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  • 10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care

    Via the National Center for Policy Analysis, Hoover Institution senior fellow Scott Atlas identifies 10 things you probably did not know about health care:

    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.”

    Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long – sometimes more than a year – to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

    Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

    Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

    Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K. Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade. The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.

    Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country. Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    113 Responses to 10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care

    1. Rochelle,Colorado says:

      Thank You! This is good information we need to spread around. I work in the health care field. I fear the proposed changes will,"throw out the baby with the bath water". Our medical system has been the most responsive to patients needs. For the past 30 years, cancer patients have been given the option to trial experimental chemotherapy. As a result, we have had better responses to care and new ideas how to do things better. Speaking for myself and my experience, I must say that most of health care workers, the doctors, nurses, lab and X ray technicians,dietitians, and many others, are not in it for the money. We care for those who we treat. We want the best for them. We want to provide the most excellent kind of care.For those who have been focused on their profession and not on political theory, they think that the promises of a single payer system wound provide more for all patients. it is difficult to convince them. This article will be a great start toward the discussion.

      • appaled says:

        This is ridiculous, where are your sources??
        Just because people may have access to the proper screening that by no means indicates that they can afford it!! Plus 30% of you are obese!!

    2. Amy, Milwaukee says:

      Surprise, surprise. Our healthcare system trumps the failings of the UK and Canada.

      WHY should we embrace their systems of healthcare, again?

      • duncan honig says:

        I believe we need a 'best of both world's ' solution. It is unconscionable for people to be in fear ruin which could befall anyone with a copay or no Insurance. We socialize the cost of roads and bridges because we cannot individualize the cost, yet how much more critical is our health. We do not want to lose the benefits of competition in terms of efficiency and cost containment, but profit should not trump human need. The abandoned ethic of social responsibility needs to be restored. We must find a way to finance and manage a universal healthcare system that includes the walmart clerk as well as the Ceo, not punishing those not as gifted as others. A challenge, but a worthy one to pursue.

    3. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Although I find Conn's healthcare fact sheet agreeable, please cite the figures' sources. Earlier I criticized a friend's article which promoted socialized medicine. This was because of the vagueness of credits used to support their numerical data.

    4. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      My apology regarding citations. I overlooked Conn's opening sentence.

    5. Ed, London says:

      I would also like to see the sources of this information as it goes against UN reports which ranks the US health system very poorly. As a Brit, we are proud of our NHS: it's free and does a superb job, as most of the country agrees – which is completely contradictory to "fact" 7. Of course there is room for improvement, but overall it's far better to be sick in England than the US, that is a definite fact ommitted from this list. And that would apply for most of Europe too.

      • cristina siegel says:

        Thank you, ed london! I’m italian. At age 27 I need brain surgery to remove a malformation. I had been in a coma. I asked the hospital about the surgery and the physician’s answer was that I wasn’t at risk of death, so the surgery wouldn’t be performed. I really NEEDED that surgery, to avoid death. So I called my country, Italy, of which I’m still a citizen, scheduled the surgery, and had it performed. The care wasn’t what it may have been in the us, granted, but the surgery was successuffly performed. For FREE. And, by the way, Italy ranks pretty high on the health care system world-wide.

    6. Timothy Travis, Port says:

      Mother, will you please tell me about…

      …infant mortality rates? (#1)

      …the number of people in this country that will never get the care for which those in other countries wait? (#7)

      …the percentage of all American adults (and not just those who have insurance) who feel the same way about our system? (#8)

    7. Lawrence, Seattle, W says:

      "Ed, London writes:

      I would also like to see the sources of this information as it goes against UN reports which ranks the US health system very poorly."

      —All you have to do is go to the "National Center for Policy Analysis" link that is in the lead sentence and you will see the sources Dr. Atlas used..—-

    8. Steve, Missouri says:


      U.S. 6.3 per 1000 births

      U.K. 4.8 Per 1000 birth

      However, you have to take in the fact that the US has a higher birth Rate

      U.S. 14.6 per 1000 people

      U.K. 10.4 per 1000 people


      Fact if you go to the hospital right now and it is an emergency and you are in the U.S. you will get assisstance even without health care

      I lived in the netherlands and all though i got health care i was sent home and told I was on a waiting list for treatment

      8.) That was asked of all americans, not just those with health care

      • Brad says:

        A stat that isnt taken into account when talking about the US infant mortality rate is that the US does much more screening prior to the birth, and often times saves a pregnancy that would not have resulted in a miscairage otherwise…… Of these succesfully saved pregnancies, there may only be a 50% survival rate which in turn increases our infant mortality rate wheras it wouldnt be a stat in other countries.

    9. Lawrence, Seattle, W says:

      Dr. Atlas… Why no information on the mythical French nirvana..?? It would have been nice to see some direct comparisons from their system in this report.

    10. Steve, Virginia says:

      "Ed, London writes:

      I would also like to see the sources of this information as it goes against UN reports which ranks the US health system very poorly. As a Brit, we are proud of our NHS: it’s free and does a superb job, as most of the country agrees – which is completely contradictory to “fact” 7. Of course there is room for improvement, but overall it’s far better to be sick in England than the US, that is a definite fact ommitted from this list. And that would apply for most of Europe too."

      Perhaps Ed didn't hear Daniel Hannan's words for Gordon Brown yesterday. The NHS must feel like a great thing since, yes it is "free", but when every British child is born owing around 20,000 pounds, "free" is nowhere near sustainable or appealing. But to be fair, every child born in the US is about to be just as far in debt…. thank you Bush/Obama.

    11. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Ed in London. Although we both agree about the importance of citations, the UN has zero credibility with most Americans because of member corruption and conflicts of interest.

    12. Sharron L, Seattle says:

      Who never gets care? I am a nurse. I worked in public hospitals. NO one was ever turned away.

      We are NOT #1 in infant mortality. That is ridiculous. Angola, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Liberia and Niger are the top FIVE. Followed by Chad, the Ivory Coast, Somalia, the Congo, keep going,.. the US is 180th and the EU comes in at 183rd, (from the updated World Factbook in 2008).

      I live in Seattle. Two of my doctors are from CANADA because they couldn't stand the poorly run system in Canada.

    13. Robert, PA says:

      To Ed from London: The UN report is seriously flawed because one of the main things used in that report is life expectancy. Sounds reasonable until you learn that murders and fatal car accidents are also factored in; neither of which deals with health care. If you removed these two items then US has a very high life expectancy compared to other nations.

      Another main thing that is used to gauge health care is 'distribution'; in other words, nationalized health care. The report does not care about the quality of health care as long as everybody has access to it with some form of insurance. Of course even if you do not have insurance here, you still can get treatment.

      This report is very biased toward nationalized health care and I would find it hard to take the UN report seriously when they rank Cuba higher than the US.

    14. Roy W. Sequim, Wash says:

      And yet, more babies die in America than in those nations, & their citizens' life expectancy is longer than ours.

      Could it be the news that more Americans survive the diseases of old age means that Medicare, America's grand experiment in social insurance (not socialized medicine) is working, & our dismal infant mortality rate reflects a lack of public concern about young mothers & babies?

      As to public satisfaction in nations with "more government control of health care," if you ask ordinary Canadians directly whether they would exchange their system for ours, they look at you as though you are insane.

      Cherry-picked statistics from right-wing think tanks notwithstanding, the state of America's public health is not good. We spend twice the proportion of our GDP on health care as any of our international competitors, & overall we get demonstrably less in return.

      Our private insurance system more closely resembles "socialized medicine," than Medicare does. It is they who most often interfere directly in physicians' decisions about patient care, & deny services physicians believe are necessary.

      Furthermore the system is fraught with economic waste; the insurance industry itself said so. The industry sponsored Council For Affordable Health Insurance concluded (Medicare's Hidden Administrative Costs – A comparison of Medicare & The Private Sector, by Merrill Matthews, Ph.D., January 10, 2006) that Medicare wastes 5 cents of your tax dollar, & your insurance company wastes 16 cents of your premium dollar.

