“Socialized Medicine”

Yep. The big scary words. Actually the issue isn’t healthcare but fears of the bringing of a “socialist” economy (does this exist anywhere?)
Before you guys, especially at SNN, start ranting, take a look at this. I’m sorry to disappoint you guys but each concrete argument put up keeps being demolished because there is no substance beyond moral objections. Let’s start with that old hoary chesnut, the cancer survival rates. Source here.
Try this factor in considering the EUROCARE study: “A third problem with interpreting the EUROCARE data comes when one considers how much data each country collects.
In some northern European countries – the UK and most of Scandinavia, for example – the entire population is covered by cancer registration. In other countries, especially those in central and southern Europe, coverage is less than 10 per cent.
Or this?
Large amounts of data are collected in the UK, so its national figures are highly representative of the population as a whole. In fact, UK registries alone contributed more than half of the total data to EUROCARE.
Or how about this? Private medical insurance in Britain covers very little.
Do we see why there might be a problem with the European data? There might also be a problem with comparing the EUROCARE study with US studies. Try this article as it is well sourced.
If we actually listen to some as sensible as Charles Krauthammer, we might discover that there are serious problems within US healthcare but nonetheless problems that the conservative movement could tackle. He links to this study (it’s big, so wait a little while to load).

So if people do not die by the graveyard full in comparison with US healthcare, what are the serious objections to “socialized medicine”? And by the way, in Britain there is no legal restriction on buying health insurance; the NHS will not refuse to treat you or charge you if you’re registered with them as well. But you’ll find that private health insurers do not cover serious risks to health – because they’re too expensive. They leave that to the NHS.

To be honest, I don’t like the current plans because they seem to be clumsy and overly expensive without tackling real problems that would make matters better for more Americans.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Socialized Medicine”

  1. but fears of the bringing of a “socialist” economy (does this exist anywhere?)

    It’s not on-off, it’s a question of degree. Most economies are socialized to at least some extent, some more than others. The ones that are highly socialized, it’s perfectly fair to call “socialist”. So the answer is yes.

    and the end of the bold, brave American society – the society that leaves the poorest to rot.

    The poorest in America have plasma TVs and iPods and eat more than much of Africa and South America. Indeed, the poorest in America are fat. So, not clear what you mean by “leaving them to rot”.

    I cannot fathom how the USA professes to be a Christian nation and treats its poor with such cavalier disdain.

    1. Since when does “the USA” “profess” to be a “Christian nation”?

    2. What “disdain” exactly?

    [Euro cancer survival] Do we see why there might be a problem with the European data?

    Ok, so it’s something that should be controlled for. Who are you saying didn’t control for it? And what is your counter-analysis?

    So if people do not die by the graveyard full in comparison with US healthcare, what are the serious objections to “socialized medicine”?

    Violation of private property, violation of freedom of contract, violation of freedom of employment, distortion of market and price discovery, perverse incentives and the tragedy of the commons, quality will suffer, public monies wasted, general harm to the economy…for starters.

    Do I read you correctly to be saying that unless socialized medicine kills people by the graveyard full, there can be no serious objection to it? That’s a pretty pathetic standard to which to hold socialized medicine. It won’t kill by the graveyard full, therefore it’s a good idea? Even I, an opponent, could come up with a better argument for it than that…

  2. wien1938 says:

    I apologise for the “left to rot” part. I’ve removed it as unsubstantiated, vague and perjorative.

    “Graveyard”, I was referring to the hysterical rhetoric coming out of sections of the US conserative movement. As for your litany of objections, please read through some of the sources I’ve linked.
    The point of the graveyard comment was a rhetorical way of dismissing the common voicing of the EUROCARE 4 report to attack European, especially British healthcare without careful consideration of the data used in that report.
    To my knowledge the source of the US-EU comparison is the Telegraph article run in 2007, yet I cannot find the source of that US data. We should not jump to conclusions about a US-EU comparison until data can be validated.

    I keep on being given a picture of my own country which bears no relation to my experience of living here. I have been through the National Health Service on and off for the years of my life on account of serious childhood illness. The treatment has always been excellent, the people kind and overall the institutions function in a spirit of the public good.

    Now, I am perfectly prepared to accept that many or the majority of US citizens do not want a nationalised or “aligned” healthcare system. That’s democracy. But I have consistently objected to defamation of country to support weak, emotional arguments.

    Still, welcome to my blog and feel free to come and argue – it’s always a pleasure!

