Sick sob stories

Despite what Michael Moore says in his movie, "Sicko," when government is in charge of health care, the result is not that everyone gets access to experimental treatments, but that people get less of the care that is absolutely necessary, says John Stossel, co-anchor of "20/20."

For example:

  • At any given time, just under a million Canadians are on waiting lists to receive care, and one in eight British patients must wait more than a year for hospital treatment.

  • Canadian Karen Jepp, who gave birth to quadruplets last month, had to fly to Montana for the delivery: neonatal units in her own country had no room.


  • Rationing in Britain is so severe that one hospital recently tried saving money by not changing bed-sheets between patients.

  • The wait for an appointment with a dentist is so long that people are using pliers to pull out their own rotting teeth.

    Patients in countries with government-run health care can't get timely access to many basic medical treatments, never mind experimental treatments, says Stossel. That's why, if you suffer from cancer, you're better off in the United States, where patients have access to the best diagnostic equipment and newest treatments.

  • People diagnosed with cancer in America have a better chance of living a full life than people in countries with socialised systems.

  • Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, only one-quarter die in the United States, compared to one-third in France and nearly half in the United Kingdom.

    If government takes over, innovation slows, health care is rationed, and spending is controlled by politicians more influenced by the sob story of the moment than by medical science, says Stossel.

    Source: John Stossel, Sick Sob Stories, Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007.

    For text:

    For more on Health Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 18 September 2007
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