Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Health care

Here's Angry Bear:

The data very consistently shows that the US does not have a very good health care system when measured in terms of the health of its people, or when measured in terms of how its citizens feel about the health care they get... and it has a horrible health care system when these mediocre outcomes are juxtaposed with its astronomical costs.

But this is just a sample; there's virtually no metric in which the US health care system provides better care than those of other countries, other than in care for the very rich. The reality is that the average person in the US receives mediocre care that is extremely expensive.Here's some anecdotal evidence from commenter Lucian K. Truscott IV at Political Animal:
I have a conservative Republican friend who got a diagnosis of colon cancer recently. He had very poor but quite expensive HMO insurance and looked into what the treatment and cost would be. Answer: surgery which would have left him on a colostomy bag, expensive co-pay, and over the max coverage he had.

His sister lives in Paris, so he flew over there. Upon landing in France, he became eligible for health coverage. He was afforded the very best and most up-to date treatment for colon cancer -- it gets technical, but it involved shrinking the tumor with radiation and then surgery, which meant he didn't need a colostomy bag. He was treated over a period of almost a year, and has been back a couple of times for check-ups to make sure the cancer hasn't come back. Cost: about $1000. To his credit, he thinks the American way of health is insane.

There must be some downside to switching to a French model, or else one would expect we already would have done so. What is it? That's an honest question, as I have no idea about this stuff.