From the UK:

I never for a moment thought that a life could be decided by something as arbitrary as one’s address.

The often-maligned US health care system is by no means a free market for health care services; rather, it is more of a hybrid public/private system. It’s imperfect and in need of reform, to be sure. But heaven help us if that reform takes the form of a governmental takeover of the entire system. How such a “reform” would improve our flawed system is beyond me.

  • Clare Krishan

    And may I (a legal alien) add my “waste of moral-hazard” story to counteract the Acton propaganda?
    I was hospitalized recently as a static asthmatic. Upon discharge I asked why I could not take the drugs prescribed home with me. I was horrified to learn that national hospital administration policies mandated the destruction of all materials used in treatment. Consider that I had taken only two of the 60 doses from my Advair diskus (I use “MY” advisedly, I paid insurance for my treatment, I own it) as I came off the IV steroids and oxygen used to treat me in ICU. An Advair diskus costs $200:
    http://www.pricescan.com/health/items/item194706.asp
    (but not in Canada, nor in the UK)

    Multiply that $200 for every patient being treated for breathing difficulties and you have a mighty big bill… for dumping the drug in the trash! Meanwhile I have to pay AGAIN for the drug when I get home…

    The scandal of American Healthcare will not be alleviated by scaring your readers with ficticious bogeymen from abroad. When the costs become transparent enough for the consumer to make his own subjective marginal price decisions, then we can talk. Until then its all a tyranny of relativism. Meanwhile citizens get to elect based on our preferences for which ‘party of utilitarians’ serves our families and loved ones needs best…

  • Marc Vander Maas

    You know, it’s odd. I don’t recall saying at any point that the US health care system is a shining model of medical care perfection. And I’m inclined to agree with you that the practice you mention is ridiculous and wasteful.

    I also agree that making the costs of health care more transparent and giving consumers more choices in how they obtain services (aka moving toward more free markets in the health care arena) are the best way to bring down costs while maintaining the high standards of care that we all want.

    In the meantime, however, it must be acknowledged that there is a significant percentage of the population here in the US who seem to think that having the government take over the health care sector is the way to go, as evidenced by, well, the entire democrat party. As such, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to point out stories that show the reality of socialized health care, in the hope that perhaps a few more people will be disabused of the ridiculous notion that the government can solve all our health care problems.

  • Bob

    nLack of transparency is the bane of both the US system and the socialized systems.

    Users will use as much as they can get if there is no financial consequence. This includes frivolous use. A colleague just relayed that she, her husband and her child all just made visits to the doctor for colds. Something as simple as “take two aspirin, drink plenty of fluids and get some rest” required 3×1 doctor visits because…??? Because it was perceived as free or so little cost (copays) it was trivial.

    We don’t need a first dollar system. We need a system that covers catastrophic needs possibly married with a voucher system for less than critical care needs for those that lack the financial resources.

    Universal healthcare is just a bad idea. It masks true cost, empowers bureaucrats and makes healthcare professionals “wage slaves”, in the true sense of the term, to the government.

  • sedonaman

    Mr. Vander Maas:

    I recently received a letter from my doctor saying he is going on the MDVIP [http://www.mdvip.com/NewCorpWebSite/index.aspx] system. This allows him ostensibly to spend more time with his patients because his practice is limited to 600 patients instead of his current 3,000. In order to stay a patient, I would have to pay $1,500 per year for myself and $1,500 for my wife; this is only a retainer fee and would be in addition to the cost of actual services. By googling “mdvip”, I was also able to find out that his consultant company [linked above] gets $500 of the retainer fee. Why a doctor needs a consultant to limit his practice is not explained [or I missed it].

    It seems to me that by going this route, doctors are reducing the availability of health services at a time when there is already a shortage, and that they would be shooting themselves in the foot by doing this because it will put even more pressure on the government to socialize medicine.

    Your thoughts?