Costly ‘affordable’ health care

Wisconsin's decision to implement a universal health care system may allow it to become an example of what not to do for the rest of the U.S. But the perils of socialised health care can already be seen in Europe, where certain medical treatments or drugs are no longer available to Europeans above a certain age, says Paul Belien, editor of the Brussels Journal and an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute.

In Europe, says Belien:

  • More expensive drugs and treatments with fewer side effects are set aside for younger patients, while less expensive drugs are given to the elderly because of budgetary constraints in a system providing "free" health care.

  • Studies of kidney dialysis show that more than a fifth of dialysis centres in Europe and almost half of those in England have refused to treat patients over 65 years of age.

  • If governments continue these policies, euthanasia will soon be the price that the solidarity principle of the European welfare states imposes on the very old and the very sick.

    In the United States, the situation is the reverse:

  • Elderly Americans are entitled to universal health coverage via the Medicare programme.

  • In America, the bulk of government health-care expenditure goes to those over 65 years old, while in Europe most of the government money is spent on those under 65.

    America has now lost one of its states to socialism, if it needs more bad examples in order to know what to avoid, then Europe is a good place to learn from, says Belien.

    Source: Paul Belien, Costly 'affordable' health care, Washington Times, August 15, 2007.

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    For more on Health Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 21 August 2007
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