Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Tragedy Of EU Socialized Medicine

Medicine managed by government kills.

And this is what some people want here in our country?
Is this what we have to look forward to?

A heart-attack victim was forced to wait 20 minutes, although the emergency vehicles were 5 minutes away. The man died because European Union rules mandated by the European Working Time Directive, adopted in December, require that ambulance crews working shifts between six and 10 hours long are allocated a rest break of 30 minutes and cannot be sent out on 999 calls – (the UK equivalent to 911 emergencies in the U.S.). So the ambulance crew that was on call was on break and could not be dispatched.

The London Ambulance Service, which has launched an investigation of the incident, confirmed that two crews were on a mandated break at a station five minutes away from the shopping center where the man had a heart attack, but they could not be disturbed, the London Daily Mail reported.

As a result an ambulance had to be dispatched from a neighboring community, but it did not arrive for over 20 minutes after the original emergency phone call.
"It is disgusting," said eyewitness Sheldon Trevatt of Edmonton. "The man worked all his life paying his national insurance. If that ambulance had been there earlier I think his life would have been saved.”
I don't know about you but this is one of many horror stories that I have heard regarding socialized medicine.

Here are several reasons why government controlled healthcare is a bad idea.

1) Destroys patient incentives to find the best possible prices for the best possible services/products available.
2) Destroys physician incentives to provide competitive care and destroys drug companies' incentives to provide new drugs and treatments.
3) Steals from your wallet to pay for my health care.
4) The quality of "free" health care will deteriorate and the average citizen will get sicker.
5) Destroys your privacy.
6) Destroys your liberty.


Anonymous said...

Isn't this what we currently have in our health care system? 1) Destroys patient incentive to find best prices . . .--sounds like Managed Care; 2) Destroys physician incentives . . .--currently physicians have incentives from hospitals to get patients out as quickly as possible, hardly in the best interest of patients; 3) Steals from your wallet to pay for my health care--isn't that the basis of insurance and managed care? 4) deteriorate health care and average citizen will get sicker,--disparities in our health care system are proving this to be true. Socialized medicine is certainly not ideal, but neither are broad-based fear appeals that assume our current system is democratic.

Dana said...

I remember when I needed emergency care in Germany. Care was ok (it wasn't a life threatening emergency). But the doctor didn't know lbs and I didn't know kilos so he guessed my weight. The procedure is something I've had multiple times in the takes all of 10 minutes, but I woke up 14 hours later in a supply closet. As soon as I opened my eyes, they called home and I was sent home, although my host family had to carry me to the car and I was delirious for another day.

Not normal!

In a London ER, after bleeding all over their chairs for two hours, I finally got to see the physician who told me I was miscarrying, there was nothing to do until Monday and it would be better to go back to Germany where I already had a Monday appointment. Miscarriages can be dangerous! I could have bled to death. Luckily, the diagnosis was wrong, and my daughter is now 8.

Anon...the biggest problem with our system is that it is semi-socialized. The problems you describe are related to care being directed by someone other than the physician. If it is this bad with a corporation, imagine how much worse it would be with a government.

Judy Aron said...

Dana - I agree.

The problems that we currently have in our health care system stem from a few reasons. Mostly it is a result of too much government regulation!

There are good and bad Managed Care plans, but as a consumer you still can choose from among them. The bad Managed Care Plans will go out of business and others will grow. A managed care plan may limit you to finding the best prices etc., because they are not managed by you - they are managed by others. You still have a choice to see what the plan offers and what it lacks. Health Savings accounts are growing in popularity because they allow you to shop around and make your own choices. The best plans are the ones that offer you the most freedom to choose.

Physician's incentives can be hampered in our current system, but that is because individual physicians may choose to follow directives set by the hospitals or managed care plans that they work with. If they don't like the limits or directives set forth by certain plans then they can always choose not to participate. I know physicians who do exactly that. They refuse to have someone else dictate how they treat their patients or how long they choose to keep them in the hospital. if people are getting good care from those doctors then they are apt to continue giving them their business. That is market driven medicine.

Insurance and Managed care plans may use their income to subsidize other members' participation in their plans, but they have control over that themselves. If they as a business choose to give other people a break on participation that is their business and effectively has an impact on their bottom line. If they do it too often they will lose money and go out of business.

I never said managed care was perfect - nor are rules some doctors abide by, but I much prefer having private business take care of our health than government because the market will help dictate what is successful to do and what is not. Government is wasteful and slow and not responsive to people's needs.

Really the bottom line here is that the purpose of government is not to provide health care! Their one size fits all notion of health care is not a desirable model, in my opinion, and I would much rather see many options and plans in the private sector to choose from.

Dana said...

I agree, Judy. And if a company had a policy which obviously was directed at shortening the life of an expensive case, you can imagine the public outcry. And the fact that, if the money were raised, there would be an alternative. Perhaps it has to do with other things, but I cannot help but wonder why it is that in European nations where socialized medicine is the norm, we see so much more discussion of death as a viable prescription for problems, including depression in a 12 yo?

If United Health Care went that route, it would be seen completely differently.