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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Myths of American Health Care

For over four decades Canadians have been taught, in schools and the media, that one of things that makes us special is that health care is free. Well free if you don't mind paying elevated tax rates and waiting months for basic surgery. The second part of the Medicare Mythology is the portrayal of American health care as a Dickensian nightmare. This dovetails neatly with traditional Canadian anti-Americanism. America is an evil, overly individualistic place in which only the strong survive. Both Darwinian and Dickensian. This editorial provides a useful antidote. Despite the massive regulation and control of American health care, the remaining market element is still able to delivery world class health outcomes. H/T Paul Tuns.

• America has a health care crisis.

No, we don't. Forty-seven million people lack insurance. Of the remaining 85% of the population, or 258 million people, polls show high satisfaction with the current coverage. Indeed, a 2006 poll by ABC News, the Kaiser Family Foundation and USA Today found 89% of Americans were happy with their own health care.

As for the estimated 47 million not covered by health insurance, 20 million can afford to buy it, according to a study by former CBO Director June O'Neill. Most of the other 27 million are single and under 35, with as many as a third illegal aliens.

When it's all whittled down, as few as 12 million are unable to buy insurance — less than 4% of a population of 305 million. For this we need to nationalize 17% of our nation's $14 trillion economy and change the current care that 89% like?

Posted by Richard Anderson on July 25, 2009 | Permalink


You mean John Q. was just a tissue of tear-jerking lies? And that what comes out of Hollywood is mere entertainment and not necessarily true? Lord have mercy!

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-25 11:32:22 AM

I can't remember who said it but I liked it...

"If you think health care is expensive now,
wait till you see what its costs when it's free"

I think there's a modicum of truth to that.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-25 11:52:08 AM

What happens, in Canada, when someone fails to keep his healthcare account up to date? It used to happen in Alberta, when someone forgot to pay premiums, usually after losing/quitting a job. I doubt they'd get service from any doctor, or hospital.

Most young, healthy people never really think about healthcare coverage when moving province, to province. They get a big surprise, if they decide to make a doctor appointment.

I'd be interested to hear how many Canadians have no "insurance".

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-25 11:55:30 AM

When you talk about a crisis of health care, you're talking about the number of people who are being provided adequate treatment should they need it. This is completely different from satisfaction. Given the number of people in the US who can't read fine print, I suspect there is a divergence in these two statistics.

Posted by: spate | 2009-07-25 12:55:13 PM

Here's another myth" Americans die on the steps of hospitals.
Not so. That's why they have county hospitals.
Of course they will try and get some reimbursement...but people do get treated.

A Canadian friend of mine was in Phoenix with me framing houses about 15 years ago. He decided he could out drink some American cowboys in Scottsdale one night. He ended up hitting the floor in convulsions. Someone dialed 911 and we soon had everyone there. I tracked him down the next morning. He was in a private room in a MAYO clinic. Those bastards! Is that the best they could do for a Canadian? (sarc on)

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-25 1:11:07 PM

Why is the President not focusing on reducing health care cost. But instead is focused on health insurance.
The problem is healthcare costs, $3500 to stay in a hospital bed for one night, $100 for an Advil while you are there etc. If all he intends to do is put the insurers out of business how is that going to help anyone? Medicare is all but bankrupt!

This will all end in huge taxation for eveyone. As the government does not have to compete the same way as the private sector does, when they don't operate with their budgets they raise taxes or cut benefits..usually both.

John Goodman is the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis and he wrote this!!.

This is from the Joint Economic Committee minority report. Congress is considering legislation that would:

Raise the top two income tax brackets from 33% and 35% to statutory marginal rates of 36% and 39.6%;

Bring back the “hidden tax increases” of PEP (the Personal Exemption Phaseout) and Pease (the limitation on itemized deductions), which raise the effective marginal rates in the top two brackets to 41% for a family of four; and

Create a graduated surtax of 2%, 3% or 5.4% as part of “health reform,” which would raise the marginal tax rate for a family of four in the top two brackets to a range from 43.3% to 46.2%.
Additionally, income distributed as wages to a small business owner would be subject to an extra 2.9% Medicare tax.

All combined, small business owners could be subject to marginal tax rates as high as 49% and data from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that at least 55% of the revenue raised by increasing the top two rates would come from small business income.

This would not include an average 7% in state and local taxes. It would also not include the House health bill’s wage tax of up to 8% on businesses that do not offer health insurance or do not pay for enough of their employees’ coverage or the 2.5% income tax on individuals who have not purchased health insurance.

Posted by: medical insurance | 2009-07-25 3:06:32 PM

Market-based policies are more cost effective for the government - and therefore the taxpayers- than publicly funded healthcare. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, January 2005, if every uninsured individual was covered by a government program such as Medicaid, the cost to the federal and state governments is approximately $2000 each. If, however, low-income and modest-income Americans could purchase their own health insurance by utilizing a $1000 tax credit, the federal government would save 50% of that money. With over 45 million uninsured Americans, that savings would be substantial indeed.

Market-based insurance would not only be more affordable health coverage, it would also provide consumers with more choice. Because savings come from a tax credit, the option to choose insurance companies, policies and doctors is left to the person who purchases the insurance, not a group of politicians. Health insurance needs vary widely from one individual to the next and having the ability to choose the options that work best for an individual's circumstances is fundamental to quality health care.

Several different market-based solutions could help low and modest-income individuals and families find affordable health coverage. Tax credits, tax deductions, health savings accounts and high-risk pools are all market-based options to make affordable medical insurance a reality for uninsured people who are working, but cannot afford medical insurance.

Posted by: affordable medical insurance | 2009-07-25 3:08:05 PM

Universal Health care should be the focus for the conversation and, how to attain it. In Alberta we are shorted services by curtailed funding not because the funding is not there but because the Conservative Government here is pushing us relentlessly into an American system.

They increased the rates on Alberta Blue Cross "to make them competitive with the private sector" They are introducing legislation (according to the Alberta Gazette) to allow private insurance a larger play in Alberta Health.

To do this they short the funding which closes beds and services thereby creating an artifical crisis. Then, introduce the private US system as being the only way to save the heath care.

On the other hand we have raised a generation of people who are now having their own offspring and these people and their offspring have no idea at all how to care for themselves. They think the swinging door of a Physicians office is the only health care there is.

The US system is many times more expensive than the Canadian System and does not cover most of their needs.

Some public and personal education is needed.

Posted by: cyberclark | 2009-07-26 9:40:59 AM

If the American system is so good, how come no advanced country wants to copy it? The uninsured constitute the tip of the iceberg; anybody with a serious illness down there has to worry about being underinsured.

Posted by: Ardillaun | 2009-07-26 5:48:50 PM

No socialist country wants to copy the American system because they belief in a state stranglehold on key institutions.

In Canada, the state took over our education system and now we have the least educated kids in our history.

In Canada, the state took over our health care system and now we go to the US for health care.

The question is, "Where does a Canadian go for health care after the Obama parasites essentially shut down their system?"

Posted by: Dennis Young | 2009-07-26 7:45:36 PM

If the American system is so good, how come no advanced country wants to copy it? The uninsured constitute the tip of the iceberg; anybody with a serious illness down there has to worry about being underinsured.

Posted by: Ardillaun | 2009-07-26 5:48:50 PM

Like its any better here? people are dying on waiting lists to get on a different waiting list.

And jow come the "Leaders" of those other nations go to the US when they become ill?

I'll say it again...both systems suffer from a cancer called "Government Intervention".

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-26 9:21:31 PM

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