October 10, 2005


Opinion Journal Online today. Something to remember when someone talks about universal health care in a Communist country.

Posted by LMC at October 10, 2005 04:17 PM | TrackBack

I was wondering if you ever looked at the enormous decline in life expectancy in Russia after the Wall fell?

Posted by: bbbustard at October 10, 2005 04:39 PM

Very moving story. I always wondered why so many Floridians got on leaky rafts to risk their lives to go to Havana. Now I know it's that wonderful "free" health care. Plus the ability to watch all of our best pitchers, like Clemens and Johnson and Pedro.

Posted by: rbj at October 10, 2005 05:25 PM

bbb: I have and no matter how you slice it, we have the best health care system in the world and that is thanks to our market economy. Don't give me any crap about infant mortality rates--our numbers include premees we try to save but who our enlighted European bretheren do not count because they should not have lived anyway in their view.

Posted by: LMC at October 10, 2005 05:57 PM


I have to disagree, there is very little evidence that we have the best health care system. The US spends more on health care than any other country in the world, yet 13% (and growing) of the population has no coverage. Canada spends significantly less (8% v. 13% GNP) yet they live longer on average and everyone is covered. Sweden compares similarly favorably.

Yes rich Canadians come to the US so they can get botox injections and other elective surgeries they would otherwise have to wait for, but the trucker with the diabetic kid doesn't risk financial ruin because of his child's illness.

Basically like most services in the US, healthcare is great if you are rich, rapidly shrinking if you are middleclass, and non-existant if you are poor. The politicians will do nothing because the corporations are making too much money to allow changes to occur.

Posted by: LB buddy at October 10, 2005 06:32 PM

LB Buddy, the Canadian health care system is far from perfect, and administered with just what can be expected from government run enterprises- Just for grins and giggles:
- waits of months for heart bypass surgery.
- Hi-tech medical equipment (CAT scanners and MRI) rationed by geographical region.
- Kidney dialysis limited or unavailable for those over 60 years old.

- Canadian companies offering private medical insurance to supplement the government programs, as an employment perk because the "free" stuff is, well, just so swell.

- Provincial Budget overruns because there's limited methods of managing the Canadian health care except by government fiat. Why? there is no incentive to drive efficiencies like the profit motive.

The poor in America may not be insured, but they are getting healthcare, often by walking into an ER and by law, they cannot be refused treatment should they need it. Is that an efficient means of dispensing heathcare? Of course not.

For the trucker's diabetic kid, there's Medicaid, and similiar programs insurance programs to help the working poor. Is it the level of care you would want for your kid? Probably not. But it sure as hell beats going without.

American doctors, often take cases that they know up front they will not be paid for, but they do it anyway. Such cases are all risk and no reward, as the doctor can still be sued for an outcome the patient (or their family) doesn't like.

Healthcare in America isn't perfect, but it sure beats the alternative.

Posted by: KMR at October 10, 2005 08:38 PM

Having suffered in an Italian hospital, all I have to say is "God bless the U.S.A."

Yeah, I worry about hospital bills here. But I don't worry that the bathroom floors will be covered in urine, that the doctor will smoke in the room with the patients, or that the hospital will be shocked when I say no, I didn't happen to bring food and utensils with me when I came to the emergency room.

Posted by: Sobek at October 11, 2005 01:43 AM

The communists was of medicare it gose only to the most important of them all like the fearless leader everybody else has to depend on the local witch doctor

Posted by: spurwing plover at October 11, 2005 10:33 AM

In France, although things are nowhere near as bad as in the above piece, most Americans would be shocked and appalled. I know this from experience, having had to partake of the French medical establishment on several occasions. To be honest, I fared fairly well in their system. In fact, I did better than most of the patients (French patients) around me. I was often moved to the front of the line for such things as x-rays and other diagnostic tests. I even got a private room the time I had to stay in the hospital. I saw a lot of miserable conditions and I saw a lot miserable people.

And what, you may ask, made me the "Bourbon" of patients? As a foreign national, I had French required, private insurance.

Yep, let the 3rd party payee cash roll in!

Posted by: Bohemian at October 11, 2005 10:45 AM

Universal health care can be a great impact on health care. It is unfortunate to hear so many lack health insurance. We really need to improve our health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many and we should help everyone get covered.

Posted by: California Health Insurance at November 18, 2005 01:47 PM