Socialized Medicine, the failed experiment Krugman loves

I had a suspicious mole removed last week and the doctor who did the surgery was from Sweden. Wonderful man, and he’s done this for me many times and never left a scar. He worked under socialized medicine and he hates it. As he was working on me, he related a few horror stories, and he ended with this pronouncement: Socialized medicine is what they play on the streets in the city, a 3-card monte. It sounds great, people think they’ve got what they need, but in the end, the system cannot sustain itself and the patient pays the price. It does not work.

He praised health care in America, conceding that it does have its share of problems, “nothing great is without complexities and problems, but America has outstanding health care, all things considered. I have not become rich practicing medicine, because I don’t work with HMO’s, but I have been my own man. I treat the patient the way my training and my gut tells me to treat them, and now I am happy practicing medicine.”

Liberty. What a concept.

I should add that my own insurance does not cover this doctor’s services, but he is such a good doctor that my hubby and I have reached into our savings to see him about surgical needs and – from time to time – other health issues, so I’m not writing from some exalted place where our monetary outlay is a pittance and we have no idea what things really cost. But if I can, I’d frankly rather pay a little more and see the doctor of my choice than “settle” for some of the physicians I have encountered through my “plan.”

Dr. David Gratzer writes that Paul Krugman has been focusing rather exclusively, lately, on socialized medicine, “Hillarycare,” and he’s finding it troubling:

Krugman again:
Amazing, isn’t it? U.S. health care is so expensive that our government spends more on health care than the governments of other advanced countries, even though the private sector pays a far higher share of the bills. . . . What do we get for all that money? Not much.

Actually, if we measure a health care system by how well it serves its sick citizens, American medicine excels. Comparing breast cancer statistics in Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and the United States, market analyst Datamonitor finds that 95 percent of American women are diagnosed in early stages (I or II). In contrast, a full 20 percent of European women are diagnosed in late stages. WHO data on five-year survival rates for various types of cancers bear this out. For leukemia the American survival rate is almost 50 percent; the European rate, just 35 percent. Esophageal carcinoma: 12 percent in the United States, 6 percent in Europe. Say what you want about the problems of American health care, but for those stricken with disease, there’s no better place to be than the United States.

Typical Krugman. Everything is bad if it is American and the left hasn’t had a chance to “reform” it.

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • MyssiAnn

    No, I really *don’t* want to read the whole thing. It makes me sick to my stomach to listen to people complain about how we don’t “take care of the poor” in this country. I work in healthcare. I *know* that no one who wants treatment goes untreated. I *know* how hard I personally work to make sure that we get every dime possible from insurance companies to pay for the care of the uninsured and I know where to refer the uninsured for affordable primary care, if they want it. So, no, Mr. Krugman’s opinion isn’t worth my time, I’ve got patients to take care of instead.

  • Bookworm

    Twenty years ago, before the British healthcare system had declined as far as it has today, I lived there and experienced it. It was dreadful. A friend of mine reported that her mother was in a wheelchair because she had a knee problem. Surgery would easily fix it — but the mother was in a year-long line for that surgery. Interestingly, then, more and more people who could afford it were opting out for something called (if I remember) BUPA, which was essentially Blue Cross. In other words, the rich were abandoning socialized medicine to the poor — pretty much what we have here, with the rich insured, and the poor using MediCare and other subsidized approaches to medicine. The difference here is that, with the critical mass of people privately insured, the overall quality of our medical care is infinitely better than in a country where the critical mass is uninsured.

  • Tom

    Actually, MyssiAnn, the link is to an article which debunks Krugger’s column. It is very well worth the read…