July 16, 2006

Weekend Question 3: Do You Have Three More Good Reasons Why Nationalized Medicine Doesn’t Work?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 2:14 pm

Answer: Oh yeah, at least three more.

The newly-blogrolled Socialized Medicine web site come up with many such reasons each week. Here is a sample of them from just the past 7 days.

This is a Positivity Story, But No Thanks to the British NHS

James Smart is alive despite nationalized health care, not because of it (SocMed link; HT Amy Ridenour):

Meningitis boy comes back ‘from the dead’
By Louisa Barnett

WHEN doctors turned off James Smart’s life-support machine after he had spent ten days in a coma, his mother believed that her two-year-old son could not survive.

But, against all odds, James started to breathe on his own and is on his way to a full recovery.

Yesterday he played at home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, as his mother, Ellie Craven, 21, told how he came back from the brink of death.

James had shown no sign of life after contracting pneumococcal meningitis. Doctors feared that if he survived he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. But, two months after being released from hospital, he continues to amaze medical staff.

I have attempted to learn, but have been unable to determine, whether the 10-day plug-pull was based on local judgment or on mandated National Health Service (NHS) policy. In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter. One would think that “amazed” medical staff might rethink how they handle children in similar situations in the future, but somehow I doubt it.

Mistakes Go Uncorrected

Remember this the next time you hear about the US system’s “error rate” (SocMed link):

Thousands of lives are being put at risk every year in the NHS because of the Government’s failure to set up an effective system to monitor patient safety and prevent mistakes recurring, an influential cross-party committee said yesterday. A report by the Committee of Public Accounts, the parliamentary spending watchdog, describes the performance of the National Patient Safety Agency, which was set up to improve safety in health settings, as “extremely weak” and “dysfunctional”.

In 2004-05 there were more than 1.2 million safety incidents and near-misses, half of which could have been avoided if health trusts had learnt from past mistakes. The report, which is based on work by the National Audit Office and evidence from the Department of Health, the safety agency and the Chief Medical Officer, concludes that a culture of secrecy and inadequate safety regulation is preventing error reduction in the NHS.

Rapes and Assaults at Mental Health Units in British Hospitals

This is a national scandal, and is getting the “oh well” treatment from NHS honchos:

WOMEN were the victims of more than 100 incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in NHS mental health units over two years, according to a confidential report being held by the Government.
The Times has learnt that the report, which gives details of more than ten rapes and, in a single year, three unwanted pregnancies, has yet to be published eight months after it was received by the Department of Health.

The findings bring into question the Government’s claim to have set up single-sex wards that are safe and ensure personal dignity across the health service. The pledge, made by Tony Blair in 1996, was supposed to have been met by the end of 2002.

Mental health campaigners said the report confirmed growing fears that the Government was compromising patient safety in some of the country’s mental health trusts and psychiatric wards in district general hospitals.

As SocMed says: “Can you imagine the litigation if these were private hospitals? Handwringing is all you get from government hospitals.”

SocMed’s position is simply this:

For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run — with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation.

Agreed.
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Selected Previous Posts:

  • July 14 — Patient Self-Diagnosis: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
  • July 12 — Ugly Consequences of Nationalized Medicine Update (UK Emergency Room Closures)
  • May 28 — Remind Me, Why Is Nationalized Health Care Described As “Free”?
  • May 26 — Oklahoma Medicaid Choice Brings in Common Sense
  • May 25 — Nationalized Health Care Can Kill You — Literally
  • May 11 — Ugly Consequences, Part 4: Canadian docs are coming to the US
  • May 11 — Ugly Consequences, Part 3: To Save Money, They Define ‘Emergencies’ Down
  • May 11 — Ugly Consequences, Part 2: The government can move you up or down the waiting list for political reasons
  • April 9 — Ugly Consequences, Part 1: An Inevitablility: Withholding of Care in ‘Hard’ Cases
  • Feb. 25 — On Baby Charlotte, Euthanasia and Socialized Medicine
  • Feb. 9, 2006 — Walter Williams on Why Health Care Is Not a Right
  • Oct. 11, 2005 — EU Rota Analyzes Health Care Spending in Various Countries
  • Oct. 2 — NY State Medicaid Spending: Surely This Can’t Be (But It Is)
  • Aug. 12 — Another Country We Should NOT Imitate (the Cost of “Free” Canadian Health Care)

Weekend Question 2: Why Will Employer Verification Not Totally Solve the Illegal Worker Problem?

