that the U.K. NHS is doing something right, 17,000 deaths per year (not to mention the plight of Jack Rosser and thousands of others who are routinely denied medical care by your government) would seem to disagree with your conclusion.

  3. Sorry man, there is a difference between ‘facts’ and propaganda… I’m not going to take anything for granted from a website that is obviously biased against universal health care systems and has a rant like the following at the top of one of its pages;

    “Across the globe, citizens of nations with government-run health care systems experience long wait times, a lack of access to certain treatments and, in some instances, a diminished quality of medical care. Navigate the links below to learn more about patients’ health care horror stories.”

    If I’m going to read an anti-universal health care account of things from a biased source, I’d rather get it somewhere like a blog like yours which is up front about the fact it’s your personal opinion that universal health care is flawed or whatever. It’s fair enough you have that opinion (even if I think it’s flawed), but websites that claim (well, the one you linked to doesn’t really try to maintain neutrality) they have the facts, yet are trying to push a certain belief are pointless in my opinion.

    Here are some basic facts from the World Health Organization (I know a lot of crazies on the right believe the UN to be some bizarre socialist conspiracy, but I doubt you hold that belief) to contrast the US and UK;

    United States-
    Total population: 302,841,000

    Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 44,070

    Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 75/80

    Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003): 67/71

    Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 8

    Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 137/80

    Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2005): 6,347

    Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2005): 15.2

    United Kingdom –

    Total population: 60,512,000

    Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 33,650

    Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 77/81

    Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003): 69/72

    Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 6

    Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 98/61

    Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2005): 2,598

    Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2005): 8.2

    So the UK spends less per person and as a % of GDP that the US gov does, but we have a longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality rate etc. All this and we even learn less per capita! Think of how long US citizens could live if they had free health care! :)
    You mentioned something about a guy called Jack Rosser… his case may be tragic, but you don’t base your evaluation of a system on annecdotes etc.

    Check out the overall mortality rate here;

    http://www.who.int/infobase/compare.aspx?dm=10&countries=826%2c840&year=2002&sf1=mo.cg.990&sex=all

    They’re pretty much the same, but the UK is slightly lower lower and as I pointed out, we pay less… bargain eh?!

    Don’t believe the kind of crap the gov and private health companies pump out about the ‘effieciency of the market’ and all that. As we can see from the current macro-economic disaster, that’s total BS. Therefore, I’m happy my nation doesn’t leave my health care system to the whims of market mechanisms. Privatisation is hugely inefficient. Insurance companies exist to make a profit (it’s not evil or anything, it’s just their job), therefore, restriction of access to some treatment for things like pre-existing conditions is widespread as treatment will hit profit margins. Governments are required to provide a service if people pay their taxes towards it. They are not driven by profit, but the health of their citizens. The healthier people become, the cheaper it is to provide healthcare. In the US it’s the reverse… if people get healthier, that’s a problem for insurance companies as they need people to get ill etc so they stay in business.

  4. “Across the globe, citizens of nations with government-run health care systems experience long wait times, a lack of access to certain treatments and, in some instances, a diminished quality of medical care”

    By the way, this statement is not one which reflects the reality for most people. I can call my doctor and get an appointment on the same day, unlimited prescriptions (that cost £7 for any meds) and can see the doc as many times as I wish in over any given period. I’ve also had a couple of surgical procedures and scans etc, as well as people I know, and its always been done in a couple of weeks or so. It’s only a problem when its something like a hip operation, which has the highest waiting times, around 6 weeks or so no I believe. Like I said above, annecdotal evidence doesn’t stand for much, but just thought I’d give you my experiences in a health service that is yet to let me down.

  5. kennedy121,

    You are indeed a very special person over in the U.K. considering most people cannot get in to see their doctor on the same day. Even if it were an emergency, patients in the U.K. can be stacked in ambulances for nine hours before being admitted into an ER. Many people can’t even get in to see a dentist and end up pulling their own teeth.

    As for your “statistics,” let’s look at some reality:

    ========================

    Myth: The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than that of other countries

    Fact: The U.S.’ infant mortality rate is not higher; the rates of Canada and many European countries are artificially low, due to more restrictive definitions of live birth. There also are variations in the willingness of nations to save very low birth weight and gestation babies.

    The ethnic heterogeneity of the U.S. works against it because different ethnic and cultural groups may have widely different risk factors and genetic predispositions.

    Definitions of a live birth, and therefore which babies are counted in the infant mortality statistics very considerably. The U.S. uses the full WHO definition, while Germany omits one of the four criteria. The U.K. defines a still birth “a child which has issued forth from its mother after the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy and which did not at any time after being completely expelled from its mother breathe or show any other signs of life.”

    This leaves what constitutes a sign of life open and places those born before 24 weeks in a gray area. Canada uses the complete WHO definition but struggles with tens of thousands of missing birth records and increasing numbers of mothers sent to the U.S. for care.2 France requires “a medical certificate [that] attests that the child was born ‘alive and viable’” for baby who died soon after birth to be counted, which may be difficult to obtain.

    And this:

    Myth: The U.S. premature birth rate is higher than that of other countries.

    Fact: In the Netherlands, babies below 25 weeks gestation are no longer resuscitated, but rather given only palliative treatment. Those at 25 to 26 weeks are generally resuscitated and kept alive, but the decision depends on the facts of each case. The result is underreporting the number babies that may be live-born but who are not offered aggressive treatment.

