Uncategorized

POLICY/INTERNATIONAL: More rubbish being talked about single payer and Canada by major newspaper columnist

I had hoped that when the Boston Globe gave Jeff Jacoby a chance to rant about Canada and single payer, and THCB was able to call bullshit, that I wouldn’t have to repeat myself quite so soon. But to no avail. The Chicago Tribune gives a columnist called Steve Chapman, who incredibly enough worked for the liberal  New Republic (although aside of that has a long list of writing for libertarian and conservative newspapers), a chance to spread way more disinformation.

It’s good to know that a serious newspaper can allow a leading columnist to write about Canadian health care using numbers about the length of Canadian waiting lists from hopelessly biased organizations like Fraser and Cato, but ignore the official statistics which indicate that Fraser is wrong on waiting lists by a factor of 4. And for that matter the average waiting lists quoted by Fraser of around 4 months for elective surgery aren’t that bad–yet somehow Chapman starts talking about two year waiting list because one orthopedic surgeon said so.

Chapman then goes on to cherry-pick different outcomes on cancer to show that American care is better. Of course he doesn’t bother looking at overall care in different countries. This article in Health Affairs did just that (and is one in a series). The result, as again commented on in THCB, is that overall there is no real advantage to being in America. We do worse on somethings and better on others, but the suggestion by the Canada bashers that we get what we pay for is well off-base. And we clearly pay a lot more than anyone else and the share of those costs borne directly by poorer Americans is much, much greater than that borne by poor Canadians (or poorer people in other nations).

And if you look at the Health Affairs study a little more carefully you come to the authors’ conclusions.  Remember this is a real academic peer reviewed study, not some rubbish that Fraser Institute made up to suit its political agenda.  Here are the conclusions:

Across multiple dimensions of care, the United States stands out for its relatively poor performance. With the exception of preventive measures, the U.S. primary care system ranked either last or significantly lower than the leaders on almost all dimensions of patient-centered care: access, coordination, and physician-patient experiences. These findings stand in stark contrast to U.S. spending rates that outstrip those of the rest of the world. The performance in other countries indicates that it is possible to do better.

There’s plenty wrong with Canadian health care–something I looked at in depth in my "Oh Canada" piece. I’m also pretty sure that it’s not a good model for America, whereas Germany, Holland, France or Japan might well be.  But I really wish that if right-wing know-nothing columnists are going to write about this subject, that they’d either learn something about it themselves, or try to abstain from feeding at the research trough of totally biased organizations like Cato and Fraser. I suspect though that I’ll be wishing in vain for a while, but shouldn’t the Chicago Tribune hold itself to a higher standard?

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , ,

15
Leave a Reply

15 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
SumarDuncan KinderEric NovackSmitty Werbenmanjensengadfly Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Sumar
Guest
Sumar

it says here http://www.moneysavingfreetips.com/401k-rollover-rules.html “Before the new law, investors could only transfer their retirement savings from one 403b plan to another 403b plan. However with the new law, the investors can transfer their funds from a 403b plan into a 401k plan, other 403b plans, 457 government plans, IRA or even profit-sharing plans with employers or other investors.”
does anyone know exactly how it works? where can i find its paperwork?

Sue
Guest
Sue

Don’t know about Canada, but in Mexico there is virtually no ability to sue for malpractice although illegal immigrants are pretty good at doing that once they cross the border into the U.S. Mexican law requires employers with 50 or more employees in a worksite to maintain a dispensary with a full-time nurse. Many companies also sign up for a “floating” doctor who visits every couple of weeks to provide immunizations, prescriptions, etc. to employees and their families to save them the wait at government facilities. Every worker gets government medical coverage through payroll taxes and some have other insurance… Read more »

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

I heard on Dr Novack’s radio show that the average malpractice claim in Arizona last year was $2.3 million. I wonder what the average malpractice claim was in Canada or Mexico?

Sue
Guest
Sue

In El Paso, the wait for a gastroentrologist can be as long as six months (and often requires a referral from the patient’s GP–not due to insurance but because the doctor wants to ensure that the visit is really needed because the schedules are so full) and for some pediatric specialties the closest Texas option is Dallas (note that El Paso is closer to LA than to Dallas). That’s with good insurance. I found one doctor who had less wait time, but he wanted patients to sign a document indicating they would pay any charges over the insurance company allowed… Read more »

Duncan Kinder
Guest

Whatever the waiting list situation may be in Canada, we should note that waiting lists also exist in Massachusetts:
http://www.takebackhealthcare.info/comments.php?id=24_0_1_0_C

Eric Novack
Guest

1. If the official government statistics on wait times were accurate and believable, it is highly unlikely that the very liberal Canadian Supreme Court would have essentially ruled that the current system violates people’s rights. 2. For the people in healthcare– nurses, technicians, manufacturers and doctors– their careers are “for profit” in the US AND Canada. 3. Remember that the US system is very far from free market– 50% of all healthcare dollars come from the government and most insurers tie their payments directly to the medicare fee schedule. 4. Much like Social Security reform– up front costs to transform… Read more »

Smitty Werbenmanjensen
Guest
Smitty Werbenmanjensen

Matthew, the New Republic is not a liberal publication. I don’t know if you were joking or not. Any publication that once had Michael Kelly as an editor is not liberal. Maybe it was once, but today it merely reflects the right-leaning dinner party centrism of Washington.

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

The media censors the health care news and won’t run stories against their major advertisers or aganst their basic agenda. The St Petersburg Times will run every story of Paul Krugman but not one supporting Republican Health Care reform of President Bush or Governor Jeb Bush. That’s why if you want real information from someone that is smarter than a newspaper reporter you must find an alternate source than newspapers. Let’s face it, if one of those goofy reporters got too sick to work they would lose their own employer provided coverage. I don’t think you can find a newspaper… Read more »

gadfly
Guest
gadfly

//401K you aren’t supposed to be touching it until retirement// As a person in her 30s who is currently living on the dregs of her IRA (part 401k rollover), I think personal retirement savings is a bad idea. I can’t touch whatever has been collected by social security, and if I go into bankruptcy, that social security money will still be there. People have to use whatever resources they have to survive at the moment, and I’m sure society would prefer that people use up all savings before they start standing on the corner and asking for handouts. Newt Gingrich… Read more »

gadfly
Guest
gadfly

I’ve totally lost faith in the idea of media standards. In my own recent experiences, I’ve learned that TV reporters are allowed to creatively cut and stitch their material to get a story that will sell. Even journalists from what I had previously regarded as respectable newspapers won’t bother to correct errors. Even the good reporters who check their facts and get a broad range of comments often think the real story is “is too detailed for our readers”, and they will promote the story that will come across in a soundbyte, right or wrong. I’ve never been naive about… Read more »

Sue
Guest
Sue

Great point, Rick. Keep in mind that with a 401K you aren’t supposed to be touching it until retirement and look at how poor the numbers are with no expense driver. With an HSA, you use that balance to cover medical expenses incurred as a result of having a high deductible plan. President Bush will have a six figure HSA because he has no out-of-pocket healthcare expense thanks to the great coverage we taxpayers provide for him and all the rest of our elected officials, but Americans actually depending on HSAs for medical coverage will be hitting the bank if… Read more »

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Rick, The early MSAs already have $40,000 balances. Now people can deposit more. We talked to a 24 year old single employee today that has $600 HSA balance after just 3 months. What do you expect families to have after 8 years? Sure he can take money out of his HSA and buy beer but he will have to pay taxes on the money plus pay a 10% penalty. People hate taxes so they just let it keep growing and growing and growing. I will admit that the 10% penalty is cheaper than the 15.3% combined FICA tax the Feds… Read more »

Rick
Guest
Rick

The idea of six-figure HSA balances is fantasy. The average 401(k) at maturity has just $42,000 in it. 401(k)s were supposed to see us through retirement, so if people haven’t saved for that, why would they save twice as much for healthcare? As the old saying goes, “There’s no there, there.”

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

You’re right Matthew, when reporters quote President Bush’s advisor, Dr. Goodman, they better get additional information. I remember in the 2000 Presidential race Al Gore was talking to the National Newspaper Editors’ Association and was complaining that Governor Bush’s $3,000 refundable tax credit wasn’t enough, and they should investigate because he said health insurance costs $6,000 a year per family. Doctor Goodman said, “Health insurance costs $4,000 per family.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Way back then, a 30 year old couple and 2 children could get MSA health insurance for $1,000 a year in Des Moines. I thought boy,… Read more »

Sue
Guest
Sue

It will be interesting to see what our cancer survival rates look like in the next 10 years with the number of un- and underinsured rising. Early diagnosis doesn’t happen if you are avoiding doctors because you don’t have adequate insurance and while the poor aren’t concerned about hitting the ER for care, most middle class underinsured will simply avoid incurring cost because they recognize that they will have to pay the bills. Particularly for the middle class that translates to higher likelihood of serious, unaddressed health problems. For some classes of specialists in our area, even with good insurance… Read more »