Topic: "Best in the World?"(5)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said today that "Every developed nation in the world has a better healthcare system than does the United States of America." Frodo has known that for quite some time, and he has listened with great amusement to the demagogic rantings of Michelle Bachmann, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and the money-driven falsehoods of former (now lobbyist) US Rep. Tauzin (D-LA) and countless others whose personal net worth is their prime directive. Now that the issue of reform is legitimately where it belongs on the floors of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it is appropriate that a few comparative facts be on the record whenever, dear reader, there is an opportunity to separate information from mis-information.
Simply "google" the words "Frontline healthcare" and up comes a link to the Public Broadcasting presentation which, just a few nights ago, did a rudimentary comparative analysis of the systems utilized by other nations in healthcare administration. Surprisingly, Ms Bachmann and her clan of cave bears might find that now the truth is out there, for all who want to see. It will be interesting to see how long, or if, the words "best healthcare system in the world" and "United States of America" emanate from the oral cavities of those who have confused the words "oral" and "anal."
Utilizing complete data from 2007, FRONTLINE reported that "Healthcare," as a part of GDP (Gross domestic product) represented 6.3% in Taiwan, 8% in Japan, 8.3% in Great Britain, 10.7% in Germany, and 11.6% in Switzerland. In the United States of Bachmann, the figure was 15.3%, highest of them all. More of our national wealth goes into spending for healthcare than in all the others identified.
It is important to note several isolated factors from the FRONTLINE presentation which also come into play. With the exception of the United States of America, none of the national healthcare systems identified above were the major reason for the filing of a single case of personal bankruptcy. In the United States of America however, healthcare costs are the largest single contributing factor to the filing of personal bankruptcies than anything else.
Germany's system, which extends back to the time of Otto von Bismarck, is the oldest in comparison, and it centers around the competitive options available from more than 200 private providers. Great Britain's system is the only one of those compared that required that a "gatekeeper" family physician be an initial point-of-contact, thereby negating the presence of any bureaucrat standing between a patient and the doctor of their choice. Taiwan's system, enacted in 1995, after a comparative analysis of systems from around the world, specifically rejected the system utilized in the United States of America as "inhumane" in its application to the public served.
Only in Germany, and only for elective surgical treatment, was there any future scheduling utilized which could be even vaguely construed as "rationing." In fact, the "complete satisfaction" of the citizenry in the subject comparison with the sevices received was almost universal. It was noted also, that many foreigners, particularly from the United States of America, have been utilizing the Asian systems (Taiwan, Japan) for their own surgical treatment needs, as opposed to seeking service in the much more expensive United States of America. The doctors, after all, are mostly all trained in American schools, and, Frodo adds, they had better grades than their US counterparts.
So, given the overwhelming data, and it goes on and on, why haven't we used an international comparison in order to draw up our reformed system?
Because we are arrogant enough to believe that nobody else can come up with something better, Frodo contends. That is why the tack has been taken by those who would derail our national best interest for what is arguably their own personal reasons. It plays to the audience to say that "We are Number One," and to turn up the speakers. It is also true that in many of the comparative systems, prices are set for medical procedures on a centralized basis, so that a "Gall bladder operation" costs the same no matter who performs the service. That means the "competitor" who charges twice as much as another does not exist (and that sounds like "socialism" to a doctor who just lost a bunch of money in the stock market). Frodo is disappointed, on the other hand, in the fact that the advocates have not had enough confidence in us to take the argument to the Neanderthals on our own terms.
Imagine what a difference it would be if the United States of America adopted the Taiwanese model, and reduced the percentage of our GDP devoted to healthcare in half? We could probably pay our doctors more, and keep the brightest graduates here. It would certainly mean that no American would ever freeze, or starve, in the dark, simply because they couldn't pay for medical treatment. And our deficit, our Bush-ballooned deficit, would slip twixt the pages of the Book of Job.