Monday, May 23, 2011

Waiting for care?

Sooner or later in just about every debate over national health care reform the issue of waiting times for services comes up.  A widely held belief is that in the U. S. we don't have to wait for our care, at least not as long as citizens of other developed nations who have some form of universal health coverage.  In light of that notion, I found this report from Ezra Klein enlightening. 

America’s waiting times are the worst in the developed world

By Ezra Klein

Any discussion of waiting times must begin with the observation that France, Germany, Switzerland and many other developed nations manage to combine universal access to care with rapid access to care. It’s an unfortunate quirk of international health-care policy that Canada and England, the two countries that do struggle with waiting times, happen to be the two nearby, English-speaking countries in the sample, and so our impressions of government-run health-care systems are disproportionately influenced by their experiences.

That said, it’s important to understand that America also struggles with waiting times. Someone who can’t afford to go to the doctor, or can’t afford to purchase an elective surgery, waits. In some cases, they wait forever. In some cases, they’re killed by the delay. But we don’t count them as having “waited” for care, and so they don’t show up in measures of American waits. But which would you prefer? A three-month delay for an elective surgery? Or no surgery at all?.

To read the entire report click here.



belinda said...

it's very confusing to me why the U.S. is the only "civilized" nation without universal health care. it seems to work for other countries - why wouldn't it work here? i forgot - it would put the rich insurance companies out of business. silly me.

Anonymous said...

Silly you, Belinda!

French Pharmacies Face Bankruptcy Risk, Le Parisien Reports
By Rudy Ruitenberg -

French pharmacy sales are falling after a government effort to rein in healthcare costs, and 24 percent of France’s 22,259 pharmacies are at a “strong risk” of bankruptcy in 2011, Le Parisien reported, citing estimates by credit-insurance company Coface.

"France on average has one pharmacy for every 2,849 inhabitants, and 126 pharmacies went out of business last year, according to the newspaper. The number of pharmacy bankruptcies in 2010 was three times that in 2006, Le Parisien said."

Related, the World Health Organization reports on the most overweight nations:

The United States gets criticized for being one of the fatter nations in the world. I've always wondered if that was true. Turns out its not. The United States it #9 in terms of the most obese nations from around the world.

Below is the list of the Top 20 most overweight countries in the world with the percentage of the population that's overweight.

Country % Overweight or obese
1. Nauru 94.5
2. Federated States of Micronesia 91.1
3. Cook Islands 90.9
4. Tonga 90.8
5. Niue 81.7
6. Samoa 80.4
7. Palau 78.4
8. Kuwait 74.2
9. United States 74.1
10. Kiribati 73.6
11. Dominica 71.0
12. Barbados 69.7
13. Argentina 69.4
14. Egypt 69.4
15. Malta 68.7
16. Greece 68.5
17. New Zealand 68.4
18. United Arab Emirates 68.3
19. Mexico 68.1
20. Trinidad and Tobago 67.9


Why don't all of use save the US healthcare system some serious cash by losing 20 pounds or so?