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 10:10 am

Jerry Seper of The Washington Times gives us the answer (HT Porkopolis):

Social Security uncovers illegal workers

Privacy concerns prevent the Social Security Administration from notifying an employer that a hired foreign national is not authorized to work in this country, including someone who may be a potential national security risk, says a government audit.

The audit, by the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General, also found the agency fears employers will improperly terminate the illegal workers who have been issued Social Security numbers, leading to “adverse publicity.”

“Unauthorized work by noncitizens weakens [Social Security number] integrity and may require that the agency pay benefits to these individuals,” said Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr. in the audit.

“In addition, noncitizens who work without (Department of Homeland Security) authorization could affect homeland security because they may obtain employment in sensitive areas.”

Since 2003, the SSA has issued Social Security numbers, dubbed “non-working,” to foreign nationals who need them to collect state or federal benefits, such as public assistance.

The audit released last month as immigration-reform debate heated up on Capitol Hill says 109,064 foreign nationals used their non-working Social Security numbers to report earnings at 100 companies reviewed between 2001 to 2002. It said hundreds of thousands more also are using their Social Security cards illegally.

The report said employers that posted the largest number of illegal wage earners were government, retail and universities, and the largest number of noncitizens with earnings under a non-working Social Security number were from Mexico, India and the Philippines.

So, thanks to reckless issuance of Social Security numbers by the agency that it supposed to be maining their integrity, an employer who does everything required under the law may still, through no fault of their own, end up hiring people they legally should not be able to.

And the PC reasons cited above for not doing anything about it are enough to make one ill.

Chicago Woman Building the Catholic Faith in Iraq

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:10 am

Sometimes “Godsends” come via e-mail:

Chicago woman helping build faith in Iraq

Chicago, Jul. 14, 2006 (Catholic News Agency) – Mary Zilligan Becker probably didn’t realize she was going to play a role in the U.S. war in Iraq. But following a chance e-mail encounter back in January, she now facilitates the shipment of thousands of rosaries, scapulars and prayer books to U.S. soldiers stationed there.

According to the Tidings newspaper, Hannigan, a Chicago area Catholic bookstore owner and mother was asked by a friend who didn’t have a computer to send and e-mail to Fr. John Hannigan, a chaplain with the U.S military.

Soon, Becker began hearing Fr. Hannigan’s stories of the faithful in his 30,000 mile “parish” which stretches from Syria to Jordan, and their need for things like Catechisms and rosaries.

In a letter posted on Becker’s website, www.seatofwisdom.net, Fr. Hannigan writes, “It does my heart good as I travel ….. to see Marines, soldiers, Sailors wearing the scapular around their neck. They ask for more than one scapular since it’s now super hot out here plus all the protective gear we wear makes us sweat even more so.”

He also added that recently, “a Marine approached me and said when he gets out of the Marine Corps in 2 years from now, he’d like to start studying for the priesthood. WOW! He’s being a sponsor for one of the Marines here who will be getting confirmed.”

Stories like these are what led Becker to begin something of a campaign to collect the books and high shipping fees to get religious materials into the hands of soldiers.

Since the cost of the prayer materials are not in the U.S. military budget, Fr. Hannigan considers his chance meeting with a Catholic bookstore owner a Godsend. In a letter to Becker and her supporters, he said that “Many of these Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors have found God in this combat zone.”

“Many, upon seeing their buddies get killed in action, now have a greater realization of death in their lives,” he added. “This combat zone has for many, made them appreciate more so the importance of God in their lives.