      Wastes? We buy health insurance to pay our doctor bills. Anything the insurer keeps that doesn't pay our doctor bill is economic waste for us. The extra 11 cents the insurance company keeps pays for advertising, sales commissions, executive salaries, & stockholder profits; legitimate corporate expenses, but they are not our doctor bill.

      The government manages an efficient payment program called Medicare. It has none of those corporate expenses. If I must have insurance to pay my doctor bills, I want the most bang for my buck that I can get. I'm no fan of taxes, but I like corporate welfare even less, & that is what that extra wasted 11 cents represents.

      A government-sponsored single-payer system would capture that wasted 11 cents per dollar & use it to pay doctor bills, not unneeded corporate expenses. Furthermore it would reduce the plethora of insurance company administrative requirements each doctor must now address, to just one.

      "Health care," and "health insurance," are separate issues, and "social insurance,' is not "socialized medicine." It is to the insurance industry's advantage to conflate these terms, but it is not in the public interest. Until we separate these issues, address them individually, & first confront the waste in our payment system, there can be no worthwhile health care reform.

    15. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      To Ed of London,

      Isn't it true not that long ago (it even be true today) in UK, that a senior citizen with a Macular Degeneration must have one eye gone before treatment can be authorized? There were protests over it to the health board and I am not sure how that got resolved.

      Please keep your socialized "free" medicine. Just the fact people think that it is somehow free indicates to me the sheer ignorance. There is nothing free about health care. Productive Britons are paying for everybody else.

      We are thinking of another revolution in the US to defeat the retrograde socialist thinking and power.

    16. Joe says:

      Where did you get these figures? What is your source of information. Seems like this is all fabricated.

      I have been in a 3rd World Country with a National Heath Care System and the care was superb while in the USA I have been denied care for not having health insurance.

      This is information you post as "Facts" is nothing but "Fiction".

    17. Niecko says:

      They should create an article on things we have now that we did'nt have 20 or 30 or even 40 years ago that are a drain on todays healthcare costs. Like the AIDS virus, plastic surgeries, gang shootings on the scale of today compared with the past, obesity, frivolous lawsuits or anything else


    18. sam,PA says:

      I was just wondering who donates money to the National Center for Policy Analysis,and if they disclose the names of the people and corporations that do so???I smell bias.

    19. Jacquie, New Mexico says:

      The American infant mortality rate is a composite average, which is affected by race,geography, income, and education. In 2002 the mortality rate (per 1000 live births) for infants born to black mothers was 13.9, 5.8 for non-Hispanic white mothers, and 4.9 for Asian mothers. Infant mortality ranged from 15.4 in Memphis to 4.5 in Seattle, and 9.1 in Alabama to 4.9 in New Hampshire. The most common cause of infant mortality is prematurity. Race is the most significant factor in premature births. Black women deliver premature babies at twice the rate of white women, even holding constant the number of prenatal medical visits. Studies of twins suggest 40% of the variation is caused by genetic factors. Another risk factor for premature births is if the mother had a previous induced abortion. In addition, other countries measure infant mortality rates differently. In Switzerland an infant born less than 30 cm in length (less than 2.2 lbs) is not counted as a live birth. But about one-third of all infant deaths in the US are among infants weighing 2.2 lbs or less. If these infants were reclassified as "stillborn" rather than "live births," the rates of Switzerland and the US would be similar. In Canada the infant mortality is 9.1 in Saskatchewan (despite universal health care) and 4.6 on Prince Edward Island.

      Steffie Woolhandler, a big single-payer advocate, first published the article about the "efficiency" of government health care programs. But this number ignores costs that are spread through various agencies of federal,state, and local government. CMS does not take care of benefits development, eligibility, payroll, or data processing. For example, the IRS collects the Medicare tax (except Timothy Geithner's). In addition, this number does not include the government's cost of developing legislation, writing regulations, and judicial review. Also the costs imposed on medical professionals and institutions are not included. When all these costs are included, the administrative overhead of public programs amounts to $0.27 per each dollar of benefits to patients, compared with $0.16 for private insurance, 69% more.

      Sources that Joe and Roy can access to verify the facts include Michael Tanner (www.cato.org)and the Commonwealth Fund for cancer statistics. The book "Lives at Risk" by Goodman et al has numerous references. The Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed in 2007 that the American health care system outperforms the socialized system in Europe in getting new medicines to cancer patients.

      Obviously Roy has never dealt with Medicare. They are hardly efficient. In 2002 the General Accounting Office published a study showing that 85% of the time Medicare customer service representatives gave the wrong answer to questions posed by physcians regarding the proper way to bill Medicare so as to obtain payment. In 2003 Medicare contractors responded to 21 million provider requests. Somewhere between 480,000 and 20,160,000 Medicare claims are wrongfully denied per year because of wrong information provided by incompetent bureaucrats.

    20. Roy W. Sequim, Wash says:

      Nurse Sharron of Seattle asks who never gets care. Perhaps only those who never seek it, but somebody has to pay for those who find it.

      My small town hospital serves a county population of less than 70,000, but it eats more than $3 million in uncompensated care each year, most for uninsured patients who come in through the ER with illnesses that could have been helped earlier if they had insurance, or affordable care was available. The cost of their care sits squarely on the taxpayers' shoulders. A nation as great as America should be able to do better.

      Nurse Sharron also notes we are not #1 in infant mortality, though no one said we were. She says we're 180th from the worst which, according to her source, is 2 steps better than Croatia, & 2 steps worse than Cuba. Those facts notwithstanding, she quotes the wrong end of the statistic. We're 180th from the worst, but we're 45th from the best. That's the problem & it's no reason for us to be proud.

      American doctors are as tired as Canadian doctors of the bureaucratic requirements of insurance providers (at least mine is) but they also can make a lot more money in our more entrepreneurial culture which is really important if a big income is their motivation. Nothing sinful in that, but it is a fact.

      Nurse Sharron, as the authors of this article, presents a one-sided view of the matter which makes her comment, as the article, more a matter of propaganda supporting a belief, than facts on which to base a balanced, rational analysis of our health care problem.

    21. BruceC, Illinois says:

      You have to look no further than the VA medical system to know how bad government health care is. My father waited for a month in a VA hospital for bypass surgery. We tried to talk him into using his private insurance, but he felt that because his was a service-connected disability that the government owed him the care. The VA hospital he was in was poorly run, poorly maintained, and poorly staffed. Private rooms? No way. Almost all of the patients were housed in open wards, just like the '40s. I can hardly wait for the change I can believe in…not.

    22. Mickey, Cleveland, O says:

      The receptionist at my doctor's office tells me some of the insurance companies are limiting patients visits to the doctor to 15 minutes. Is this not rationing healthcare?

    23. Lori says:


      Infant mortality statistics, comparing the US with other countries, are unreliable according to the Congressional Research Service. Different standards for “live birth” among nations, and poor reporting, especially in Third World nations, lead to misleading comparisons.

      The UN rates Canadian and British health systems high because they never met a socialist scheme they didn't like, no matter how inefficient. What do low-income Canadians and Britons say about their access to care? Why do the British have such ugly teeth? Many Brits are pulling their own teeth due to lack of dental services. Try doing a google search on this.

    24. Ted Rota Spain FPO says:

      Yeah, so lets let government run healthcare so it will be even better just like our economy and pubic schools!

    25. Ed, London says:

      So many responses :)

      First off, apologies for missing the citations for the statistics.

      Steve, Virginia. Obviously the NHS is paid for, but we all pay a reasonable percentage of our wages for a service which doesn't charge at point of use. As for being 20,000GBP in debt on birth, I think that's a tiny price to pay for never in your life having to worry about whether or not you'll get treated, whether you're employed or not.

      J.C. Hughes, Texas. I see your point here, but the UN results are still worth noting. Another good source of statistics is Nation master, and their statistics paint a different picture of cancer survival in the US: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_dea_fro_can

      Robert, PA. I can't imagine that many people get murdered in the US that it would alter the life expectancy that much. Also you have to remember that when nationalised services rank so highly, it's because they perform pretty well across the board. Sure, certain things may take longer and certain things might not be treated so well but overall people receive good care for whatever they need.

