Wednesday, February 24, 2010

With Socialized Medicine, You Don't Even Need Official Death Panels

The Brits aren't a stupid people. No one expected their horrific National Health Service problems when the program was first instituted. No one expected anything like this--and let's be clear, this is not an isolated case; the fact that I haven't written more about such abominations in so-called health care doesn't mean that I'm not finding horror stories.

Patients were routinely neglected or left “sobbing and humiliated” by staff at an NHS trust where at least 400 deaths have been linked to appalling care.

An independent inquiry found that managers at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust stopped providing safe care because they were preoccupied with government targets and cutting costs.

Nobody planned such a system, but it is the inevitable result of socialism.

Nobody in Canada planned to have a health care system so bad that a provincial premiere (akin to a US state governor) would choose to have heart surgery in the US rather than in Canada. The inference is clear--if he waited in Canada like everyone else must, he'd die.

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams will undergo heart surgery later this week in the United States.

Deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale confirmed the treatment at a news conference Tuesday, but would not reveal the location of the operation or how it would be paid for.

Nobody planned such a system, but it is the inevitable result of socialism.

Do you remember the summer of 2003, when 15,000 people, mostly elderly, died in France in a heat wave? They died in part because half the country was on vacation, including doctors. People left their parents and grandparents to die in the heat, expecting the government to look after them, while everyone went and enjoyed themselves at the beach.

The heat wave occurred in August, a month in which many people, including government ministers and physicians, are on holiday. Many bodies were not claimed for many weeks because relatives were on holiday.
Nobody planned such a system, but it is the inevitable result of socialism.

Neither the Brits nor the Canadians nor even the French are a dumb people. No one would choose such systems if they knew these were the results that would be delivered.

Yet we now know that's what socialized medicine delivers. Why would we choose it for ourselves?


David said...

What do we call the departments at our US insurance companies who determine what treatments they will and will not cover? What about the companies that decide they will no longer cover people when they become sick.

Turns out "death panels" are not only restricted to "socialist" medical systems. They're doing perfectly well in out capitalist system already.

and then, there's always the numbers.

I always thought the conservative position was getting your money's worth.

Darren said...

That's what happens when you think, you ruin it for the whole team. The *conservative* position is to keep government contained.

When the US insurance system results in a governor going to Canada for treatment, or in 15,000 deaths from a heat wave, you let me know.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Yes, but what is restricted is the reach of the insurance companies. If you don't like the way they do business you can go with another company. Not so easy to take your business elsewhere with a socialized system.

Ellen K said...

What worries me more is that the current supporters of government healthcare presume to tell Americans what is good for us. Sure, we should all eat more veggies and exercise more, but there seems to be the type of well meaning, but short sighted groundswell for measures that would hurt our economy more than it would help. And prime example would be the refusal to allow fast food restaurants in a minority LA neighborhood. Never mind that jobs might be provided or that tax revenue would be obtained. You cannot do these types of things without an eye on the ultimate result. And that is exactly what liberals seem to be doing on the economy,health care, cap and trade and more. The ends does not justify the means.

mazenko said...

Any stories like this from Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, or Taiwan?

Any reason we would choose a system whereby a lack of health care leads to 20,000 preventable deaths a year?

Hmmm. Seems to be some faulty logic here. A little post hoc ergo propter hoc?

Darren said...

I would prefer something closer to the Swiss system than those of the other countries I mentioned. Are my critiques of socialized medicine only valid if I attack every single country?

Darren said...

Hey, look what I just came across:
When adjusted for the age of its population, Canada vies with Iceland and Switzerland as the highest spender on health care among the 28 most developed nations with universal systems. Dr. David Gratzer, a Toronto physician affiliated with the Manhattan Institute, calculates that a Canadian earning $35,000 a year pays a stunning $7,350 in health-care taxes.

Darren said...

And then read what's in today's SF Chronicle, hardly a conservative paper:

Danny Williams, the premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, traveled to the United States earlier this month to undergo heart valve surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. With his trip, Williams joined a long list of Canadians who have decided that they prefer American medicine to their own country's government-run health system when their lives are on the line.

