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Richard Nishman MD: Nationalized health care no panacea

Richard Nishman MD
Frisco

I have read the follow up comments about nationalized health care with interest. Ms. Westwood the “Brit” describes excellent care provided to her family, and mentions that it was “free.” She doesn’t mention significantly higher marginal tax bracket she paid in England, the 2-4$ per gallon gas tax, and the national sales tax. Her health care was not free, and I most likely her additional tax burden met or exceeded what the cost of health insurance would have been. She mentions that two members of her family broke their hips, and “got a new hip.” Well, they did not get elective total hip replacements as one would get in this country for degenerative joint disease or arthritis, they had a hip fracture repair, as any elderly in this country with a fractured hip would receive.

Emergency care is not really an issue in either system. Emergency care is taken care of in both systems. The not-so-emergent care, such as total knee replacement, dialysis, chemotherapy, MRI scans, bypass surgery are the issues. This care is RATIONED in the nationalized systems. Ms. Westwood mentions that you can bypass the system in England and get private care. Problem is, the private care is not affordable. In Canada such private care is essentially illegal. They let people die, of potentially treatable diseases, because it saves money.

Ms. St. Pierre makes an even more incredible assertion “Why should health care be a profit-making industry – there is no product yielded.” Well if that were the case, then I guess there is absolutely nothing to complain about, one would never visit a physician or hospital to receive care, as according to Ms. St. Pierre there is no value in that.

Let’s get real, and honest. Health care is very important to most people. Health care is also very expensive, as the amount of health care provided to any one person can be essentially unlimited. The hip implant for a total hip replacement can cost up to $10,000 – that’s just the part, not including labor.

It is surprising to me that many people have no complaints about making a monthly car payment that would equal health insurance payment, but somehow believe that their health should not have any cost associated with it.

Yes the “health insurance” model has issues, but I will go out on a limb and say that nationalized health care would not meet the expectations of most Americans (kind of like most Americans would not be happy driving around on scooters). It would probably be better for most people to have health savings accounts, and catastrophic coverage.

It is pretty clear that the U.S. government has a very bad track record at managing things – Social Security and Medicare are essentially bankrupt. The Veterans Administration health care is pretty poor. The president and members of Congress have private health insurance.

It is unfortunate that we are in the midst of a financial crisis, but that should not be a reason to hand over our health to the government.


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