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realclearworld

Healthcare Schmealthcare

I've always been amazed at how people are so easily convinced that healthcare is THE most important issue that we as humans have to deal with. Well, actually that's not hard to understand. All of us know that health is the most important thing, otherwise what else is there? The problem lies in the mixing of terms. People have come to use "healthcare" as a catch-all for everything but most importantly for the financing of medical treatment. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone that seriously believes that United States on average has poorly trained doctors. Or that hospitals in the U.S. are substandard. Or that treatments are antiquated. What you do find is people that are fed up with the COST of all these things. We're constantly told that other countries do it better. The examples are usually European "social democracies" and Canada. But some, like Michael Moore put Cuba up there as an example too.

One of the things that I always think about when having one of these debates with the nitwits who have bought into the idea of socialized medicine is that people leave those countries to come live here in far greater numbers than Americans go to those places.

I was just looking at the naturalization statistics from 2009 and was interested to see that last year 90,149 Europeans became American citizens. That's a Rose Bowl sized stadium of people that must be too dumb to recognize the great health systems they left behind. Notably 10,060 of them were from Great Britain. Additionally there were 37,130 people from China naturalized, 31,168 from Vietnam, 9,753 from Canada and 24,891 from Cuba, the crown jewel of socialized healthcare propaganda.

I guess all of these people have a death wish or something. Or perhaps what we're being told is wrong. Either the healthcare systems in these "more enlightened" countries aren't what they're cracked up to be or the problems with the financing of healthcare here in America are overstated when compared to other issues like personal and economic freedoms.

Just something to think about on this tax day as we begin to fund the latest giant leap toward the failed policies of other countries. Where will Americans migrate to when we're like most of the rest of the world?

8 comments to Healthcare Schmealthcare

  • What people fail to recognize is the fact that those countries in particular let's take places like Denmark, Norway and Sweden which seem to excel have a) smaller population and b) very strict rules that would cause the ACLU to implode. Yes their citizens pay a huge amount in taxes to get free healthcare and education through university. But also only citizens are able to partake in this, and they have very efficient management of these systems because of point a. It would be the equivalent of a state initiative not a federal one.

  • Which life saving treatments and drugs are coming out of those countries?

  • Mojito_Fan

    "Which life saving treatments and drugs are coming out of those countries?"

    Henry, assuming you are speaking about Europe in general, then I would have to say that I don't know exactly which drugs ... but given that five of the seven largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are based in Europe (i.e., Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, and AstraZeneca), I'm guessing that there must be more than a few.

  • It should also be noted, Mojito Fan, that all those European pharma companies you mentioned derive a huge portion, if not a majority, of their revenues from the US market. They may be based in Europe, but without the US market they wouldn't have the capital to fund their vast R&D operations that come up with all those drugs.

  • Mojito_Fan

    Alberto, that's not really true. Lots of those companies were large and successful European success stories, long before America started spending as much on drugs as it does today. GlaxoSmithKline's roots, for instance, date back to 1880. Roche dates back to 1896.

    Roche, the largest of the companies I listed, even today only does about a third of its business in the U.S. ... most of its income is from Europe and Asia. And whereas its annual growth in the U.S. is 5%, its growth in Europe is 12% and in Asia between 20% and 29%. So Europe and Asia is really where the money and customers are these days.

  • I was referring specifically to "Denmark, Norway and Sweden" which were the countries that Ventanita mentioned as the exemplars of socialized medicine. But Alberto is really right. When you take away markets where you make PROFIT (not sales) what businesses will invest in R&D if they can't make money?

  • Mojito_Fan

    While I obviously agree with the statement that a company has to make PROFIT to succeed, I just disagree with the idea that these companies would not be successful without the U.S. market. I see no evidence of that in the annual reports or news releases. Last quarter, for instance, it was sales in Europe and Japan that drove the profits for Roche, not the sales in the U.S.

    Anyway, I don't mean to be argumentative. I just think people often forget how significant the markets in Asia and Europe (for all manner of products) are these days.

  • Whoa Henry, I didn't mention them as "exemplars of socialized medicine". I mentioned them as exemplars of an efficient taxing and government spending system due to the civil restrictions and low population numbers, as compared to the US and a federal program.