Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obamacare: higher taxes, higher debt, higher unemployment and higher premiums

A few of the problems with Obamacare

Here are a few articles that I have been using lately to inform people about the problems with Obamacare

But I thought that the best defense is a good offense, and so without further ado, let me re-post something that defends American health care.

A defense of American health care

Story from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

The article compares American health care to health care in other places like Canada, the UK and Europe.

The full article. I almost never cite the full article, but this is a must read.

MEDICINE AND HEALTH:
Here’s a Second Opinion

By Scott W. Atlas

Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose. By Scott W. Atlas.

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.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 United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

  • Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.


This essay appeared on the website of the National Center for Policy Analysis on March 24, 2009. An earlier version was published in the Washington Times.

Available from the Hoover Press is Power to the Patient: Selected Health Care Issues and Policy Solutions, edited by Scott W. Atlas. To order, call 800.935.2882 or visit www.hooverpress.org.


Scott W. Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School.

Note that the author is a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School. Stanford and Harvard are generally regarded as the two best universities in the United States.

Correcting myths about American health care

Some people believe misleading myths about American health care by cherry-picking data from left-wing propaganda movies or Guardian editorials/comments, but here is the Michael Tanner, health care policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, to give us the facts.

Excerpt:

The Claim: Though we spend more, we get less.

The Facts: America offers the highest quality health care in the world. Most of the world’s top doctors, hospitals and research facilities are located in the United States. Eighteen of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine either are U.S. citizens or work here. U.S. companies have developed half of all the major new medicines introduced worldwide over the past 20 years. And Americans played a key role in 80 percent of the most important medical advances of the past 30 years.

If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, the United States is the place you want to be. Tens of thousands of patients from around the world come to this country every year for treatment.

Critics of American health care often point out that other countries have higher life expectancies or lower infant mortality rates, but those two indicators are bad ways to measure the quality of a nation’s health-care system. In the United States, very low-birth-weight infants have a much greater chance of being brought to term with the latest medical technologies. Some of those low-birth-weight babies die soon after birth, which boosts our infant mortality rate, but in many other Western countries, those high-risk, low-birth-weight infants are not included when infant mortality is calculated.

Life expectancies are also affected by other factors like violent crime, poverty, obesity, tobacco, and drug use, and other issues unrelated to health care. When you compare the outcome for specific diseases like cancer or heart disease, the United States outperforms the rest of the world.

And one more myth:

The Claim: A government-run health-care system would expand access to care.

The Facts: The one common characteristic of all national health care systems is that they ration care. Sometimes they ration it by denying certain types of treatment altogether. More often, they ration indirectly, imposing cost constraints through budgets, waiting lines, or limited technology. One million Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals at any given time, and shortages force the NHS to cancel as many as 100,000 operations each year. Roughly 90,000 New Zealanders are facing similar waits. In Sweden, the wait for heart surgery can be as long as 25 weeks. In Canada more than 800,000 patients are currently on waiting lists for medical procedures.

If you liked this post, please tweet it on Twitter, share it on Facebook and e-mail it to your friends. Get the discussion started now before the election. The left is counting on us to be distracted with television, movies and other nonsense. We need to be persuading people now because this could be our last chance to turn away from socialism in this country.

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16 Responses

  1. Stephen Law says:

    More skewed right-wing propaganda as per usual. read this, then read the first comment. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reform

  2. straightright says:

    How about this for an anecdote:

    NHS failings that left babies with brain damage set to cost £235m

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/09/nhs-blunders-babies-brain-damage?intcmp=239

    or this:

    One in four hospitals breaking the law with poor care for elderly with some forgetting to give pain relief for days at a time

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2165766/One-hospitals-breaking-law-poor-care-elderly-forgetting-pain-relief-days-time.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Sounds like they get you early, and then they get you late…

  3. adzcliff says:

    One of the major issues currently affecting the NHS is health tourism. That being non-UK nationals bringing themselves and their families to the UK specifically to use the NHS. This is proving a major health burden, but I’m not sure we can necessarily judge these people. My question is why people would want to exploit the disordered system you describe above. If the NHS is so deleterious to your health, you’d think it’d be given a wide berth by these people – a bit like holidaying in Homs or Serte?

  4. adzcliff says:

    But these people clearly aren’t flocking to the system you’re describing above. It may be free, but I wouldn’t use the NHS you describe if you paid me?

    • That question can’t be answered in a vacuum. My understanding is that more or less all the countries of Europe have some form of socialized medicine, but that some of their systems are very different from each other. If, despite all of what Wintery Knight said about the UK’s NHS, some other country’s version of socialized medicine works even worse (which I can certainly believe), then it makes perfect sense for people to flock from the latter to the former.

      If we’re talking about “health tourists” not from other European countries but from the Third World, then the argument probably applies even more strongly.

  5. Citizen Ghost says:

    The Scott Atlas article, defending the mertis of health care in the U.S. is interesting, but very much beside the point. Nobody pushing for universal healthcare thinks the Europe or Canada is better than the U.S. with respect to those features of excellence. The justification for universal healthcare isn’t because healthcare in the U.S. sucks, it’s because of the rising costs and increasing lack of access – two points which Atlas acknowledges are major concerns.

    And the excerpt from the Cato Institute piece is also built largely on a strawman. Notice the set up:

    “The Claim: A government-run health-care system would expand access to care.”

    The author then goes on to refute that claim all the while hoping that we won’t notice the sleight of hand.

