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We're No. 37-in health care that is

Health Care 2009

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#1 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:25 AM



I say we start calling French Health Care Freedom Heath Care.

Edited by SparkyCola, 15 September 2009 - 06:30 PM.
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#2 Palisades

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:43 AM

^ Do you seriously believe that Columbia and Saudi Arabia have better health care than the U.S.? No? Good. Now, let's look at some flaws in the WHO study:

http://www.realclear..._on_whos_h.html

Quote

But there's less to these studies than meets the eye. They measure something other than quality of medical care. So saying that the U.S. finished behind those other countries is misleading.

First let's acknowledge that the U.S. medical system has serious problems. But the problems stem from departures from free-market principles. The system is riddled with tax manipulation, costly insurance mandates and bureaucratic interference. Most important, six out of seven health-care dollars are spent by third parties, which means that most consumers exercise no cost-consciousness. As Milton Friedman always pointed out, no one spends other people's money as carefully as he spends his own.

Even with all that, it strains credulity to hear that the U.S. ranks far from the top. Sick people come to the United States for treatment. When was the last time you heard of someone leaving this country to get medical care? The last famous case I can remember is Rock Hudson, who went to France in the 1980s to seek treatment for AIDS.

So what's wrong with the WHO and Commonwealth Fund studies? Let me count the ways.

The WHO judged a country's quality of health on life expectancy. But that's a lousy measure of a health-care system. Many things that cause premature death have nothing do with medical care. We have far more fatal transportation accidents than other countries. That's not a health-care problem.

Similarly, our homicide rate is 10 times higher than in the U.K., eight times higher than in France, and five times greater than in Canada.

When you adjust for these "fatal injury" rates, U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation.

Diet and lack of exercise also bring down average life expectancy.

Another reason the U.S. didn't score high in the WHO rankings is that we are less socialistic than other nations. What has that got to do with the quality of health care? For the authors of the study, it's crucial. The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how "fairly" health care of any quality is "distributed." The problem here is obvious. By that criterion, a country with high-quality care overall but "unequal distribution" would rank below a country with lower quality care but equal distribution.

It's when this so-called "fairness," a highly subjective standard, is factored in that the U.S. scores go south.

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#3 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:58 AM

Quote

By that criterion, a country with high-quality care overall but "unequal distribution" would rank below a country with lower quality care but equal distribution.

Who cares how great a doctor is if so many people don't have access to that doctor?  It starts with ACCESS.  It's too bad that to so many people that idea automatically raises the evil spectre of socialism.  Do I think we also have problems with quality?  Yes,  but right now my biggest concern is access.
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#4 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:05 PM

BTW, just in case anyone's interested in looking beyond realclearpolitics' spin, here's a link to the actual report.

http://www.who.int/w...08/whr08_en.pdf

I think one might find that the claim that mortality rate was used as a measure of health care quality to be...simplistic at best.
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#5 Balderdash

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:31 PM

Quote

Even with all that, it strains credulity to hear that the U.S. ranks far from the top. Sick people come to the United States for treatment.

Rich sick people.  :sarcasm:

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#6 maryavatar

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:32 PM

I have to point out that even the US does not have enough murders to make any impact on the mortality rate.  Even combining traffic accidents with murder would have a minimal impact.  Plus, if you take out traffic accidents, you would have to take out traffic accidents for all the countries measured, and the US has one of the lowest speed limits and the greatest number of safety regulations for cars in the world.
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#7 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:31 PM

quote:
"We're No. 37-in health care"

:insanosmile:   No were not.  
Although it's remarkable to me how the organized, ratified, statisticized grade-A silly tends to stay floating on the top where the gulls pick on it endlessly.
But I'm rethinking the value of drilling to kingdom come, and installing a King to distribute free health care from the spoils.  Drill, baby drill!

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#8 Themis

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:58 PM

View PostPalisade, on Sep 14 2009, 04:43 PM, said:

Many things that cause premature death have nothing do with medical care. We have far more fatal transportation accidents than other countries. That's not a health-care problem.

Similarly, our homicide rate is 10 times higher than in the U.K., eight times higher than in France, and five times greater than in Canada.


Are we supposed to be proud of that????  

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Mary Avatar:  Plus, if you take out traffic accidents, you would have to take out traffic accidents for all the countries measured, and the US has one of the lowest speed limits and the greatest number of safety regulations for cars in the world.

We must also have more reckless drivers.  Just from what I've heard, it's harder to get a driver's license in the UK, there's a more difficult test and the penalties are higher.

I don't have the time or inclination to find stats, but there are a number of US citizens who go overseas for surgeries because it's so much cheaper, even considering travel costs.  

And What Lil Said - the problem is access.
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#9 Shalamar

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 02:44 PM

There is a problem - an integral limit - with access - and it is a Very real one, that I am not sure any of you have thought about.

We have a lot of great doctors, and an even larger amount of good and very good ones - but there is a limit on access - yep- because a doctor can only see and treat so many patients in an hour, a day, a week etc. So yes there is a limit to how many people can see any given doctor.

And yes many americans are going out of country to get health care - those who can afford it - and not I'm not talking about their insurance paying for it - most won't as what americans are going overseas for are for electives that their insurance won't cover but the overseas cost is far cheaper than what it would cost here in America.

Not necessary surgery but patient choice / elective surgery is booming.
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#10 Themis

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:02 PM

No time for links, but in either Newsweek or the Tenneseean recently there was an article on some insurance companies paying for patients to get treatment overseas.  May have been elective, like joint replacement or somesuch.

