The good news is that we don’t have to theorize about unproven solutions to our health care problems. Two wealthy countries have health care systems that, if we could substitute them for our own, would exceed the wildest dreams of American conservative reformers. Switzerland and Singapore achieve universal coverage while spending a fraction of what we spend, and they ensure broad access to high-quality doctors and the latest technology.
National Health SHAMBLES: Three damning reports describe mothers abandoned during labour, serious hospital blunders every day and how patients have lost faith in their GPs | Mail OnlineDecember 16, 2013
Three damning reports last night laid bare the crisis in NHS hospitals, maternity units and GP surgeries.One investigation revealed that a quarter of new mothers were abandoned by their midwives during labour, with some left to give birth on the floor or in corridors.The second found that mistakes deemed so serious they should never happen are being made in hospitals five times a week.And the third survey said thousands of patients have all but given up trying to secure appointments with their family doctor.
Because of long queues for surgery and expensive private health care at home, more and more Finns are turning to private hospitals in Estonia. However, in cases of malpractice, seeking compensation may prove difficult.
In fact, Canada has one of the lowest physician-to-population ratios in the developed world. Add fixed hospital budgets and the monopolization of health insurance by the government, and you get a universal access health care system that also fails to provide access to services in a timely manner. The most recent annual survey of wait times in Canada revealed that patients have to wait approximately four and a half months on average to receive treatment for medically necessary elective procedures after referral from a general practitioner (whom many Canadians also have a hard time finding). While the wait is shorter for cancer patients (about a month), we also have to remember the long wait patients face for access to diagnostic imaging technologies like MRIs (over two months on average) and CT scanners (almost a month on average) which are vital for assisting in making the diagnosis in the first place. Such delays can have large impacts on cancer patients given the possibility that the size of a cancerous tumor doubles every four months.
The medical organization said the doctors are routinely required to be available for work for stretches of as many as 36 hours straight, and can work 100 hours a week, breaching European employment law and putting patients\’ safety at risk.
The government doesn\’t dispute that some of the shifts may violate European law, and has been in negotiations with the IMO for more than two years to identify ways to reduce hours.
Health emergency: On eve of Obamacare, Britain’s NHS needs political therapy | WashingtonExaminer.comOctober 8, 2013
One of the more recent scandals has its roots in the 1990s, when the NHS established a set of best practices for providing care to patients at the end of their lives. Known as the Liverpool Care Pathway, it has since been applied to hundreds of thousands of people. Last November, the Mail reported, an independent review found that 60,000 people were put on the pathway without their consent and a third of the time families weren\’t even informed. Thus, they had no idea that their close relatives were removed from life support equipment and were being denied nourishment. In extreme cases, nurses shouted at relatives who attempted to give their dying loved ones sips of water. According to the Mail, hospitals were given incentive payments for putting more people on the pathway – effectively, the government was providing bonuses for ending people\’s lives earlier.
In July, the government said it would phase out the pathway after its own review concluded, “Caring for the dying must never again be practiced as a tick-box exercise and each patient must be cared for according to their individual needs.”
Just a few days ago, I wrote about how Singapore has been a go-to for many of my move conservative colleagues, who think it’s a much more market friendly alternative to the ACA. I think that many of them underestimate how much “government” there is in the system. Today, all that is a bit irrelevant, because Singapore announced that however much government is involved, it’s not nearly enough (emphasis mine):
Health in the U.S. and other rich countries: We pay more in health care but are sicker. – Slate MagazineJuly 24, 2013
Our health depends on much more than just medical care. Behaviors such as diet, physical activity, and even how fast we drive all have profound effects. So do the environments that expose us to health risks or discourage healthy living, as well as social determinants of health, such as education, income, and poverty.
The United States fares poorly in almost all of these. In addition to many millions of people lacking health insurance, financial barriers to care, and a lack of primary care providers compared with other rich countries, people in the United States consume more calories, are more sedentary, abuse more drugs, and shoot one another more often. The United States also lags behind on many measures of education, has higher child poverty and income inequality, and lower social mobility than most other advanced democracies.
A new study has found that dementia rates among people 65 and older in England and Wales have plummeted by 25 percent over the past two decades, to 6.2 percent from 8.3 percent, a trend that researchers say is probably occurring across developed countries and that could have major social and economic implications for families and societies.
Sir Brian told the BBC: “One of the basic problems is that the government is responsible for provision of the health service but also for the monitoring of it.
“The NHS is very popular, and quite rightly so, in the country, and they don’t want a bad news story for electoral purposes.”
In an interview with Sky News, he said: “When they had a problem with quality, they couldn’t really say what it was, so things were suppressed…. spin.