  3. The point of the graveyard comment was a rhetorical way of dismissing the common voicing of the EUROCARE 4 report to attack European, especially British healthcare without careful consideration of the data used in that report.

    Ok. And what conclusion would careful, in your eyes, consideration of the data used in that report lead to? Seems like an open question to me – the answer could go either way

    I keep on being given a picture of my own country which bears no relation to my experience of living here.

    Fair enough. No one would like that. For the record it’s a matter of indifference to me how the UK arranges their health care market. No one would be more happy than I if other countries’ health care systems, good or bad, did not keep coming up in this internal US conversation.

    Now, I am perfectly prepared to accept that many or the majority of US citizens do not want a nationalised or “aligned” healthcare system.

    Out of curiosity, even if you weren’t “prepared to accept” that, what then? Why would a foreign observer take a position on this internal US debate at all? Puzzling

    Still, welcome to my blog and feel free to come and argue – it’s always a pleasure!

    thanks

    Best,

  4. wien1938 says:

    Thanks for the reply.

    I believe that a carefully considered conclusion on using the EUROCARE 4 data would be to state that the report cannot be used as the sole or substantive basis of general statements. There are too many questions over the data to warrant a conclusive analysis, before even considering the US-EU comparison.
    To sum up on this point, I don’t think a safe picture can be drawn from this data. The question remains open and largely unanswered.

    I think that comparisons of healthcare systems will be made in this debate. What is more important than the comparison is the visions of the kind of system that are being proposed.

    If I was not prepared to accept that, then I think that I would be very foolish. For my part, I am interested, but then that’s just my nature – I like politics and history. The two go together.
    What’s drawn me into this has been the inaccurate and misleading slanders against the NHS.

    I’ve said here and elsewhere that I have no time for the Obama/Democrat proposals. To my eyes, these proposals would create a vastly more expensive and inefficient healthcare system.
    At the moment, the most sensible proposals are the simplest and these stem from a small part of the US conservative movement. Tort Law reform would radically reduce healthcare costs and free the insurance firms from use of defensive medicine. That to my mind is the prime distortion of the healthcare market.
    Beyond this I would suggest a national set of requirements – companies to share data on patients, perhaps via compatible computer systems. But those are only suggestions and may not be practicable.

    Just realised the avatar is Charles Bronsen in Once Upon a Time in the West. Seriously cool.

  5. I think I tend to agree with you that one wouldn’t base “conclusions” on such a study. (I don’t know who was doing this?) But surely it can, along with other data and arguments, inform one’s views. What I still find puzzling is when you appear to simply dismiss the study and analysis as obviously wrong, without actually having done a correspondingly thorough counter-analysis of your own (or have you?). Not that I would expect you to in general (I certainly haven’t!). But I would expect you to before dismissing such a study. Because otherwise I, as an observer, am left with (1) a study and (2) you saying “that study is stupid!”.

    Which of (1) or (2) do you imagine to be more convincing?

    p.s. Yes – one of my favorite movies 🙂

  6. wien1938 says:

    I’m been looking at analyses of this report as well as other data from groups such as Cancer Research UK and the government Office for National Statistics (generally acknowledged as a reliable source of information).
    When I heard the statistics being bandied about, I looked for the source of this story, found the report and then looked for analysis of the report. Cancer Research UK (an excellent cancer charity) had a very good analysis of the EUROCARE reports. One of the aspects pointed out as necessary to understand the results presented within the study was that the data sources used were uneven.
    One cannot statistically accept the percentages claimed in the summary as definative, when these are based on comparisons of datasets. Given that over half the datasets came from the UK (given our universal registration) and that Mediterranean countries have registrations as low as ten percent of population, these cannot compare because the low the percentage datasets sample a much smaller and wealthier section of their populations.
    This could be compared US and French military losses in 2007 and concluding that the US military was less efficient. Such a conclusion takes no account of tempo of operations or the degree of opposition; the French army’s opertaion in Liberia was actually marked by gross military incompetance.
    So, I am arguing that within the bounds of those datasets, the information is only accurate to a limited degree and that to extrapolate conclusions such as “nationalised medicine has been proven to be less effective” is simply not true because the evidence is not there.
    The study is useful but not definative. It offers no relible conclusions because the datasets are too uneven to offer certainty within a conclusion.
    Feel free to look up the report and the concurrent analyses. Meryl Yourish and Kthy Sheidle (Five Feet of Fury) are two of those purporting to use this report to conclude that people in the UK are underserved by the NHS. Apart from this report, all they have are scare stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: