American Elephants


Americans don’t want “universal health care.” by The Elephant's Child

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans oppose a single-payer national health care system overseen by the federal government according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.  Only thirty percent (30%) favor a government-run health plan, and 19% are undecided.

Democrats favor such a plan by 45% to 30%.  Seventy-four percent of Republicans oppose a plan run by the government.  Married voters by double digits are more opposed to a government plan than unmarrieds.

A majority of American voters (58%) oppose any kind of government-controlled health plan if it means they have to change their own insurance coverage.

These are encouraging figures.  Democrats have taken the position that Americans really want “universal health care.” You will notice the more careful phrasing.  No one says “socialized medicine” though that is in fact what they are proposing.  And why are they proposing it? Because the cost of health care is too high for many states and corporations.

And if current health care costs too much, how are those costs to be reduced?  They talk about greater computerization of medical records.  A Rand study suggests significant savings, but not for 15 years.  Other studies do not see significant savings. Proponents insist that if we just turn our health care problem over to the government, it will be much more efficient and much less expensive.  If you have ever seen a massive government program that delivers on that kind of promise, please comment.

The only way that government can offer less expensive health care is through rationing. Ration the treatments that people may receive. National Health Insurance in Britain does not allow some of the more expensive drugs for Alzheimers or Macular Degeneration.  Sorry, costs too much.   Expensive cancer treatments, no, sorry.   Hospitals get less money, and cleanliness suffers.  Fewer top students choose to go into medicine, and fewer students choose to go into nursing.  Wait times to see a physician or a specialist increase from days to months. Fewer of those big expensive diagnostic machines are purchased.  It is inevitable.  This is the result in countries that have adopted some form of socialized medicine.

Some countries have a two tier system, one for ordinary folks and a better one for those who can pay.  British patients who can afford it go to India for surgery in India’s upper tier health care.

American patients who are diagnosed with cancer have a far better survival rate than patients in Europe.  The American five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 99 percent, the European average is 78 percent.  American women have a 63 percent chance of living at least five years after a cancer diagnosis compared with 56 percent for European women.

If Congress determines to pass some form of health care plan, we’d better make very, very sure that members of Congress have exactly the same plan that we do.




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