      Spiritof76, New Hampshire. I have never heard of such a thing happening, though it's not outside the realms of possibility. However, for example, my mother recently moved back to the UK having lived overseas for many years and received a cornea transplant in both her eyes. The problem was diagnosed and operated on within a month. For free. She will now enjoy perfect vision throughout her old age. There are bound to be instances where things can't get treated for a variety of reasons. This happens in the US all the time with people being denied treatment for lack of insurance, or even being rejected with insurance.

      This fact sheet gives indications of the strength of the American system. But the list is only 10 items long and mentions a tiny fraction of the ailments that threaten people. Some of these facts aren't shown in true context either: The high number of MRI machines in the US doesn't seem to help the number of people dying from all types of cancer, which is much higher than the UK. And it also doesn't talk about the astronomic prices US citizens have to pay for medicines.

      The truth is in countries like Britain, we're proud of our NHS, it's something the far majority of people in the country want, be they liberal or conservative, socialist or capitalist. It isn't something the government imposes on us: the people simply wouldn't have it any other way.

    26. Ted Rota Spain FPO says:

      Hey Joe, did you know you can pay for treatment if you do not have insurance? And if you have an emergency you can't be denied treatment. How do you think our illegal immigrants get care? If you want to dispute the facts as fiction why don't you look it up, or do want someone to somebody to do that for you too? Grow up and stop wanting the government to take care of you even though you can probably take care of yourself. Sometimes you may have to make a sacrifice and actually work for what you want. Get your facts straight before you go around sounding like a….. "Nancy Pelosi", I don't want to swear on the website.

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    28. Ray says:

      I had a discussion with a Canadian colleague who loves to go on about the Canadian healthcare system, (although he's lived for years outside Canada and hasn't had to actually use it.), and he accidently gave a great example of a benefit of the U.S. system. We are pilots, and I asked him if he had an orthopedic injury, (i.e. knee, etc.), and had to go on a waiting list he might lose his job. (Same could be said for truckers, heavy equipment operators, etc.). His response was, "well, then I'd go to the States and pay for it myself". The U.S. is Canada's safety net when their system fails. If you don't believe this you might want to look at Natasha Richardson's tragic situation. If she'd had the same injury in the U.S. she would have had multiple Ground and Air Ambulance companies fighting over who would be transporting her to the trauma center. Oh, and for the fellow who was denied due to lack of insurance. You go to the hospital and tell them you will be paying for it yourself and will need a payment plan. Did this twice when uninsured,and the amazing thing was the hospital dropped the charges 15% off the top and charged no interest. The other option is the Undocumented Worker Plan. Go to the E.R. and complain of "severe" pain at whatever body part that ails you. You will be treated at no charge. It's federal law. Have even seen this result in air transport. And remember, all insurance has limits. People spend more time researching car insurance than their family's healthcare policy.

    29. Ryan, Nomad says:

      To Roy W. Sequim:

      Do you honestly think the government can centrally manage a healthcare system without 'waste' (i.e. 11 cents)? If you spend any time working with/for the government, you'll know that they are the most inefficient labor force on the planet. All economic analyses of this administrations proposed healthcare reform have shown that it will take substantial costs just to support the infrastrucutre needed to manage said system. Those costs may be wrapped up in your FIT, but you'll be paying them nonetheless, and it will more than likely amount to more than '11 cents'.

    30. monica, tx says:

      to roy,

      how can you think the government medicare program is working successfully if it is bankrupt? What program does the government run more efficiently than private? I suggest that if you want these "free" benefits move to the country of your choice! Since when has profit become a four letter word of disdain. As for the unisured, I have had many friends over the years that have not had health insurance but only because they chose not to pay for it, no it's not cheap but if it is not a priority to you to have it, why should I pay for it for you? Example, my friends have a small business and choose private school for their child but don't carry health insurance. She was a premie and they received full benefit of not being insured, we picked up the cost and now they continue to not be responsible…

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    32. Ed, London says:

      Ryan, Nomad. A very interesting point. I too have worked briefly in the public sector and agree it can lead to waste. Our NHS, for example, suffers from a bloated middle-management which adds unnecessary expense. On the flip side, in the private sector, shareholders have to be satisfied, profits have to be made, often at the expense of people's treatment and the hours doctors & nurses have to work. This is never the case in a national system.

      Monica, TX. It's a common argument about paying for others but in the UK we don't look at it like that. We're not paying for others so much as we're paying to keep the health system functioning and up-to-date should we choose or need to use it. Also, you simply don't have the option to not pay your national insurance. Even if you're unemployed it is taken directly from your benefits as it is your wages when you are employed.

      This is such an interesting debate. Personally, I certainly prefer a nationalised health system, the same as I wouldn't want a privatised police force. I think though I would be happy to pay private health insurance if the system capped the profits made by the service providers and guaranteed that I wouldn't be turned down or charged for any treatment I needed.

    33. phil, Texas U.S.A. says:

      Ed in London, how would you know that your system is better? Have you honestly lived under a different system? Why is our system so expensive? Could it be because of the rediculous cost of malpractice insurance our doctors are forced to purchase due to rediculous and frivalous lawsuits filed by unethical ambulance chasing lawyers?

      It is definately a waste of time to talk to you, you believe your way of life is better than mine while I completely disagree with you. The one thing that is true is that if you go to the hospital in the U.S.A. you will be treated. Period.

      But, take into account the fact that more Canadians had open heart surgery in Detroit in 2006 than in all of Canada and it creates questions of why. Add the fact that virtually all new medicines and procedures come from the U.S.A. and more questions come to mind. Finally, consider that I have the FREEDOM to purchase or not purchase basic medical insurance instead of being forced to pay for insurance I will rarely use which means I'm paying for others to go to the doctor for things that may or may not be necessary and my mind is made up.

      If your system is so great why do the Brits who can afford to come to the U.S.A. or other countries for major surgeries or treatments.

      Oh, and never mind sources, obviously you are going to say the U.N. is a better source for everything. So I politely say, what we do in our country is truly none of your business and the reverse is true also. I do know a few Brits and none of them share your view of the NHS so why should I believe you?

    34. Gene S., Vermont says:

      "BruceC, Illinois writes:

      You have to look no further than the VA medical system to know how bad government health care is."

      I have been waiting for someone to mention this. I am an RN @ a VA. While the care we provide is excellent, and the Vets we care for are very appreciative, we DO already have Gummint run health care. And it DOESN'T WORK for most people. Providing facilities are few and far between (sending pt's on a 4 hour ambulance ride for a procedure that could be done at a private facility less than 10 miles away).

      Another example of a Gummint run entity is the USPS. When we only had one choice, it 'worked'. Enter free market, enter FedEx, UPS, et al, and it 'works' BETTER. We have choices. Gummint run Health Care will send us all to early graves.

    35. Pat, WA State says:

      I am in the health care field. In our state and across our nation we have been emphasizing prevention and health topics. People are striving to come in earlier for check ups, taking better care of themselves, thru diet, excercise and etc.

      Our health care system is not perfect, in our small community we still serve the non insured in our ER. We are accumulating a large deficit. But if the government should step in and control medicine. It would be a huge mistake for our country and each of us as individuals will suffer.

    36. Ed, London says:

      phil, Texas. I have lived in the US, I have an American half-sister. I have also lived in Canada. I can't say much about Canada's healthcare system other than the only time I had to use it I had to pay 300CDN for a lousy 20 minute consultation.

      I have never had to use the US healthcare system myself, but my sister and her family have used both the US and the UK one. You'll get good treatment in both, that isn't the issue. Having to pay an insurance company that will try and deny you treatment at any opportunity is the main difference.

      As for your FREEDOM, well, imagine a world where no ones pays healthcare, including yourself, and suddenly you're sick. Where is your treatment going to come from exactly? No ones been paying the doctors so they've become bankers. I would take my FREEDOM to never have to worry about healthcare over such a measly amount. I mean come on, we're are talking about such a tiny amount of money here. Our National Insurance is so small we don't even notice it leaving our pay packet and the total system in the UK costs a FRACTION of the US system to run. Also we enjoy the FREEDOM of not having to consult our insurer before ANY treatment whatsoever, we can go to any hospital in our country and get treated for whatever we need. We also enjoy paying a tiny amount for our pharmaceuticals and we don't have doctors pushing drugs on us with the highest commission for them either.

