Another comforting story about NHS

Is there any hospital in the entire United States where between 400 and 1,200 people have died as the result of poor care in the span of three years? And then there’s the head of the World Health Organization who calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care. Sure, we’ve got our own problems, no one is denying that, but do we really want to drop one failed system for another? Let’s try something new, instead.

Patients admitted for emergency treatment at an NHS Trust were subjected to “shocking and appalling” care that included untrained receptionists carrying out medical checks and heart monitors being switched off, a report concluded today. The Healthcare Commission, the NHS standards watchdog, said that evidence suggested that as many as 400 deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust could have been prevented and may have been the result of poor care.

That’s at a single hospital. I think a lot of people complaining about health care in the United States are unaware that “roughly 50 cents out of every dollar that you spend on health care now is spent by the government.” We spend more than any other country in the world per capita.

David Gratzer, M.D., a Canadian, believes that Americans have three choices:

I’ve only really found three choices for America. How can we deal with this financial crisis? One: Go back to managed care. Health spending largely pla­teaued in the mid-1990s. Sure, people were upset, but we actually contained costs.

Option number two: socialized medicine. Every other Western country has done it. You want to call it universal health care; you want to call it single-payer; whatever you want to call it. Steffie Wool­handler calls it the “cure.” I don’t.

Option number three: Let’s try something we don’t do a lot of in health care policy in the Unit­ed States: capitalism. Let’s do for health policy what we’ve done in the other five-sixths of the general economy.

He has five ideas for implementing option number three: Make health insurance like every other type of insurance, introduce government policies that foster competition, reform Medicaid, revisit Medicare and reconsider the role of the FDA. Visit the article for details.

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