Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
The single party payer system in Great Britain and Canada is not as good as Democrats and the mass media have led us to believe. The United States pays more of our gross national product for its healthcare than Great Britain and Canada do but they do not get the same or better outcomes than we do.
The healthcare system in the U.S. could be repaired. The cost can be reduced significantly if the U.S adopted the changes I and others have advocated
The changes are significant malpractice reform, reduction in waste and abuse by the healthcare insurance industry, consumer driven healthcare through a medical savings account and the institution of a universal electronic medical record funded by the government and paid for by physicians and hospital systems by.usage
The sound bite of effective care given in Great Britain and Canada for less money is false. Here are just a few outcome comparisons between our healthcare system and theirs. You be the judge;.
- “Breast cancer kills 25 percent of its American victims; in Great Britain, the Vatican of single-payer medicine, breast cancer extinguishes 46 percent of its targets.”
Why? Early diagnosis with timely mammography and immediate and intensive treatment at the time of diagnosis.
“ Prostate cancer is fatal to 19 percent of its American patients. The National Center for Policy Analysis reports that it kills 57 percent of Britons it strikes.”
It is fatal in 19 percent of American males because of delayed diagnosis and treatment in some males. Males are not good about routine checkups. They go to the physician when they hurt. Some without insurance cannot afford to get a routine PSA screening test..
“ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data show that the U.K.’s 2005 heart-attack fatality rate was 19.5 percent higher than America’s. This may correspond to angioplasties, which were only 21.3 percent as common there as here.”
Why? The difference is caused by a delay in access to care.
“The U.K.’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) just announced plans to cut its 60,000 annual steroid injections for severe back-pain sufferers to just 3,000. This should save the government 33 million pounds (about $55 million). "The consequences of the NICE decision will be devastating for thousands of patients," Dr. Jonathan Richardson of Bradford Hospitals Trust told London’s Daily Telegraph. "It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive, and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky, and has a 50 per cent failure rate."
It is not very smart or efficient to restrict access to care to end up with patients being addicted to narcotics and/or needing surgery that will be delayed because of restrictions on access to care.
"Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets," Daniel Martin wrote last year in London’s Daily Mail. "Thousands of people a year are having to wait outside accident and emergency departments because trusts will not let them in until they can treat them within four hours, in line with a Labour [party] pledge. The hold-ups mean ambulances are not available to answer fresh 911 calls. Doctors warned last night that the practice of ‘patient-stacking’ was putting patients’ health at risk."
Unintended consequences are usually the result of bureaucratic mandates. It is similar to the airlines leaving the gate to leave on time and then keeping us waiting on the tarmac for takeoff so that it looks good for on time takeoff statistics. It is not about service. It becomes about statistical targets to cover defects.
There are many more examples of defects in the National Health Service of Great Britain that we never hear about. The average person is not sick and does not complain about the healthcare system. Many are passive about the abuse they experience in the healthcare system.
President Obama’s healthcare team is going to create a Federal Healthcare Board similar to the NICE and have a panel of experts decide on best practices for Americans in order to improve our healthcare system.
When has a consensus committee ever improved anything? A consensus panel will eliminate individual freedom to make healthcare choices.
Is this what Americans’ want?