      You have no reason to believe my personal views about the NHS. But do look at the statistics – Brits live longer and enjoy better health, we like to think in part because of our system. I'm sorry if I touched a nerve with you, I'm only here interested in the debate. Though it would be nice if the next time I visited the US I didn't have to buy insurance. I guess it's just a difference in outlook, as part of a society, life is better when everyone is well and productive, not sick and crippled by medical bills.

    37. Roy W - Sequim, WA says:

      There's a lot of ideological blindness here that gets in the way of analyzing facts.

      Jacquie of New Mexico puts up a list of imputed expenses that ostensibly make the cost of administering Medicare 27 cents on the dollar. None of those expenses are quantifiable as they relate to Medicare. Every one is an estimate created for an ideological purpose. The insurance industry itself could only find enough of this fluff to raise Medicare's ostensible costs from the 2% you get from reading the Medicare budget, to 5%.

      Jacquie says I've obviously never been on Medicare. Been on it 15 years already, & it works for me. She notes a GAO report that says Medicare service representatives give wrong answers 85% of the time, that that "Medicare contractors responded to 21 million provider requests," & claims were wrongly denied because of "wrong information provided by incompetent bureaucrats."

      The news here is the ineffective Medicare service representatives, & the "incompetent bureaucrats," are not government employees, they work for the private insurance companies that contract these services to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare forms come to me in an envelope with the return address of a private insurance company, not a government office.

      There is certainly a problem with the faults noted here, but is it the government or the contractors? Is it lack of government oversight of the contractors? Government oversight, of course has been the bugbear of Republican administrations since Reagan & lack of it is the direct cause of our economic meltdown.

      Ryan,Nomad continues to conflate "health care," with "health insurance," under the rubric "health care system." He misses the point that we must distinguish them, & attack the waste in the payment system first.

      The bottom line is this: you pay a dollar of Medicare taxes, & someone gets at least 95 cents worth of health care for it. You pay a dollar of insurance premiums, & someone gets at best 84 cents worth of health care for it. If Medicare can do it for 5 cents on the dollar, a national single payer system can do it too, & it will remove that wasted 11 cents on the dollar of insurance company corporate welfare that doesn't pay your doctor bill.

      Ryan, & Monica,tx share an unalterable belief in the total inefficiency government & government employees. I've had enough experience to know they're wrong.

      Monica advises me that if I don't like it here, I should move elsewhere. Not likely. I'm an old man who has invested too much in my country, & watched friends die insuring Ryan's & Monica's right to make their comments. My late friends & I helped insure their right to speak, & I don't propose to give mine up.

      Monica asks since when profit has become a four letter word of disdain. It has not, but when it is an unnecessary wasteful component of providing a service, as it is in private health insurance, it is worthy of disdain.

      Monica has unwittingly made my point. First she asks, "Why should I pay for you?" Then she reports her friends who "received full benefit of not being insured, we picked up the cost, & now they continue to not be responsible."

      Her friends gamed the system, & took advantage of the rest of us. Yet Monica believes that is better than recognizing that we're all in this together & would benefit from cooperation.

    38. Niecko says:

      sources for all you who cant read http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649#_edn1

    39. Alex D. TN says:

      Maybe socialized health care isn't the answer to the United State's crisis. From personal experience, the problem isn't a socialized or private health care system, it's the fact that health insurance has been capitalized. I think capitalism gives our country a great advantage, but it doesn't belong in health insurance. Look, we can't socialize health care, and I don't believe that the new administration is really trying to go that far. However, there is a need to fix the health insurance mess. I mean, if we are paying every month for insurance, there should be absolutely no reason why any american would get dropped as soon as they get sick. That is the reform we need and I hope the reform we get.

    40. Joey says:

      Two things. I broke my fingers in America and had to wait a month before my doctor could see me . And they have privet hospital in most European countries.

    41. Mischale, Indiana says:

      To Roy,

      Cooperation!! That's a laugh!!

    42. TAM, USA says:

      I agree that there are a number of issues with the American Health Care System, however, I don't believe that a national system would solve it. I've worked in a number of hospitals, and see first hand the pros and cons of our system.

      monica, tx: This is part of the problem, many Americans do not put their health as a priority. They make the choice not to pay for health care. Thus our problem-

      Numerous Americans choose not to live a healthy lifestyle, instead we eat Fast Food, aren't active and take no preventative measures (this is the insured as well as the uninsured). Next they come in having a Heart Attack, and then don't take their medications, don't change their lifestyle….and it all repeats.

      Generally, people want everything now, immediately. They don't want to wait, and they feel entitled to having their care NOW! Thus, we have overuse of the Emergency Department by both populations (un/insured).

      Until the mindset and culture of the American public is changed, neither will work. A main principle of a national health system is that people see their primary care doctor and use preventative medicine….

      Roy W. Sequim, Washington: Roy I believe you to be extremely misinformed. You imply that Doctors are out to turn a profit. Well, I'm not a Doctor but work with many- by the time they're done with 8 years of education, they then have a minimum of 3yrs working as a resident (ie. high hours and low pay), and in the end most come out with over $100,000 in educational loans. So yes after 11+ yrs they finally start making money….and guess what if they're not a specialist, a general physician makes around $150,000 (per US Bureau of Labor Statistics). And work approx 50hrs/wk. This doesn't take into account that they have malpractice insurance, pay a couple thousand dollars every few years for license renewal, continuing education, and many pay for their health insurance, out of pocket. -Just a little perspective and information for those that believe physician are looking for a "lot more money in our more entrepreneurial culture which is really important if a big income is their motivation. Nothing sinful in that, but it is a fact".

      Ed, London: The apparent excess of MRI machines we have allow us to get patients through more quickly and diagnose a brain tumor. Options are available here, many people make a choice not get health care and are lazy. It's about priorities- most of the patients I care for put their cable tv, cell phone, cigarettes, booze, etc before their health. While I'm glad you're willing to work and pay for their poor choices, hoping someday they choose to work and contribute, I myself find it wrong.

      Lastly, what I find most amazing is that patients that don't have enough money to get their antibiotic medications, somehow, find the money to get their vicodin.

    43. Dave, Missouri says:

      As with any type of debate there is two sides, and I'll admit, the U.S. health care isn't the greatest ever, just like you and I, it has it's flaws, not to mention that I feel this particular list of facts are nothing but junk science. I have seen cases where people who have had cancer die in car accidents, their death came as a result of "cancer" or whatever type of diseases they have, so bearing that in mind, I know there is no way that any type of statistic is going to be accurate. Births, for instance, ever heard of a back alley abortionist? The main point is, instead of arguing over "What Country has the best health care" why don't we focus on the flaws of our health care and what we can do to improve it. To be honest, I don't care about Canada's Universal Health, nor do I care about Britain Universal Health, (no offense of course) I care about improving and/or reforming our health care. Would I look towards Britain and Canada's health care systems for ideas on what we can do? Some U.S. Citizens love our health care system because they simply don't understand anything else, They have never used the Universal Health Care (or I should say, most Americans) But it is just as well that the same can be said about the Citizens of Britain or Canada or any other Country, they look down upon our health care because they've never used it. The great thing about the U.S. care is nobody can be denied the care in which they need, and if you do get denied just walk into the ER and they HAVE to accept you. As for wait times on the other countries, I honestly cannot say anything about them for I have not experienced them and I refuse to gain an opinion on something I don't know a damn thing about!