We are seeing a big growth in clinics with nurse practitioners taking care of non-urgent care which is taking some burden off doctors for people without chronic health problems to give them a place to go for basic colds, flu, things that aren't life threatening.  Also urgent care clinics - my insurance treats the doctors there as specialists so it's a $50 co-pay.  It's where I go for bronchitis, burns, etc.  If you're barely making ends meet and don't have insurance, the full charge at the urgent care clinic may be prohibitive.  But when Lil talked about access she was referring to the non-insured not having the funds to give them access to doctors, not to the limited time of the doctors.  Even with insurance, a triage system is at work for appointments - my internist wants me to see two specialists but since it wasn't deemed urgent, my appointment dates were three months from the referral dates.
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#11 NeuralClone

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:21 PM

View PostNittany Lioness, on Sep 14 2009, 02:31 PM, said:

quote:
"We're No. 37-in health care"

:insanosmile:   No were not.
Care to back that up?
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#12 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:42 PM

View PostThemis, on Sep 14 2009, 02:02 PM, said:

But when Lil talked about access she was referring to the non-insured not having the funds to give them access to doctors, not to the limited time of the doctors.

I thought that would have been obvious (as it was to you and some others in this thread).  The controversy is the ability to obtain coverage.
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#13 Omega

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 05:26 PM

There are two interrelated issues: access to health insurance, and cost of actual health care.  High cost of health care causes people to be unable to afford health insurance.  Lack of access can also cause higher costs.  However, it's difficult to argue that lack of access drives costs up to the same degree that high costs cause lack of access.  Cost is the primary driver, and also the easiest to fix.  The present emphasis on access, to the near exclusion of lowering cost, is... misplaced.

#14 Flechette

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 05:48 PM

View PostPalisade, on Sep 14 2009, 12:43 PM, said:

^ Do you seriously believe that Columbia and Saudi Arabia have better health care than the U.S.? No? Good. Now, let's look at some flaws in the WHO study:

http://www.realclear..._on_whos_h.html

Quote

But there's less to these studies than meets the eye. They measure something other than quality of medical care. So saying that the U.S. finished behind those other countries is misleading.

.....
Even with all that, it strains credulity to hear that the U.S. ranks far from the top. Sick people come to the United States for treatment. When was the last time you heard of someone leaving this country to get medical care? The last famous case I can remember is Rock Hudson, who went to France in the 1980s to seek treatment for AIDS.

....


I haven't read either report but this part of the quote jumped out at me; simply because even I ,in my very limited skimming of headlines, have read several articles about medical tourism. It is becoming a recognized part of the travel industry...

http://www.washingto...7090701193.html

http://www.consumera..._vacations.html

http://www.fool.com/...e-solution.aspx

http://www.britannic...-auto-industry/

http://www.costarica.org/medical.htm  website for Costa Rica Medical Vacations


I'm not saying I think it's a good idea - I have no opinion really, but for an article to imply no one leaves the USA for medical treatment is  implying a falsehood  IMHO~

#15 Rhea

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 06:09 PM

I have to say that anybody who says the WHO ranked countries on the basis of mortality rates alone didn't read the report. There are a number of factors and that's just one.

If anybody bothered to follow and actually read the link Lil posted, it was to another WHO document that basically talks about how to deliver quality health care to patients in many different countries based primarily, IMO, on common sense (and yes, I read the whole report, which extensively references many other documents).

The U.S. is certainly one of the highest-spending countries in the world when it comes to medicine, but not necessarily in an intelligent way. The report talked about hospital/specialist based care as opposed to, say, a GP with other available medical resources used in a more wholistic way (and no, I'm not talking about the health food store ;) ).

Also, the WHO hasn't released one of the ranking studys since 2000.

OTOH, the US ranks second in total percentage of health spending vs. GDP (gross domestic product). And that doesn't mean that we get quality for all those bucks, either.

http://www.photius.c...00_to_2005.html

This table will give you a better idea on where the WHO used to get those rankings, and mortality wasn't the criterion - it's way more complicated.

http://www.photius.c...ance_ranks.html

Edited by Rhea, 14 September 2009 - 07:11 PM.

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#16 scherzo

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:48 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on Sep 14 2009, 01:05 PM, said:

BTW, just in case anyone's interested in looking beyond realclearpolitics' spin, here's a link to the actual report.

http://www.who.int/w...08/whr08_en.pdf

I think one might find that the claim that mortality rate was used as a measure of health care quality to be...simplistic at best.
There are several well documented fallacies in the WHO's very old study, and just examining their list of countries should tell you something's wildly off instantly. I addressed the problems on this very forum not too long ago, and frankly don't have the energy to go over this territory in detail again. Long story short; the WHO served up an irresistible nugget of anti-US healthcare ammunition for fools like Michael Moore to revel in, but they(like Moore himself)are full of crap. There is a pdf file at this link that will explain why, to the satisfaction of anyone not weirdly determined to believe we're a completely defective country.
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#17 Nonny

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:26 AM

View PostBad Wolf, on Sep 14 2009, 09:25 AM, said:



I say we start calling French Health Care Freedom Heath Care.
Mais oui.
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#18 Batrochides

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:32 PM

If access to the most basic--read primitive--health care that "fairly" distributed is the primary criterion for the WHO rating, then one would think that the medical care provided gratis to convicts in prison is the standard to be strived for.

Of course, everyone is a prisoner of some kind in Cuba--a place beloved by the progressive intelligensia and held up as a model for enlightened caregiving--it's only a matter of whether you have bars on your windows and a guard at the door.

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#19 Bad Wolf

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:34 PM

Convicts in prison have MORE access to reasonably priced medical care than I do.

Tell me what's wrong with that?  Tell me that the way things are don't need to change and DRASTICALLY.
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#20 Palisades

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:43 PM

^ You'll have another chance to vote for change in 2012. RomneyCare!!!

Nah, you'll vote for Obama; all the while saying how much you hate it.
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