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How to "fix" health care

By Linda Gonzalez
web posted May 25, 2009

Recently the Miami Herald carried an article on healthcare, with the comforting headline that read "Ways to cut S. Fla. healthcare costs: reduce tests, let terminally ill die at home."  I read it with interest, with my Sunday morning coffee. The basic point of the article is summed up by the headline, that is, the one sure way to trim healthcare costs is to cut out testing, deny older patients admission to the hospital and send them home to die. Yes indeed, that's the European healthcare model, coming soon to a hospital near you.  We need healthcare reform, and we need it now, based of course, on this:

Leaders in Washington and the healthcare industry agree that costs must be slashed to find the money to pay for care for the 45 million uninsured Americans, whose annual medical expenses on average are about twice that of Europeans.

"Leaders in Washington." I don't know why anyone in this country would think it's a good idea to put our healthcare decisions into the hands of the same "Leaders in Washington" who run the DMV and the Post Office, the same "Leaders in Washington" who have bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, the same "Leaders in Washington" who have put our grandchildren into debt so they could mail millions of dollars in stimulus money to dead people.

Of course, when they talk about those "45 million uninsureds," what those "Leaders in Washington" don't bother to tell you is that the number of uninsureds includes 10 to 15 million criminal immigrants who have snuck into this country in violation of our laws and those "Leaders in Washington" should be more concerned with kicking them the hell out instead of providing them with free healthcare at the taxpayers' expense.

And... that number includes 10 million uninsureds who live in households earning considerably more than $50,000 per year, all of whom have access to healthcare, who could afford healthcare, but who have chosen to opt out of their spouses medical plans because they choose to spend the money on something else. Seeing how they are uninsured through their own choice, those "Leaders in Washington" should allow them to live with that choice.

Finally, a good many of the rest that number of uninsured already qualify for existing government programs but are too lazy to apply for themselves or their children. Let them get off their ass and do something for themselves for a change.

The healthcare crisis in this country is manufactured by the government as a means to an end, to make more government. More government can only be a bad thing for the quality of healthcare in this country and in the end, for the quality of life in this country.

What do we have to look forward to when it comes to healthcare in this country? Well, if we are going to follow the European model, we just have to look at Europe, where healthcare is cheaper, and supposedly, better.

Healthcare in Europe is cheaper than healthcare in America and that means it's better because it's cheaper? nah, it couldn't be that, only a moron would believe that. So, it must be that a higher mortality rate is better, because other than price, that's the only area in healthcare that Europe is doing better than America.

That must be it! Europeans have a much higher mortality rate than Americans for common cancers. In fact, breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

It's obvious that more people are dying of common cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal in Europe than in America, proving that healthcare in Europe is not only cheaper than healthcare in America, it’s much better and the higher mortality rate proves it!

Even the Canadians enjoy a cheaper healthcare system and higher mortality rate for common cancer than Americans. In Canada, breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

Testing is another area that European healthcare is well ahead of us by falling way behind us. Compared to the cheaper better European healthcare model, there is too much wasteful expensive testing going on here in the states.

9 of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).

Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.

More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).

Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

According to the European healthcare model, those tests are not part of a better, cheaper healthcare system and there must be less of them.

Once we have cut down on all the testing, stop finding diseases early, and stop treating them too early, and stop expensive preventative medicine, once things like cancer are allowed to get a good hold before it is discovered and people are seriously ill before they go to the doctor, then healthcare in this country will be cheaper. Once we stop wasting money on older folks who are going to die in a couple few years anyway and once we stop this useless and wasteful and expensive prolonging of life, then healthcare in this country will be cheaper and better. We will finally have achieved the European level of healthcare, instead of a doctor, the government will be in control and more people will just die instead of using up expensive medical resources.

It appears that according to the European healthcare model, the level of better and cheaper is also gauged by the level of personal satisfaction with one's personal medical healthcare. Most Americans are in fact satisfied with their personal medical coverage. Most Europeans are not. Therefore, it stands to reason that, if you're basically satisfied with your healthcare, then the government has to step in and fix it enough until you're unsatisfied with it. Then, and only then, will it be better.

Source of quoted medical statistics is here. ESR

This is Linda Gonzalez's first contribution to Enter Stage Right. © 2009 Linda Gonzalez

 

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