Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A "boiling pit of sewage and death and destruction."


I was going to respond to this comment by reactive target Markadelphia a couple of days ago, but I discovered I didn't need to. John Stossell, one of the few in the legacy media who doesn't qualify as a "gerbilist" already has:
"Better" Health Care?

by John Stossell
President Obama says government will make health care cheaper and better. But there's no free lunch.
In England, health care is "free" -- as long as you don't mind waiting. People wait so long for dentist appointments that some pull their own teeth. At any one time, half a million people are waiting to get into a British hospital. A British paper reports that one hospital tried to save money by not changing bedsheets. Instead of washing sheets, the staff was encouraged to just turn them over.
Wow. That sounds . . . sterile. Then there was the recent case of a British patient in hospital for an abscess on her neck who took it upon herself to clean the ward she was in because it was filthy.
Obama insists he is not "trying to bring about government-run healthcare".
"But government management does the same thing," says Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute. "To reduce costs they'll have to ration -- deny -- care."
Like the New Zealand hospital for all intents and purposes told a Samoan family that they should let their deformed newborn daughter die, and denied her care. The government went so far as to deny her a visa to travel to where she could get care. That child eventually did get to the U.S. for treatment, and has now returned home, still alive.

There's a difference between having the government insist on denying care, and the family making that decision. That difference is who's paying.
"People line up for care, some of them die. That's what happens," says Canadian doctor David Gratzer, author of "The Cure". He liked Canada's government health care until he started treating patients.
"The more time I spent in the Canadian system, the more I came across people waiting for radiation therapy, waiting for the knee replacement so they could finally walk up to the second floor of their house." "You want to see your neurologist because of your stress headache? No problem! Just wait six months. You want an MRI? No problem! Free as the air! Just wait six months."
As others have noted, in 2005 (the most recent data I've been able to find) Canada had 5.5 MRI scanners per million population, and 11.3 CAT scan machines per million. The U.S. had at that time 27 and 32 per million population, respectively. Canada's are still backed up for months. Here you can get an elective "heart-saver" CT scan for about $100, usually within a couple of days of calling to make the appointment.

Greedy bastards.

These machines are quite expensive, but you'll note that our hospitals generally have them. Canada's, not so much.
Polls show most Canadians like their free health care, but most people aren't sick when the poll-taker calls. Canadian doctors told us the system is cracking. One complained that he can't get heart-attack victims into the ICU.
In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it's much worse in Canada. If you're sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.
"We can't send these patients to other hospitals. Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. "Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are."
In the UK they decided to DO SOMETHING about long ER waits - they enacted a rule mandating that patients be seen within four hours of entering the ER.

Essentially, the government rejected our reality and substituted its own.

One response? Keep patients waiting in ambulances outside the ER, so the clock doesn't start. Another? Rush patients through the ER in order to meet the standard.

At least one doctor has said "Some patients may have died as a result. I don't think there's any question about that."Australia is having problems with long ER waits as well. They followed the Mother Country's lead.
More than a million and a half Canadians say they can't find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, "20/20" videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.
Ronald Reagan warned in 1961 what socialized medicine would lead to:
First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go some place else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.
How long before the Canadian government decides that this will be a good idea?
Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery "elective."
"The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live," she said.
It's true that America's partly profit-driven, partly bureaucratic system is expensive, and sometimes wasteful, but the pursuit of profit reduces waste and costs and gives the world the improvements in medicine that ease pain and save lives.
"[America] is the country of medical innovation. This is where people come when they need treatment," Dr. Gratzer says.
"Literally we're surrounded by medical miracles. Death by cardiovascular disease has dropped by two-thirds in the last 50 years. You've got to pay a price for that type of advancement."
Canada and England don't pay the price because they freeload off American innovation. If America adopted their systems, we could worry less about paying for health care, but we'd get 2009-level care -- forever. Government monopolies don't innovate. Profit seekers do.
We saw this in Canada, where we did find one area of medicine that offers easy access to cutting-edge technology -- CT scan, endoscopy, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy, etc. It was open 24/7. Patients didn't have to wait.
But you have to bark or meow to get that kind of treatment. Animal care is the one area of medicine that hasn't been taken over by the government. Dogs can get a CT scan in one day. For people, the waiting list is a month.
So not quite a "boiling pit of sewage and death and destruction," but there's definitely some death there, some sewage, and I'm sure some destruction. And Fido and Fluffy get more prompt, more complete care than their human masters - and the only difference is who pays, and who makes the care decisions. Governments making decisions about who should live and who shouldn't, rather than the patients or their families, because government is paying the bills - with the money they extort from those patients and their families, unless those patients and their families don't actually, you know, pay taxes.

And innovation? Forget it. Directors Czars of Government programs aren't interested in risk-taking.

UPDATE: Irons in the Fire links to this story you ought to read: Chickenpox Boy Died After Hospital Release

Here's a taste:
Fabio Alves-Nunes suffered multiple organ failure after a severe reaction to the illness.

His death was the result of a series of "significant failings" by East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, an independent report said.
(My emphasis.) Here's the kicker, a photo of the boy on the day the hospital initially RELEASED HIM:



Read the whole thing. Then tell me you don't want to kill someone.

Is that enough "sewage and death and destruction" for you?

Here are some more "associated stories":

'Whistleblowers Ignored By NHS Managers'

'Lives At Risk Due To NHS Target Culture'

'Hospital Equipment Cleaned In Bathrooms'

And, of course:

'Shocking' £350m NHS Consultancy Bill Slammed'

The key graph from that one:
Some £273m of the money spent was not related to patient care, said RCN chief executive Peter Carter.

He added that was the equivalent of 330 fully-staffed 28-bed medical wards, 9,160 experienced staff nurses or 267,647 bed days in an intensive baby care unit.
(My emphasis again.) Hey, it's not like it's real money or something . . .

UPDATE:  The original JSKit/Echo comment thread is available here, thanks to John Hardin.

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