    44. Michelle, Los Angele says:

      I believe we have a healthcare problem because we have conflict of interests within the healthcare community. I have yet to hear discussion about escalating pharmaceutical costs and corresponding for-profit enterprises. While I agree that the risk-takers in medical innovation should be rewarded for their success, there is much room for improvement. There will be a radical change in healthcare reform, I have no doubt. We have an aging population that outnumbers the younger workforce. Innovations in treatment and early detection are wonderful, but given our most recent economical crisis, job secured health insurance that covers pre-existing conditions will diminish drastically. Individual health insurance policy costs will increase due to supply and demand. When preventive care becomes cost prohibitive, it will leave emergency care to carry the burden. In large cities, there are too few county hospitals to adequately cover this. In the interest of the many, the younger few will request more aid to take care of their ailing parents and grandparents. Reliance on 401k's, pension plans, etc. is now gone, at least for the immediate future. Out of necessity will rise, hopefully, a hybrid of healthcare reform and socialized insurance. And if America could humble itself to accept that it does not have the best situation, we could reap the benefits of what works in other nations (and avoid what hasn't worked). To be able to obtain medical care at an ER may make our system good, but to avoid needing an ER as a means of coverage would make our system the best.

    45. Mischale, Indiana says:

      To TAM, USA,I have thought on the same lines with most people's priorities.Not only would they buy their cable and cigarettes before any kind of health care, they want us, the working people, or as they would say the rich. Which includes anyone making over $15,000 a year. I understand completely about the doctors debt. Although a few years ago I might not have. My son has desided he wants to go into medicine. He learned first hand through interns about the incredible debt. Unfortunately he will be in debt long after he leaves school. Part of this is due to the high malpractice insurance. I worry about all the crap he will have to put up with in this stupid health care system. We have a good friend who's a doctor from Canada. He moved to the states because of the health care problems there. He had collegues who only work ten months out of the year there because of how they are paid by the government. It just isn't profitable to work the other two months.

      Her mom who stayed in Canada found a lump. She had to wait about six weeks to even have it checked out. Then she waited months to have it removed. Very sad.

      TO Ed, london.

      I like the way you debate. I like how you have given your opinions without being nasty. I don't think you and I agree on the health care issue, but I would like to see how yours works. My same friends from Canada went to England with the art club for school. One of the students became ill and had to go to the hospital. Although it was national health care She said it was much different than that of Canada's health care.

      I have enjoyed hearing your views because you don't make anyone feel stupid or uniformed just because they don't agree with you. Kudos to you, I think you are a stand-up guy.

    46. Josh K. says:

      Fact No 7 is completely disingenuous. If you look at the original article the 70% statistic comes from, it turns out that 82% of Americans call for fundamental change or complete rebuilding of their health systems.

    47. Kelli, Utah says:

      My husband and I both work in the health care industry. Three years ago we opened an independant pharmacy. Our biggest obstacles are the State and Fedral Governments. From Medicaire and Medicaid billing and reimbursments to ridiculous regulations and accreditations that are expensive, time-consuming and in no way improve patient care to high taxes paid by all small-business owners. Amazingly, we have been able to stay in business in spite of the government and the headaches they create.

      Why would anyone want more of this? I sure don't. The more the Fedral Government becomes involved in health care the more expensive health care becomes and the less time we, as health care providers, have to spend taking care of people. Instead, we spend our time, money and resources trying to comply with what out-of-touch beaurocrats think should be done. Less government involvement everywhere, especially in health care, is the only way to go.

      If they (the government) feel the need to regulate anything, I think they should controll the malpractice lawsuits that drive up the cost of health care. Other than that they should butt out and let Capitalism and Free Enterprise work the way it was meant to.

    48. Kelli, Utah says:


      Well said. I have worked well over 15 years in various hospitals. Health is not a priority for people untill there is a crisis. Then it is the health care worker's fault when the problem can't be fixed. Hence, the malpractice lawsuits that further drive up the cost of health care. People need to accept responsibility for their own health and well-being. If they choose a new car or house over paying for health insurance it shouldn't be the governments responsibility to pick up the slack. If they choose to smoke or do other stupid things to their bodies then there will be a price to pay. That is just life. If people would accept this instead of expecting the government to bail them out of everything they would make better and healthier decisions.

    49. Gary, Canton says:

      For the ignorant folks who think US healthcare is not as good, or better than nationalized healthcare……….pleaseeeeeee get your facts straight!!!! You obviously DO NOT get it!!! Any ignoramous would be able to research the facts and discover that government healthcare SUCKS!!!

      Many, many former socialized healthcare members have come forward to share the TRUTH about socialized medicine, and the HORRORS associated with the delays, success rates, euthanasia, etc. with government programs. Get your facts gathered BEFORE railing about how bad US healthcare is! Understand this…….we have the BEST healthcare system in the WORLD!!!!!!!! Yes, we have flaws, but nowhere near government controlled systems!!!!!

    50. Karen M., Felicity, says:

      I have worked in the US health care system for over 20 years and I can tell you that much of the problem with the "uninsured" is of their own making. Where I work now, there are at least two people in the clinic who opted to not get our company's health insurance because they "couldn't afford it" yet they have no problem buying the latest gas guzzling brand new pick-up truck, not to mention the two packs of cigarettes a day that she smokes. Then there is the other person who can't afford it yet she has "purse parties" because she just can't help herself from buying a surplus of purses. They both will talk about how this country needs to take care of its citizens, i.e., their health care-however, they don't feel they need to make any lifestyle change or contribute. Who is supposed to pay for their health?? The big Health Care Fairy? I will feel inclined to help pay for the health care costs of my fellow citizens when I see that those who truly "can't afford it" start doing without their luxury items-cigarettes, alcohol, video games, cable tv with all the movie channels, and the bling in their ears, mouth or around their necks. Please….Also, if I have to see one more person in the ER who has Medicaid but comes to the ER for "back pain" because they "don't want to wait to be seen by their regular doctor" I will scream. Oh, and don't get me started about all the third world women I saw in the maternity clinic when I worked in NYC…it was funny that they could always find the money for an airplane flight to the good old USA when they were eight months pregnant in order to deliver their little bundles of joy…Am I bitter, you ask?????Yes, because I feel like the "leeches" of the world have sucked me dry. I would go about my business quietly if it weren't for others blasting the problems of my country's healthcare system without really knowing the absolute abuses of it that exist…Uuuugghhhh, I can't take it!

    51. John Roane Sarasota says:

      If Americans would like to know what national health care would be like just ask an American Veteran suffering from service connected disabilities?

      He will tell you generally we get the least capable doctors, hospitals, medications, and treatments. You wait 60 – 90 days for doctor appointments and often are only referred to another doctor which takes another 60 – 90 days.

      The VA constantly says they can't attracted qualified medical personnel because of low wages, can't afford the best medications available because of cost.

      Oh, if you are thinking of telling me my care is free and I shouldn't complain, think again. I paid a higher cost for my medical care then you have and or hopefully ever will. What did I pay you ask, I paid with my life!

      So have your debate but ask yourself can you live with national healthcare in the US?

    52. Joan, Oregon says:

      Ray hit on something when he mentioned the response of a hospital to "self-pay" patients. We have had insurance in the past, I have worked in a doctors office and helped file billing for both private insurance and Medicaid, Medicare. We are presently "self-pay." The truth is that the insurance companies as well as Medicaid and Medicare decide how much of the billed amount they will actually pay. It is rarely the full billed amount and often significantly less. Does this cause the provider to raise the billed price in hopes of recovering more?

      Another piece of the problem with rising health care cost is the fact that few people actually know what or how much things cost. With insurance to foot the bill people are less careful about how much things are- often they never even see the itemized costs. Maybe if there were fewer middle men, market forces would rule. Certainly government guarenteeing to pay will not reduce costs, but it may reduce income for the providers and this might cause many to think twice about being in the medical field further restricting healthcare options.

    53. Peter, England (Orig says:

      I moved to England four years ago and was initially very doubtful about healthcare here as I have a chronic condition. The treatment I have received here has been as good as, if not superior than I received at home. And there is very little bureaucracy to go with it. The only thing I would say is that the surroundings can be a little shabby, but on balance that is of no concern.

      My Mother in Law here had a serious road accident a while back and I was incredibly impressed with the response to that from the emergency call through to her rehabilitation.

      I think on thing people don't realise is that many of the hospitals here operate independently as "trusts" and there is quite a lot of choice about which hospital you go to.

