American Elephants

Can We Insert a Few Facts Into the Health Care Debate, Please? by The Elephant's Child
August 2, 2009, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Health Care | Tags: , , ,

The claims of those attempting to promote a government takeover of the American Medical System grow ever more strident.  Now Nancy Pelosi and her crew are attempting to blame the insurance companies for whatever is wrong.  They’re very sure that “envy” is the key.  If they portray the CEOs of  health insurance companies as “greedy” people making too much money, then you will want to turn everything over to those clever folks in Congress.  “Class envy” is a favorite Democrat trick.  You will note that Congress itself never does anything wrong, and all congressmen are sincere and  honest people who read every word of each bill they vote on, and understand all of the economic consequences of what they have decided.

President Obama seems to believe that his charisma and mellow baritone will offer veracity to his increasingly false pronouncements.   At every “Town Hall Meeting”  he makes more claims that are contradicted by the very words of the bills before Congress.

Some things need improvement, but the American medical system remains the best in the world. Here are a few facts about our health care system from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.  Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway.  The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.  By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

  • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent).  Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

The whole list of 10 Surprising Facts by Scott Atlas is available at the National Center for Policy Analysis, with sources as well as a list of the 10 Most Important Recent Medical Innovations (with the country of origin).

Do read the whole thing.  It will open your eyes a bit and give you terrific arguments when you talk to  your congressmen while they’re home in August.

10 Comments so far
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About 50 million people without health care insurance, and, essentially, health care; $6,000, the low, rounded number of per capita cost.

That means we spend $300 billion annually for health care that doesn’t get delivered.

We waste $300 billion a year under the present system.

You want to defend the present system? Please refund the money to the American people now.

$300 billion wasted. Who gets it? How much of that do you get paid to keep the change from happening (if nothing, you’re getting screwed, too).

$300 billion wasted. What else could we do with that?

$300 billion wasted. How many cancers treated? How many heart attacks prevented? How many lives prolonged, for $300 billion?

$300 billion each year, down the rathole.

Let’s stop wasting that money first, and see where we go from there.


Comment by Ed Darrell

You make no sense. $6,000 cost? For what? There is no cost unless a person without health insurance goes to the doctor or the emergency room, runs up a $6,000 bill and doesn’t pay for it. That’s a whopper of an assumption.

John Dunn MD JD says in American Thinker that the cost of the uninsured is around 50 billion and they pay most of that.

I rely a lot on Keith Hennessey for numbers, and stand by everything I post. I always do my homework.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Your numbers on Canada do not seem correct?

Please let me know where you got these from?

Canada is leading in Cancer research and treatment.


Comment by Scott MacKay

The numbers here come from the National Center for Policy Analysis(NCPA). The link is in the post to the remainder of the list, and to the sources for each statistic. Just follow the link. I should probably add that Scott Atlas is a Physician.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

I prefer statistics on health care from organizations dedicated to getting the facts right first. NCPA — are you sure they’re not registered as a Republican PAC? — is an advocacy organization. Many of the things they advocate are good. But they do not study or accumulate health statistics on their own. Anything they cite should be fact-checked.

Are there any health organizations who make those claims? Surely NCPA offered footnotes.


Comment by Ed Darrell

I did less than two minutes research and found that the National Center for Policy Analysis is part funded by the Insurance Industry

It seems to me that this would make them in a direct conflict of interest.

It is in their best interest that the Obama Health bill fails.

Do you have any data that is put together by groups that have not been funded or have not been set up by groups that have an economic advantage if this Health bill fails?
So what if Scott Atlas is a Physician?


Comment by Scott MacKay

It may surprise you to know that “the Insurance Industry” are not bad guys. They have served most Americans very well for many years. 85 percent of Americans are very happy with their health insurance and want to keep it.

It is in our best interest that the Obama health plan fails.

Like all Progressives, the Obama crowd are interested in their goals, which have nothing to do with anyone’s health, and are not interested in the serious studies done about consequences. Massachusetts was supposed to be a model for future nationalized health insurance, and the Obama plan is very similar. Massachusetts care has already failed. They’ve dumped 30,000 legal immigrants off the plan. Federal taxpayers are propping them up to the tune of $1.5 billion a year, and it promises only to get worse. The CBO projects ObamaCare to cost over $1.4 trillion, and according to other serious estimates that doesn’t even begin to cover it.

We are happy to leave your Canadian health care to you, and hope you are happy with it. Please leave our debate to us.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is an American non-profit conservative think tank partially financed by the insurance industry. NCPA states that its goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.


Comment by Scott MacKay

85% of US Citizens do not have health care. Why would all of them be happy?
As well I don’t believe that they are happy with the system that the health system gets fat at their cost.
It is good to quote numbers but why not add in all of the effects of the proposed new system.
The new system will over time will cost less than what your current system will cost.
The difference is the current insurance providers will have to become cost competitive to the Government system.
People will not be denied for claims they are entitled to.
If you develop health problems you will be covered.
Additional all aspects of the system will need to increase service and reduce costs to compete.
Your Blog brought the Canadian aspect into your debate.
With the false and misleading statements about the Canadian system I have been openly posting on the public blog.
Is this not an open debate?


Comment by Scott MacKay

85 percent of Americans are very happy with their health insurance and want to keep it.

Only about 83% of Americans have health insurance. (72% by your figures of 250 million with insurance, there EC). The poll showed 85% of those with health insurance like it.

But 100% didn’t want to lose it.

So, it’s a grand mystery why any of them would oppose a plan to make insurance available to people without it as a first step toward cost control.

The poll didn’t ask about satisfaction with cost.


Comment by Ed Darrell

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