    Switzerland only uses two of the four WHO criteria, respiration and heart beat, and does not aggressively treat very premature babies. In some cantons, the baby must be 30 cm long to be registered as a live birth. Switzerland also requires registration of still births only from 6 months gestation and has no rule regarding registration of live births. Studies have found significant underreporting of premature births in Switzerland, which can alter the overall mortality rate by more than a percentage point.

    ===========================

    So, I have a hard time buying into the propaganda you are trying to pass as data.

    Here some more examples of the realities of socialized health care in the U.K.:

    18 Weeks Referral To Treatment (If you are able to get treatment in just a few weeks, you are most certainly a special person over there.)

    I Pulled Out My Own Teeth (Now, that’s a bargain!)

    Hard-Up Hospital Orders Staff: Don’t Wash Sheets – Turn Them Over (Cost cutting? Socialized medicine was supposed to prevent situations like this by making things cheaper and more affordable thereby leaving plenty of resource for all.)

    NHS Scandal: Dying Cancer Victim Was Forced To Pay (So much for “free.”)

    ‘I Was Wold I Was Too Young For A Smear Test But Now I Am Dying Of Cervical Cancer At Just 24’ (It’s not socialized, it’s “rationed.”)

    Cancer Patient, 87, Forced To Travel 500 Miles A Week (Did NHS cover the fuel costs? I doubt it.)

    Cancer Patient Told New Drug Is Too Costly (More “rationing.”)

    As you can see, all of these stories come from the U.K. There are several more if you would like me to post them and they are becoming more and more common as the socialized medical system becomes more and more inefficient. Of course, as time goes on the bureaucracy chokes the medical services and also stifles doctors’ abilities to provide care for their patients.

    So, instead of berating me with doctored “statistics” maybe you could spend some time and energy to find out why your beloved socialist NHS has failed so many people and see about taking steps to ensure that such failures do not happen again.

  6. “So, instead of berating me with doctored “statistics” ”

    Lol, well I’d posit that I haven’t been berating anyone, but I am saddened to hear you feel you have been on the wrong end of a haranguing. I don’t really think World Health Organization stats can be deemed as quackery, as they are collected in a quantatively accurate manner (which is accounted for on their site) and the WHO is the highest health body on the planet. The Daily Mail, Sun and fruitcake websites (not yours, the one that was banging on about socialised medicine around the world) are somewhat below the WHO’s medical expertise.

    Also, I admit the UK system as problems. But if I said to you now to go and watch Michael Moore’s sicko movie to get a rounded analysis of the US health care system, you’d balk at such a proposal (probably rightly) as it’s one sided and has an agenda. The UK systems has some failures, as does the US system. Interestingly, problems with things like dental care have come in recent years since government have cut spending to it compared to other health services and it now costs £15 just to get a check up when it used to cost nothing.

    Btw, just so you’re aware The Sun and Times are owned by Rupert Murdoch who has an obvious ideological axe to grind when it comes to the very existence of the NHS. So I don’t really feel his papers can be accepted as accurate reportage (or on anything else for that matter). The Daily Mail is also extremely right wing and its ownership is likely to take similar issue with the NHS.

    “The ethnic heterogeneity of the U.S….”

    -the UK has large populations of people of Carribean, Indian/Pakistani, Mid-Eastern and to a lesser extent, African descent. You’ll know from your history that Britain used to go around f***in up the world and when we stopped that we decided to let a lot of people from former colonies settle here in the UK.

    I dunno where you’re getting the whole thing on what is termed as live birth in the UK etc, but unless I see a document or research paper with this noted on it (again, not some unaccredited website), I’m going to have to take that with a pinch of salt.

    I’m not a special person here in the UK… I’m not a high ranking member of the Communist Party (or whoever you think runs the socialist UK) or anything to get special privileges. I come from a county called Sussex and I have to call me doc between 8 and 9 am and make an appointment for that day. Often the appointments go quick, but I’d say I’ve had to try again the next day about 10% of the time. I also study in Oxford and you can make appointments for the doc I go to for the same day, or any day in the week he has a free appointment. It tends to be a couple of days later.

    But yeah, I don’t think we’re ever gonna degree here so we probably shouldn’t go on about this much more. You’re against universal health care and there’s nothing I can do to change that and the same vice versa for me. From my studies of comparisons of social services in the UK, US, Scandanavia and continental Europe for my degree, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Scandanavian and Corporatist (german, Dutch, Austrian etc) systems are the most efficient and offer that best service on all levels of welfare. In the academic literature, the British and US systems are termed as liberal in that they offer a safety net only and it’s down to the individual to look after themselves etc. The NHS is the only area Britain really diverges from the US in anyway, and from what I can tell from American friends of mine and studies of the system, I’m extremely thankful for that divergence. I have American friends who have been unable to pay for medical insurance as they have conditions such as diabetes etc and have had to leave the US, which is a crying shame in my view. A couple of them have even moved to other countries without universal health care, but they’re way cheaper to get insured in.

    The US and UK systems undoubtedly have their problems, but I love the fact that every man, woman and child, no matter their income will receive medical care. The care may not be ranked as the best in the world (although its not far off), but care is better than no care which 45 million of your compatriots experience.

  7. I must just apologise for the appalling state of my spelling in the post above… its been a long day! :S

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