    Obamacare doesn’t create a “government run health-care system.” Not even close.. As Jonathan Oberlander, professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill explained: “The label ‘government takeover” has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’ ”

    He was putting in mildly. Factcheck.org called it a “whopper” and PolitiFact.com named this 2010’s “Lie of the Year.”

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2010/dec/16/lie-year-government-takeover-health-care/

    Anyone who thinks that government regulation is the same thing as “government takeover” doesn’t know the first thing about regulation much less the particulars of the health care systems in the U.S., Canada and Europe, respectively. Saying Obamacare is a “government takeover” of healthcare is a bit like saying that the State DMV has launched a “take-over” of your car.

    • We are just going to disagree, I think because the point of Obamacare is to lead us to a single payer system:

      http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/selling-single-payer-health-care-with-lies/

      Here’s a study of Politifact from the University of Minnesota:

      http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2011/02/selection_bias_politifact_rate.php

      They are biased to the left.

      I think that the Cato Institute health care policy experts know a little more about health care policy than you do, as well.

      • Citizen Ghost says:

        “I think that the Cato Institute health care policy experts know a little more about health care policy than you do, as well.”

        You might be surprised. But even if they did, do they know more than the professor and other sources that I cited? I doubt it. But why commit the fallacy of appealing to authority? This is about the FACTS.

        So one of my sources is biased to the left? Great. Your source, the Cato Institute is ideologically committed and biased to the Right.Which leaves us where exactly? Let’s dispense with rhetorical charges of “bias” and get to the facts. These are some the reason why characterizing Obamacare as “government takeover” is flat out wrong:

        1. Under the legislation the government does NOT own or control hospitals or other privately-run health care businesses. Doctors do not become government employees, as they are in Britain. So much for the comparisions to NHS.

        2. The law relies on the private sector to provide health insurance for consumers. The coverage mandate is intended to expand the number of people who buy private insurance policies.

        3. Employer-based coverage through private insurance companies will continue.

        4. The law does not contain a “public option” allowing the government to compete for business with private insurers.

        5. The law does not create a single-payer system, like in Canada, where medical payments are funded by a single insurance pool controlled by the government. (Even the video in your previous blog does nothing more than show that some Democrats WANT a single-payer system – as Richard Nixon did – How that can possibly result from THIS legislation is never explained by you or by the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute)

        So much for a government takeover.

        I think actually addressing these points would be a lot more persuasive than saying “Well your source is biased, therefore my biased source is correct.” Scratch the surface even a bit, and anyone can see that this nonsense of a “government takeover” is rhetorical talking point that has no basis in fact.

        Here’s the shame of it all. If Obamacare is such a disaster, why are idealogues compelled to mischaracterize it so blatantly. It’s precisly the sort of “politics as usual” that detracts from the honest discussion of the pros and cons of the actual legislation. That’s what I’d like to see – instead of the strawmen.

        • The Cato Institute is libertarian, not conservative. I think that I’ve said enough for my side. You get the last word.

          But just to pick one of your assertions and to refute it with the CBO:

          http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2012/03/14/million-covered-work-obamacare/

          Quote:

          A new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office states that by 2016, Obamacare will result in 4 million people fewer people getting health insurance coverage from their employers.

          The estimate is a vast increase from the CBO prediction just a year ago that 1 million would no longer obtain coverage from their employers. And it raises substantial questions about the veracity of one of Obama’s key pledges in selling the health care law – that everyone who wants to keep their current health insurance plan and doctor could do it.

          It’s not clear how many of the 4 million would be forced out as a result of employers dropping coverage. But it can be assumed that many will indeed lose their insurance and have to seek it elsewhere, since few people would seem likely to intentionally abandon coverage provided by an employer.

          And many employers have already indicated that they would rather drop coverage and incur fees from the government than continue to provide it.

          According to a survey published last summer by the Towers Watson consulting firm, almost one in ten medium to large size employers said they are likely or very likely to end health benefits for their workers.

          A few more stories:

          http://www.marketwatch.com/story/firms-halting-coverage-as-reform-starts-survey-2011-06-06

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/health/policy/01insure.html?_r=3

          http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48299.html

          This is their plan. Single-payer health care. It doesn’t matter what they say, it matters what the consequences are for their policies.

    • I’ll avoid getting into the argument you two are having (or have had) and add only that Citizen Ghost began by saying, “The justification for universal healthcare isn’t because healthcare in the U.S. sucks . . . .” This is not true. One of the most common arguments I heard from liberals in the debate over whether to pass Obamacare a few years ago (and, to a lesser extent, I still hear from them today) is that the United States “spends” more on health care per capita than any other country in the world (such “spending” represents an aggregation of millions of individual citizens making free choices about how much to spend; it’s not some national budget item that we can talk about increasing or decreasing) but ranks 37th in the world in according to a certain study (which, they always fail to mention, was studying not only quality of health care but also things like inequality), or alternatively that we rank wherever in terms specifically of infant mortality (worthless because different countries count it very differently, and populations vary greatly in their congenital predisposition to it).

      In other words, in short, no, people were arguing that America’s health-care system is terrible and/or worse than those of most other First World countries.

  6. “Cato Institute: ObamaCare’s Medicaid Mandate Imposes Staggering Costs on States”

    Is this item now out of date? I mean, didn’t the Supreme Court decide that the states will have more of a choice about whether to participate in the vast expansion of Medicaid?

  7. […] Foundation goes into more depth about particular provisions of the law.  Wintery Knight has another list of problems with it with links to further explanation. Share this:EmailMorePrintDiggLike […]

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