March 7, 2009

Media Routinely Ignores Govt.-Controlled Health Care Problems in Other Countries

You would think that a proposal for the government to radically extend its involvement in health care would motivate reporters to investigate how it’s working out in other countries. You would be wrong.

Mark Levin bought this matter up on his show Thursday. His web site’s home page (near the bottom left) points to a post at Liberty-Page.com, where there are compilations of dozens of articles on how socialized medicine is not working out well in Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

Though it’s still early in year, the Liberty-Page site cites no reports from either country during 2009. This leads to the question of how difficult it would be to find more recent examples.

The answer is “very easy,” despite the fact that British and Canadian news organizations have traditionally tended to treat their countries’ socialized systems as sancrosanct.

Looking at just one country, here are just six relevant results from the past three weeks obtained from a Google News search on “NHS BBC” (not in quotes):

  • March 5 — “Disgust” over Wheelchair Delays“; “One child has been waiting for 20 months and the North Wales NHS Trust says it has cut times and is aiming to ensure no child waits more than a year.” That would be an accomplishment?
  • March 5 — “NHS charges to rise in England”; “The British Medical Association (BMA) said the current system was not working and was ‘iniquitous’ for many patients.” It wants every single solitary prescription to be free.
  • March 2 — “Prime Minister’s health records breached in database attack; Scottish rich and powerful victimized”; so much for mediard records security.
  • February 25 — “Hospital lost patient data disks.” Ten years’ worth.
  • February 17 — “Stroke services are ‘UK’s worst’” — “Dr Tony Rudd, who assessed services in Wales, England and Northern Ireland two years ago, said services in Wales were ‘scandalously bad.’”
  • February 17 — ”New computer delay costs NHS Trust £500,000” — “THE next London hospital in line to install the problem-hit NHS computer system has had its start date postponed for a second time.”

This search wasn’t difficult. One would think that someone, anyone, would ask how Team Obama plans to avoid allowing what every other socialized health system has imposed on its people: unconscionable delays (accompanied by needless premature deaths), rationing, poor quality treatment, and administrative snafus.

But apparently there’s no time for that. Michelle Obama’s right to bare arms is apparently more important.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Column of the Day: Walter Williams on Other Countries’ Experience with Socialized Medicine

The George Mason econ guru is outstanding, as usual, in his March 4 column:

Government health care advocates used to sing the praises of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). That’s until its poor delivery of health care services became known. A recent study by David Green and Laura Casper, “Delay, Denial and Dilution,” written for the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, concludes that the NHS health care services are just about the worst in the developed world. The head of the World Health Organization calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care.

….. Government health care advocates sing the praises of Canada’s single-payer system. ….. (But) Canadians have an option Britainers don’t: close proximity of American hospitals. In fact, the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year for Canadians to receive medical treatment in our country. I wonder how much money the U.S. government spends for Americans to be treated in Canada.

“OK, Williams,” you say, “Sweden is the world’s socialist wonder.”

….. Malmo, with its 280,000 residents, is Sweden’s third-largest city. To see a physician, a patient must go to one of two local clinics before they can see a specialist. The clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor. The guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full. Uppsala, a city with 200,000 people, has only one specialist in mammography. Sweden’s National Cancer Foundation reports that in a few years most Swedish women will not have access to mammography.

Dr. Olle Stendahl, a professor of medicine at Linkoping University, pointed out a side effect of government-run medicine: its impact on innovation. He said, “In our budget-government health care there is no room for curious, young physicians and other professionals to challenge established views. New knowledge is not attractive but typically considered a problem (that brings) increased costs and disturbances in today’s slimmed-down health care.”

….. I wonder how many Americans would like a system that would ….. prohibit private purchase of your own medicine if the government refused paying. ….. Government health care advocates might say that they will avoid the horrors of other government-run systems. Don’t believe them.

Read the whole thing.

Team Obama won’t tell us how they will avoid the horrors just described, as well as many others (if not in the first few years, eventually) — because they can’t.

Positivity: Amazing tale of the dead man’s penny

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:31 am

From Lowestoft, UK:

07 March 2009

After soldier Walter Thomas Baker was killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, a medal commemorating his brave sacrifice was sent to his widow.

Now more than 90 years later, the medal – known as the Dead Man’s Penny – has been returned to his closest living relative in Lowestoft after being hidden in an attic on the other side of the Atlantic for decades.

The saucer-sized bronze gunmetal medal was sent home to Mr Baker’s widow, living in Canada, after his death on September 20, 1916, but it was soon lost.

It was not seen again until the 1970s when it was bought at a yard sale in Hamilton, Canada. It was then passed on to Della Hill, a housewife from Ottawa, and it lay forgotten in her attic until she came across it one day while spring cleaning.

When she saw a picture of another Dead Man’s Penny in a magazine article last August, Mrs Hill realised the value of the medal she had been storing and contacted her local newspaper to appeal for information.

Researchers from family history website Ancestry.co.uk then got in touch with Mrs Hill and started trawling through their historic military records to trace the rightful owner of the medal – bearing the soldier’s name and the motto ”He died for freedom and honour”.

The experts soon found Mr Baker’s military service file from his time with the Canada Overseas 76th regiment, his marriage certificate and attestation papers, allowing them to trace his family tree to locate his great-great-grandniece Vanessa Rider, of Lowestoft.

Yesterday, Ms Rider – who had no idea that her distant relative had been a war hero until she was contacted by the website’s experts – was reunited with the medal at Lowestoft Record Office. She was also presented with an historical record from Mr Baker’s regiment and a letter from Mrs Hill explaining how the medal had been found.

Ms Rider said: “I could not believe it when I heard that one of my ancestors had been honoured in this way, and that I would be receiving this Penny. I never imagined something like this would happen to me.

“My friend had been helping me trace my family tree, and after looking into the Baker family on my mother’s side we got an e-mail from Canada saying that someone had something which might be of interest to us.

“I was a bit sceptical and thought it was a joke at first, but followed it up and found out what it was. I was absolutely stunned. It was so kind of Mrs Hill to take the trouble to find the family that it belonged to.”

Military records show that Mr Baker emigrated to Canada from London with his wife just weeks before enlisting in the army and heading off the war, sailing into Liverpool in April 1916 and later being sent to the Somme. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.