    54. Rob, Tennessee says:


      I might try a different doctor there is more than one in the USA. Truth is we have alot of doctors here in the states that give huge discounts for paying cash. The doctor i see charges $35.00 cash for the same visit with insurance she charges $225.00 due to the fact that she has to charge the same rate as medicare will pay for. These are the real issues we need to address in our sysyem.

    55. Terry, Florida says:

      These facts are pleasant to read, but these facts really do not address the primary issue at all:


      You want to compare our healthcare to other nations. Who really cares? The bottom line is we could do much better, and we do not, because its expensive. It is not enough to merely "self report" you are healthy. We should be this good, and we should be free. No one in this nation should ever be denied healthcare. PERIOD. Money should never be the basis upon which the value of a person and their life is judged.

      Our pharmaceuticals are ridiculously expensive, on a par with what illegal drug dealers charge, and our doctors are similarly expensive. How many people are wiped out financially in this nation so that a doctor can afford another vacation to Tahiti or a Maserati?

      Get with the program people. The only reason these facts should matter is if they were obtained with FREE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE!

    56. DJB, U.S. says:

      Every time I visit my neurologist they are so overbooked I have to wait for 2 hours only to see a nurse practicioner (I haven't seen my doctor once) who must rediagnose me every time because they don't know who I am or care to know. What does this say about how they are keeping track of my health record?

    57. Melanie says:

      "The great thing about the U.S. care is nobody can be denied the care in which they need, and if you do get denied just walk into the ER and they HAVE to accept you." NOT TRUE – I worked in a hospital's billing office.

      The only treatment you can not be denied is EMERGENCY CARE. Yes, ERs have to accept anyone regardless of their ability to pay, but that is ONLY for life threatening conditions. You don't get preventive care, no pap smears, no tests that are not related to your emergency condition.

    58. Anthony, Canada says:

      Ok people, don't believe everything you hear on the internet. On other websites you will see things like this but published by a Canadian puting down American Health Care which has been proven in many documenteries, etc.

    59. Tom Vail, Oregon says:

      The chart at http://ttoes.wordpress.com tells the same story of superior outcomes in the US compared to Canada and Europe. The post also shows the slipper slope down which "Universal Healthcare" will take us.

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    62. Don in Shelton, WA says:

      It is important to get the terminology correct. The comments here are talking about "medical care," not "health care." Health care is what I do every day when I eat properly, exercise, avoid smoking and excess drinking…in short, take care of myself. Medical care is when you go to a doctor.

      I have auto insurance, but when I need tires, a tuneup or oil change, I don't turn it in to my insurance company. I pay for it out of pocket, yet folks expect that their routine visit to the doctor should not cost them anything. That is the problem. Insurance should kick in for the catastrophic situations. Routine visits would not be as expensive that way.

      Most people who want government-run "health care," just want someone else to pay for it. If we think that medical care is expensive now, think how expensive it will be when it is free!

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    64. Matt says:

      Anytime someone puts facts out and does not back those facts with actual studies makes me wonder. As a simple reader of these "facts" I would instantly ask what information was used to draw these conclusions. This is an example (either pro or con in support of the facts), that we Americans usually fall into. We are all like sheep, present something and say its a fact and we do not research it. I suggest the writer of this article provide footnotes as to where and how the conclusions were drawn.

      In addition, I am a bit perplexed as to why any private insurer would worry about the government stepping in, unless of course they are worried about their bottom line. Lets face it citizens of the United States, insurance is a gamble for the companies offering it. I would like to see what insurance companies make per year vs what they pay out. Where are those numbers?? If the big insurance companies were paying out vast amounts more than they were making then not a single one would be in business.

      Lets delve further and look at where the big insurance companies go. Doctors are limited in their ability to provide certain services because insurance companies do NOT want to pay out. Who's in charge at this point of YOUR health care? I just submit that we all need to open our eyes, look at who's getting rich and maybe just take a stand.

      Here's a simple generic estimation. I personally pay around 400 a month for family medical care (myself and child). If you take that and multiply it out it comes to 4800 dollars a year. If there are 160 million people in the country paying the same thats about a 768 Billion a year business. Not taking into consideration the offset my company pays. Think about it, I'm guessing the health insurance industry is easily into the Trillion or more a year margin. Now, how much do they pay out??

    65. Ernie, Mandeville,La says:

      Regarding current administration claims of stats on Health Care coverage, What are the demographics ( socio-econm and ethnic)of Americans and or people living in America, covered by health Insurance vs those who are not?

      Which organizations are generally accepted as the top 5 Thinks tanks for left of center, for center and for right of center….not necessarly in any order ?

    66. Ernie, Mandeville,La says:

      Don in Shelton, WA ,The medical expenses have been out of control for many years as well as the med ins premiums. Looking back at an appendix operation I had in 1967, it cost only $225.00!Recently, my wife had a heart valve( 1 ) repair surgery. Prior to admitting, I asked ballpark, what the cost would be and approximately what would my share of responsibility be after insurance….. She laughed and said that there is no way to give you that info….wish I could run my business that way. By the way, for 13 days in admittance, it cost close to $300,000.00 for this now routine operation in a well respected heart hospital in Houston

    67. Joe M. says:

      My name is Joe. I live in New York. I am a 21 year old college student. I work full time.I live on my own. I pay my own bills. I go to the gym four days a week. I choose to eat healthy. I choose not to drink or smoke. I choose not to pay for health insurance. I save as much money as possible. I don't owe anyone anything. I'm not "in this" with anyone. I take full responsiblity for my actions. If something happens to me and I'm not able to pay for it my only choice is to rely on charity. The government cannot legislate charity. I take the constitution and bill of rights literally. I have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I do not have a right to a job. I do not have a right to medical benefits. I do not have a right to social security. I do not have a right to your money, nor do you have a right to mine. I was born with the same opportunities as everyone else in this country. My life is not perfect, and neither am I. I make bad decisions but I don't ask you to pay for them. Each day is a gift from my Creator and I try and use it for His glory. I live in the greatest country in the world. It is great because it is free. I am free to be poor, rich, miserable, happy, strong, weak, dumb, smart, saved, or damned. What have you chosen?

    68. Paul Denton, OH says:

      You know why so many Americans have had these tests done? Its because the doctors get paid more the more insurance pays for all these little tests. Do any of these stats say what age groups or any other information about the people that had these tests taken? No, because doctors will make a 17 year old get a mammogram, or a 20 year old man to get his prostate checked. They get more money "recommending" these tests that more often than not come back negative. Does this article mention America still has a higher Infant Mortality Rate, and lower life expectancy than the countries it's slandering like Canada and Great Britain? No, look up more stats for better and wider knowledge.

    69. Maria says:

      So,now….any advice for those of us who don't live in Canada???

    70. Julia, Lincoln Park says:

      If these are facts, where are your sources? Seriously, I'm doing a report, and although I believe I support national health care, these are very compelling points, and I would love to cover them in my paper, but I need to cite well known sources, any chance any of this information is proven by being published in a peer-reviewed journal of some sort? I'd appreciate some feedback! thanks! :)

    71. Hysfjon, UK says:

      I suppose a few things should be pointed out:

      1) Three of the 10 points refers to US cancer treatment. An area in which the US is commonly known to lead the world. That is good, but apparently it was impossible to find a full 10 areas where the US did well?

      2) A reprint has recently been published. This one did not include the references included in the original (http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/49525427.html.)
      This is perhaps not surprising, as it turns out that the non-cancer ones are from suspect sources, or do not actually have anything to do with the subject, or in one case concludes the exact opposite of what the author claims. I am still a tad shocked that the response to critisim was just to delete the references when it was next published.

      (The author interned in 1982, I personally would speculate that he was not quite onboard with the notion that when writing for the internet, his references can be googled in a minute.)

      3) The report was originally produced for the NCPA. It can be found here (With the actual references):


      The NCPA is a "classic liberalist" think tank, whose board includes representatives from health insurance and medical malpractice lawfirms. Their latest quarterly can be found here:

      There are a number of other problems with the report that the average student should be able to spot. Such as the deliberate selection of Canada for comparisons in waiting times. Canada is known to be the only country in the first world with longer waiting times than the US.

