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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Taxpayer Funded Medical Care: 17,000 Deaths

There is alot about the socialized health care systems of Canada and Great Britain that doesn't get reported in Old Media. One of the more recent developments out of Great Britain, a development that I learned about from Glenn Beck rather than ABC News, is that the British government has guaranteed a wait of "no more than four hours" in the Emergency Room.

Sounds noble, eh? Well, wait until you hear how the government run hospitals are putting this "guarantee" into effect. It is a procedure called "patient stacking." Essentially, what they do is they hold the patient in the ambulance outside of the emergency room until the ER staff can assure the ambulance drivers that the patient can be seen within four hours. Some patients have been held in the ambulances for up to nine hours (not including the four they spend waiting in the emergency room) and some medical emergency victims have been kept waiting for over ten hours while waiting for an ambulance to become available to come and get them.

That's just the latest example of how socialized medicine, especially socialist programs proposed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are dismal failures and should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

From Deroy Murdoch at the New York Post:

Great Britain's big-government National Health Service. Low-quality, taxpayer-funded health care killed more than 17,000 Britons in 2004, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance in London.

The TPA examined the World Health Organization's latest-available data to contrast the NHS with the Dutch, French, German and Spanish health systems, which are less government-dominated. Specifically, the pro-market group measured "mortality amenable to health care" - those deaths that a medical organization realistically should prevent.

While those four countries averaged a 106.6 amenable mortality rate, Britain was almost 29 percent deadlier, with its rate of 135.3. The TPA thus calculates that the NHS took the lives of 17,157 Britons who otherwise would have survived were they treated by doctors across the English Channel. This figure is more than two-and-a-half times Britain's yearly alcohol-related deaths, and is quintuple its annual highway fatalities. Comparing 60 million Brits to 300 million Yanks, this is like a federally-operated health agency eliminating 85,785 Americans in 2004.

Despite the fact that the British socialist health care system is probably the best financed in the world, it is one of the worst health-care performers in the world. Here are some of the other things going on that people should know about before embracing HillaryCare or ObamaCare:

Poor sanitation has become the NHS' latest worry. The BBC's Danielle Glavin worked undercover at a government hospital in Kent. "On my first day, as I emptied bins, swept and mopped, I noticed old blood stains ingrained on the floor," Glavin reported. In one surgical theater, "a blood-stained gown was left on a trolley for 24 hours, and used medical instruments were discarded in a sink for a day."

This helps explain why the British government estimated that 9 percent of inpatients in 2000 suffered hospital-acquired infections. The bacterium Clostridium difficile often is associated with hospital outbreaks and extended medical stays. English and Welsh death certificates citing C. diff as a cause or contributing factor grew from about 1,000 in 1999 to 3,807 in 2005.

Diseases snuff Britons sooner than they do others in the developed world. A September 2007 Lancet Oncology article found 66.3 percent of American men alive five years after cancer diagnosis. Among male Finns, that figure was 55.9 percent, while only 44.8 percent of Englishmen survived after five years. Across the European Union, 20.1 females per 100,000 under 65 died prematurely of circulatory disease. Among British women, that number was 23.6.

Anyone who believes the idiotic propaganda that Michael Moore put in his informationally challenged movie Sicko should go over to Great Britain the next time they think they might have cancer. We'll see how truly they believe in socialized medicine then.

The parting shot:

Collectively, these data strongly rebuff the notion that America's imperfect health-care industry needs a booster shot of mandates and regulations. What it sorely lacks is more choice, competition and freedom - and loads less government.

John McCain's ideas - among them, expanded health-savings accounts; individually owned, portable health-insurance policies available across state lines; and medical-lawsuit reform - are the antidote to the "health care with a British accent" that Clinton or Obama would import, unless American voters stop them.

And once again, despite so-called Conservative opposition, John McCain has the better idea.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

17,000 Deaths
Deroy Murdoch
New York Post
February 24, 2008

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