b) Americans have significantly better survival rates from cancer than Canadians.
No, they don’t.
I read the paper and it said, “mortality/incidence ratios for various cancers tend to be higher in Canada.” Nowhere does it say significantly higher. You’re twisting the paper’s message around, here.
The only place it uses the word “significantly” is when it says “a significantly higher percentage of U.S. women and men are screened for major forms of cancer”. I would say that there is a very large difference between being screened for cancer and actually dying from it.
g) Sixty percent of Western Europeans say their health systems need “urgent” reform.
h) More than 70 percent of Germans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and UK Adults (all countries in the survey except the Netherlands with “only” 58 percent) say their health systems need either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”
What does this have to do with our system needing or not needing reform?
An analogy of your statements:
The Commander and her neighbor both have broken down cars.
Her neighbor says, “My car is broken down and needs to be fixed”.
The Commander says, “My car is not broken down because my neighbor says his car needs to be fixed”.
i) Although much maligned by economists and targeted by policymakers, an overwhelming majority of America’s leading physicians themselves recently listed the computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations in improving patient care in the previous decade.
j) By any measure, the vast majority of all the innovations in health care in the world comes out of the US health-care system.
These two statements have even less to do with our health care system needing or not needing reform than the previous statement.
Most doctors like the CT and MRI. And most medical research breakthroughs happen here. So what?
What do those two things have to do with how long John Doe has to wait in the waiting room, how much he has to pay out of pocket, or if his doctor ordered unneccesary procedures?
I guess all those alleged health care “experts” on the television telling us that we have really bad health care and we need to change to something else is kinda bunk, huh? Considering that it seems the rest of the world is either trying to make their health-care systems as good as our or shelling out buku bucks to come to America for medical treatment, perhaps we should leave what we have alone.
As Dr. Fred Ettner (NW Community Hospital, Evanston, IL) has said numerous times:
If it is not broken, DO NOT FIX IT!
let me just add, not only should it not be fixed, but we definitely should not try to fix it by making it more like Canada and England/Europe! Not given this data and all the other data showing our system is currently better than their system!
You say our system needs no reform because:
A) Our system compares favorably to Canada’s(not every country, just Canada) with regard to cancer treatment, chronic diseases, waiting times, and screening tests.
B) Some(not all) of the countries in Europe(including Canada, New Zealand, and Australia but not the rest of the world) don’t like their own system.
C) Medical research in this country is good and doctors like it.
Since we are the richest country in the world, this is the question we should be answering to determine if our health care system needs reform:
Is our system the very best in the world in ALL categories? (I’ll accept being in the top 3)
If you can answer “yes” to this question, with proof, then our system doesn’t need reform. But, if you answered “no” then the next question should be:
If not, why not? And can we learn anything from the better systems?
And just so we are clear, you should make a distinction between the “quality” of care and the “cost+insured/not insured” portions of the health care systems because you seem to be lumping them together. The fact that 30+ million people, in this country, don’t have health insurance has nothing to do with whether or not cancer treatment is better here than elsewhere.
Is the increase in cost realistic?
For instance, if medical malpractice insurance went up 60% then you might justify increased costs to the patients to recover that money and maintain an equilibrium in doctor pay.
or, if companies developing drugs have new fees and certification costs that increase their costs, you would expect them to increase the costs of their medical products to make up for those increased costs.
That all depends on how much profit is realized in the increase in cost. You may end up paying for things like failed research in the costs of your medications but, don’t forget, the pharmaceutical companies are a special case. They are among the largest companies in the world and once they patent a drug, they are capable of charging any price they want until the patent runs out because they legally have no competition which seems almost anti-free market and ripe for abuse.
Compare the oil companies to the pharmaceutical companies and you may be surprised. Many people have complained that the oil companies have been milking the public, and deservingly so, because they have been. But nobody seems to care that the drug companies are worse.
Many of the oil companies are realizing profits of around 10% or their revenue. For example, Exxon Mobile had a 2008 revenue of almost $500 billion and a profit of about $45 billion. Now, compare that to, for example, Pfizer which had a 2007 revenue of $48 billion and a profit of $8 billion. That’s almost 17%. And many of the drug companies are pushing 20% profits on a regular basis.
Perhaps that means we need to make it harder to sue insurance companies that insure doctors and hospitals?
You might feel differently if you or someone you cared about went into the hospital to, say, have a bad kidney removed and they took out the good one by accident.
Or perhaps we need to reduce the fees and regulatory costs on drug manufacturers so they can lower their costs?
As I have said before, the drug companies are making ungodly amounts of profit and can easily afford to reduce their costs without hurting themselves financially. They just choose not to. In addition, despite the rigorous requirements imposed by the FDA, there are still drugs that make it into the public that end up being recalled for having unsuitable side effects.
In other words, perhaps the problems we perceive in the American method of Health Care (for lack of a better term) is not a problem with the health care itself, but with the ancillary costs of things related to health care?
This is one of the thought-provoking and insightful things you have ever said. Although, I think it is a combination of both.