      Thus "second worst in the first world" becomes something good.

      Finding the rest of the issues this report has is left as an excercise for the students. (Hint: How relevant is the authors background?)

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    73. Zoe, Virginia says:

      As someone about to lose my health insurance (it was part of my financial aid package as a grad student, and i've graduated and am now self-employed), i have a dilemma. One option is that I can pay about 10% of my pre-tax income on a health insurance policy which still requires me to pay significantly out-of-pocket if i see a doctor. If Roy's stats are ballpark correct, 11% of my premium will go to insurance company profits, plus a certain amount for bureaucratic waste, plus a certain amount to cover the uninsured. Another option is to remain uninsured and self-pay. In looking for a reason to opt for the insurance, i am coming up empty-handed. I don't smoke, i eat a very healthy diet, and i'm physically fit. I don't even own a car. If i pay for the insurance, they have the right to raise my rates or drop me at any time. If i pay my own way, i stand a chance of losing my (very modest) house is something major happens. Some may call it irresponsible, but i really have a hard time buying in to what i think is a very unethical system in which the insurance companies know the risks, call the shots, and do so with profit as a primary motive.

      How will i spend the 'extra' money i don't give to the insurance company? Saving for a rainy day, and working fewer hours so that i can remain healthy and have time to campaign for a public option, to which as a very healthy person i will be much more comfortable contributing to.

    74. Odile, from Lodi says:

      Every one, you have to remember the United States has a huge amount of people in England and Canada, so a lot of these numbers do not phase me, Universal Health Care is not going to work in the U.S because of the population itself.

    75. Barrayaran, CT says:

      Where are the citations? You need to give sources for your figures — you can't expect people to just trust you.

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    77. dariusd, Miami says:

      We do need changes but a national system will not work for us. These arguments about other European nations is like trying to say because National healthcare works in Cuba it should be translplanted to China. The U.S. has a huge population with different geographical challenges that trying to institute a 1 size fits all approach will just create major headaches. How are we going to solve the major issues? I'm a college student and I already have friends cheering for free healthcare so they can walk into an office and get whatever just because they can because its "free". That would just give millions of ppl the incentive to not even care anymore of the cost burden and who's really playing for these programs. We need sound solutions not baseless statistics that we're either the best or the worst. Lying with numbers as usual from both sides of the aisle.

    78. Jim Cordish says:

      Where are your sources? We are sure glad we listened to you guys when it came to why we needed to go to war.

    79. beetroot juice says:

      i like all of your info ,

      please bump me if you get some more news about this post


    80. Bryon MN says:

      I have a personal stake in seeking reform in our health care system. I have lived with MS for the last 9 years. Until 2 years ago I was able to work full time in my profession without much peoblem. Yet, two tears ago my symtoms became too bothersome for me to continue working. I lost my health care and was unable to afford the $1900 per month to continue my MS medication, not to mention other medications that I take. I could no longer afford to see my doctors. I had to apply for state medical assistance and been waiting nearly 8 months to see if they will even give me the help I need. I don't know if universal health care is the answer but something has to be better than what we have.

    81. Jesse, Michigan says:

      ok where did you guys get this stuff. most of its not true or irrevalent

    82. Anthony, Ia says:

      I think a lot of Americans are not seeing the whole picture. All of these so called free programs are going to cost the hard working middle class people more money through higher taxes. I thought we had a little disagreement about taxes with the British a few years back. I for one pay for my own insurance and no I might not have everything I want but I'm happy with what I have.I think that as a working American that I shouldn't have to pay anymore taxes for medical and health insurance for other people who are unwilling to work so they can sit around home collect welfare, play Nintendo and wait for the food cards and other free services. Americans need to wake up there is nothing for free and this will destroy our country.

    83. Sean says:

      Fact. When supplying facts and statistics, it is helpful to the reader to include our sources.

      You are not including areas where other countries are better than the US.

      Yes, you may survive longer IF you have cancer in the US.

      The regular mortality rates are much better in Canada.

      Preventable deaths in the US are higher than Canada.

      Canada is better at keeping people healthy because they are insured.

    84. Allyssa, San Francis says:

      I'm a current 18-year-old nursing student in the San Francisco Bay Area and I'm just doing some research about the American health care system for one of my classes.

      So far, from reading a variety of articles and comments on pro and anti-universal health care, and even though I'm young and may sound naive, I would like to state my opinion.

      Although I spent the majority of my life here in California, I'm originally from the Philippines. Over there, if you're not a celebrity, politician or aristocrat, there is no such thing as "care,"! It's ironic, because the Filipino culture is heavily influenced by the values of Catholicism, yet when it comes to life and death, if you don't have the big bucks, there is no salvation!

      Unfortunately, most of the nurses and doctors in the Philippines relocate as caregivers or health care providers to the USA or to Europe, because of lack of jobs and funding in the Philippines. My cousin who was a Gynecologist in Philippines recently relocated to L.A. and now works as a registered nurse. Nursing is an honored profession in the Filipino culture, yet ironically there very few left in the Philippines to care for the poor and unfortunate. I am sad for my people who are left in the dark!

      At least here in the USA, in spite of the diversity in cultures, beliefs and values, there is one universal value, when you're dying or at the verge of death, you may have to wait for care, but at least you're not turned away! If you're poor, in the Philippines, you're not even given a chance to wait…you're just left to die! Although the current American health care system needs less bureaucracy and business and more progress in quality of care, becoming more efficient,and more affordable to a variety of individuals, at least there is one universal value and that is life!

    85. Jennifer, TX says:

      I just want to say that of course the U.S. has a higher mortality rate. You need to take into account Americans eating habbits, lifesyle, sleeping patterns, stress levels, and other factors. Because the average American does not know how to take care of themselves and slow down we have 19-20 year olds who have heart attacks. Naps and sitting down to eat are almost obsolete in U.S. culture.

      Also, why are we not mad at the insurence company's? They are the ones who keep raiseing the premiums and causing doctors and patients so many problems with all that paperwork. Why aren't we telling the insurence company's to go to hell. We should just demand that they reform themselves to suit our desires. We are still their customers. We should still have some say on how they run things.

      Just a thought.

    86. Lynn, TX says:


      You need to understand the reasons and the workings of the insurance world before you blame the cost of healthcare on the them. Check the facts. The insurance company premiums are based 100% on the claims activity. If the claims are made the premiums must be adjusted. Doctors and medical facilities bill according to their costs'… notice when you get the statements from your insurance company, that the doctors office billed 500 and the insurance only paid 200? That is because the doctors offices are over charging for the requested service. They are the ones driving the sports cars and live in the mansions on the hill.

      Just a thought….

    87. TJ, TN says:

      promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.

      I'm sorry, maybe you can provide some less biased sources. How about some testimony from actual people from Canada and England. I can give you that, can your biased source give you that? Any organization that is promoting capitalism is going to try to persuade your opinion to their side. They are NOT on your side, they are on the side of money.

      Do yourself a favour, get a notebook and start interviewing people. Use your brain and make decisions based on facts and experience, not biased reporting. It is time America learned to educate themselves and quit depending on biased websites.

      When you lose your house due to capitalist healthcare….then maybe you'll see

    88. William, Arlington says:

      TJ – If you look at the studies this article cites at http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649, you would see that the facts cited are statistics from places like the Centers for Disease Control, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Department of Health in England. Statistics don't lie, and those are government sources. Statistics are more accurate than anecdotal interviews that you suggest, namely because the ones cited are comprehensive of an entire country.

    89. Stogy, Japan says:

      "Statistics don’t lie"

      Ha. Funny! There are "lies, damn lies and statistics" (Disraeli/Twain).

      If you cherry-pick the statistics that show your cause to be true, and leave out the ones that don't, it's easy to come up with whatever result you want.

