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Oh Canada! - excellent NY Times letter response on health reform

Posted Nov 08 2009 10:00pm
I read an extroidinarilary good comment on this article   in the "Prescriptions Blog" NY Times today that I thought was worth reprinting. It was a response to another comment from a Canadian chastising the United States and pointing out what an absurd and misleading benchmark it is to compare the systems and problems of Canada to the United States in many respects
“Let me tell you about my life. We (Canadians) have health care that is equal to that which an insured American gets for about 1/3 the cost. ”



Let me tell you about Canada. It is 1/10 the size of the US. There is this thing called scaling. Take any program and scale it up 10x and see what happens.


First off it is about 1/2 the cost, not 1/3. US is 2.2x more expensive per capita.

Healthcare is not equal. The infamous study that ranked the US so low overall grugding concluded it was tops in choice and quality. Per capita spending is about double for Canada.
But guess what, the US is top in a number of things that add to that cost. Some examples:
#1 in teen pregnancy (20 times more than Canada)
#1 in obesity (more than twice that of Canada)
#2 in abortions (about 15 times more than Canada)


“We pay about 1/2 the cost for prescription drugs.”
Because the US is in effect subsidizing the Canadian government’s negotiated prices.


“We have about 1/10 the level of gun violence in our country”
Which means healthcare in the US has to be higher to cover those violence related injuries. Which are treated in emergency rooms so they are very expensive.


The US has about, at low estimate, 12M illegals. Canada, by high estimate, has 120K. That is 100x more in the US.

So, once you tried to scale the Canadian system into the US with its differing problems, but trying to keep the same high choice and high quality levels, I would not be surprised to see that medical costs per capita would be very similar to what they are today. Single payer being cheaper per capita in the US than what we have now has NEVER been substantiated. What single payer in the US would do is make it APPEAR cheaper (how many post here have talked about FREE Canadian or English healthcare) to many by placing a higher burnen on higher income earners. The Dems don’t want single payer because it will reduce overall costs, they want it because it can easily be turned into the most progressive payments system around.

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