Friday, May 11, 2007

On Health Care

The US healthcare system is often lambasted by reporters, left-wing politicians and intelligentsia for its failings. These critics would have us believe that the socialized medicine in places like the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and hilariously, Cuba, are much better for patients.

However, the evidence keeps being uncooperative. Let's take cancer, for example. According to a recent report released by Sweden's Karolinska Institute, we can see that cancer patients in the US have a much better chance of being cured than anywhere in Western Europe. The actual quote from the UK's Daily Telegraph is as follows:
Dr Nils Wilking, a clinical oncologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said: "Our report highlights that in many countries new drugs are not reaching patients quickly enough and that this is having an adverse impact on patient survival. Where you live can determine whether you receive the best available treatment or not.

"To some extent this is determined by economic factors, but much of the variation between countries remains unexplained. In the US we have found that the survival of cancer patients is significantly related to the introduction of new oncology drugs." ...
The proportion of colorectal cancer patients with access to the drug Avastin was 10 times higher in the US than it was in Europe, with the UK having a lower uptake than the European average.

As a colorectal cancer survivor myself, I am very grateful I live in the United States. I have experienced socialized healthcare in Japan and personally, I prefer the US system. No, our healthcare system isn't perfect (though getting the government and the trial lawyers out and allowing the market to adjust price, quality would be a significant step in the right direction) . But the evidence shows time and again that socialization is not the answer. Too bad the media and half of our elected politicicans cannot or will not understand that simple fact. Hat tip to Captain Ed Morrissey.

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