      Here is a slightly more academic study comparing Canadian and US medical care systems than those ten, nicely packaged half 'truths':


    90. darnell boise says:

      Remember its the hmo's and the insurance companies that are in charge of so called great health care needs.In american of course we more mri's machine's per millions than Canada and the united kingdom, because we have a bigger popl. than those 2 counties put together.an other thing health in american is nothing more that BIG BUSINESS CAPITALISM at it best.If someone who has been with a insurance more x amount of years and than they get something cancer not form smoking,the insurance company will find away to drop you.it story like all across american.and one other thing if the insurance care so much for the working america why are they not lowering the cost of health care.and what does the republican party say about health take care of yourself.I don't know any ask for a term.illness.

    91. Christian Rasmussen, says:


    92. Pingback: Top Ten Foundry Posts of 2009 | Conservative Principles Now

    93. Pingback: Top Ten Foundry Posts of 2009 | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    94. Dave, Indiana says:

      Why do a large percentage of people agianst UHC always personally attack the pro-UHC people in debates like this (i.e "you're a fool/ignoramous", "grow up", or some other passive-aggressive way to put down people)? It's a large difference in vice-versa. Why must anti-UHC debate in such a way? There are some pro-UHC that use baseless attacks such as this, but no where near as much compared to anit-UHC.

      There is absolutely no need for it and you hurt your cause. Refrain from this as I am anit-UHC and it makes all of our attempts to persuade people very hard to do. They have many good reasons for this, as do we. (We have more though)

    95. ken says:

      Did you know that over 80% of this country is uninsured and does not have access to any of the medical miracles listed in this article!!! Whats my source of this information you ask? I will tell you as soon as you tell me where you get all your magic numbers from!!! And why don't you put in the rest of the numbers there "friend". Why don't you list the rest of the information that shows how many Americans actually get to see any of these treatments. Your only listing those that actually have access, NOT THE ONES THAT CAN'T AFFORD IT! If you going to tell a lie at least make sure its not so obvious.

    96. Darris says:

      it seems to be an argument against government run healthcare

      but number 10, I do not get that one

      how does that have to do with government run healthcare?

      you think the doctors would want to stop conducting tests just because the government pays them?


    97. Parth, New Jersey says:

      What a bunch of Bull…

      This is cherry picking at its best. So, your stats show that a person with this particular cancers have better chance of surviving in U.S. How about some actual stats that effect millions and millions of people.

      How about the fact that we spend more money than any other country; and yet, we don't provide the best service nor do we cover every American citizen.

      How about the fact that, our premiums and costs in health care go up at an absolutely abnormal rate.

      How about the cruel reality that, in America, if you have preexisting condition, you can lose your insurance or not even get one in first place.

      How about the fact that, more Americans die due to preventable cause then in any other country.

      Please…wise up…look at the actual facts and the only way you would be against a health care reform in America is actually if you hate America.

    98. Savantuay says:

      I am sorry, but this man is misleading anyone who reads this. while some of these figures may very well be true, how do we know? He has not provided sources to the data he has posted, and it could be unreliable. don't believe what you read, especially in a blog, unless it can be backed up with hard evidence of proper research.

    99. J Demartinis says:

      I have been exchanging views with someone who tells me all the stats show that European, Canadian, etc. healthcare is better than ours. Her info has different stats than you show. I certainly trust what you publish, but how do I persuade her that this info is the correct info?

    100. lindsey says:

      this is a good web site but need more facets

    101. Mich Nic, Belgium says:

      Here in belgium we have a social health care system, and ik can tell you that it works! Well, it isn't always that efficient, and it's not the pure version of social health care, but when we need to go to a doctor, we're helped pretty quickly.

      There are no long waiting list, and the quality of our health care is fine.

      To my opinion, it's just selfish to stand against such a health care system, because health care is a base right, you need it for survival, and everyone that lives in your own country should have that right!

    102. Marvin, Las Vegas Ne says:

      While everyone that goes into an emergency room gets the care they need. Everyone that needs care beyond the emergency room does not get the care they need. I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with people who can't cover their simple cost of living because of the cost of medical care that their insurance will not cover.

      While I love this country with all my heart, I do not agree with most of your generalized claims that our health care system is okay the way it is. Nor can we continue to "start over" when democrates and republicans can't focus on everyday people versus their own need to add pork to their daily diet of representing you and I.

      As for all the polls we take, when will we just take time to visit our elderly in nursing homes, or the middle and lower class American's that I talk to everyday in my business. I can tell you when an insurance company like Blue Cross / Blue Shield can raise their rates by 40 to 50% and get approval; and the fact that we would rather stand outside of capital hill and shout racial slurs or allow special interest groups and selfish, greedy politicans, who have direct relationships to the insurance industry, to air television ads that spread half truths and incomplete news bytes. None of which deal with the reality of what everyday people are going through.

      There are children right now who can't get transplants or complete medical care because they don't have insurance to cover it. The insurance company currently has the right to deny coverage, and that child gets to die or live on the crest of death. And some of you want to kill a bill that stops insurance companies from denying coverage. And still some of you claim that Obama's bill (Not really his bill) will create death squads and cause us to loss our private coverage. Where is your proof of this, or do you consider 60 second television ads to be a substitute for getting all the facts. I guess if Rush said it, then it's true. What the devil do you think insurance companies are doing right now. And they make a profit. Just ask Clive Killingsworth, CEO for Blue Cross, who gave himself a raise in 2007 and again in 2009. All while claiming that profits were down. How about United Health, Aetna and Cigna, each of them raised their rates in 2008 and 2009. They each reported profits in 2009, during one of the worst recessions (the politically correct word for depression), in history. Combined they had a 56 percent jump in profits from 2008. Don't believe me:

      Come on people lets think. Ask yourself if you are willing to reduce your child, your spouse or your parents to nothing more than a EBITA statement for the same wallstreet that now owns billions in foreclosed / defaulted subprime loans. And while American's live longer than Canadian or Europeans, how many of our sick and dying really care about that. I think that those people who can't afford the best heart medication, the best doctors or the best preventative care, couldn't care less about that information. We are in America, not Canada, not Europe, America. So lets not waste a sick and/or dying persons time on debating who's is bigger and better shall we.

      And as far as the cost of this bill. Look at where we spend money right now. The wars have cost us $973 billion dollars so far and as of Jan 2010, costing us $720 million dollars a day. And does anyone know why we spent all that money in Iraq. (And no there were no WMD's). We have 308 million people in the us, 26 million people are unemployed or underemployed. In the last 15 months over 5 million americans have lost their employer provided health coverage. We are upset about the cost of a bill that saves lives far more than the reaction to the cost of a war that hasn't produced Bin Laden.

      This is my "GET YOU HEAD OUT OF THE SAND" rant.

    103. Marvin, Las Vegas Ne says:

      FYI can we get the date fixed. We are in March of 2010.

    104. Marvin, Las Vegas Ne says:


      Make sure you know that facts. Insurance companies do not raise their rates on just claims or claims paid. They are also based on projected profits that they forecast. That means that if they aren't seeing the profits at levels that keep their DSO's below a certain percentage, they will raise rates and even change policies to reduce coverage to cut costs and increase profits. By design, insurance companies are set up to make a profit on getting as many new policies, renewals and added coverage as possible while paying out a little as possible.

    105. don gould says:

      getting sick and loosing you home to med bills is the issue european people live 3 years longer than americans 330 million time 3 years that means americans could live 990,000,000 longer which would enable them to pay at 10%of there income 33,000,000 per year thats billions the trouble is that the med industry wants 990,000,000 per year of peoples skins and will give up nothing to get it and they want to scare the shit out of americans by telling half lies not half truths thank you I do not expect this to be added to your comments

      Don Gould Canada i am happy with my second rate health care but the trouble here is our politicians are selling out to american med industry that is the problem here.I got mine so F you happens here too !!!

    106. Barbara says:


    107. Questioning Carl says:

      I would love to see your sources for all the claims you've made. Whether your "facts" are correct or incorrect or not, the only issue I see is that you've made claims that cannot be researched or backed up. For all I know, you've created these figures for yourself in a way to support your side. Shabby journalism at best.

    108. Kelvin Man says:

      Very interesting facts you posted, I would have never thought of this…careers in healthcare

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