The thrill of ice. “Universal” health care.

My car was covered with a layer of ice this morning. It’s hard to explain the satisfaction of removing it with the scraper. I could not stop with just the windows. It was like excavating my car, as if it were an ancient artificact. But there was also something in how the ice have off – in huger chunks, sliding off the surfaces, like peeling a hard-boiled egg when it all comes off at once. (I think this occurs when the egg is still warm, as I read in Kitchen Science. Anyway, other residents of my apartment complex needed to get to work, and did a quick-and-dirty job. I had no intention of driving anywhere, and I took my time with it.

The Democratic presidential candidates are making health care an issue again. They call it “Universal Health Care”, so anyone who opposes it sounds like a real “meanee.” I must be spelling that wrong. It seems that people like this idea for the same reason they’d like a law outlawing illness. Of course, such a law could not prevent illness, and would be silly. Yet, can the same be said for “universal health care”? A popular meme is that “the United States is the only civilized country without [insert policy being advocated],” which implies that all the other countries are correct on this issue.”

So, for health care, how would this claim be verified? After some thought, I came up with survival rate statistics. Or, more personally, if you found yourself with a disease, e.g., a type of cancer, heart condition, organ failure, etc., what country would you want to be in? I mean, if the health care system is so much better in Canada or England, then shouldn’t people be cured of diseases, or at least survive longer with them, than in the United States? This sounds pretty reasonable.

Well, with a little effort, I found this study that finds “U.S. patients have better survival rates than European patients for most types of cancer.” Well, there’s a start. Another report, by the NCPA, also mentions long waiting periods for surgery and lack the lack of advance diagnostic technology in countries with socialized medicine.


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Filed under economics, musings

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