But just as American hospitals are becoming popular vacation destinations for about 40,000 Canadians a year, California's Senate is pressing ahead with its effort to make the state's health care system more like the one in the Great White North. The Senate recently approved a bill sponsored by Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that would install a government-run, single-payer health system in the Golden State. The Assembly will soon consider the measure.

Read more:

mazenko said...

No, your attacks are not valid if you only choose two miserable examples and attack all national systems by default. I challenge the generalizations. I am all for valid, targeted criticism.

It's like Glenn Beck calling progressivism a "disease" that is ruining the country or Hannity saying the "government ruins everything."

That kind of small thinking is just weak.

If you agree with aspects of the Swiss system, then don't make blanket criticisms. Be targeted. Medicare has problems. So does Medicaid. But the private sector would not go near insuring my parents at this point.

Generalizations are irrational. Let's be practical.

Curmudgeon said...

The British example sounds a lot like Walter Reed of a couple years ago.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> But the private sector would not go near insuring my parents at this point.

Neither do socialized systems all implications to the contrary notwithstanding.

mazenko said...

But Medicare does insure my parents. So, what exactly do you mean?

Darren said...

“Almost 50,000 Health Service patients a year are dying while suffering from malnutrition in hospitals in England, shocking figures suggest,” the London Daily Mail reported.

Now those are just the deaths from starvation. That does not include the myriad other calamities that befall patients under NHS — the National Health Service which is set up to save money, not lives.

So let us run the numbers through.

In America, 45,000 out of 300 million people die because they lack health insurance.

In England, 50,000 out of 60 million people die because they have health insurance.

Adjusting for population and those 45,000 who die without health insurance would become 250,000 who die with health insurance.

mazenko said...

Darren, you might want to read Dicken's scathingly satirical attack on such utilitarian nonsense of comparing numbers in "Hard Times" before you proceed with that analogy.

I'm paraphrasing from memory, but:

Teacher McChoakumchild - "Girl six, if 100,000 go to sea and only 500 are drowned or burned to death, what is the percentage?"

Girl Six - It's nothing, sir.

Teacher - Nothing?

Girl Six - It's not about about percentage to those dead and their families, sir.

Darren said...

The British system is a disaster. I don't hear a lot about Americans heading north to Canada for health care.

I'd rather keep what we have than turn our health care over to Washington. I'm still hard pressed to think of one federal social program that can be considered a success.

mazenko said...

Social Security and Medicare have prevented the elderly from slipping into abject poverty for 80 years. The National Institute of Health. The Center for Disease Control. Public education is a success for all who want it if you keep in mind that 75% of Americans are happy with their children's schools, and 85% of Americans are "very satisfied" with their own education. The GI Bill. School breakfasts and lunches. Americorps. Peace Corps. Medicaid.

Reagan didn't say "government is the problem," he said in our current crisis of high taxes and stagflation "government is the problem."

The contempt for government and dismissal of its significance is not legitimate and its not conservative - Conservatism is a philosophy committed to preservation of the social order that is the foundation of civilization, and it acknowledges government as a key component of the establishment of that tradition and order.

Darren said...

I don't have a contempt for government in general--anarchy is a leftist philosophy. No, I have a contempt for our government as it's run today. I have contempt for the view that almost nothing should be beyond the bounds of the federal government. I have a contempt for the belief that if "it's for the children" or if "it saves just one life" then it's worth any cost, as "the government", some amorphous entity, will pay for it.

Pick a social problem, and we'll probably find a strong example of how our government has contributed to it either directly or through the unintended consequences of some road to Hell paved with good intentions.

No, I don't have a contempt for government. I recognize its power for both good and ill--more ill than good--and respect it and want to tame it.

mazenko said...

Fair enough - well said, Darren. I generally concur.

When the government overreaches we have debt and deficits and often exacerbation of the problem - such as public housing based on percentages, not flat rates and disincentives to be married and work.

On the other hand, when the government under-reaches, we have the Gilded Age.

Some issues are tough calls, others not so much.