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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT HEALTH CARE IN EUROPE ???

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This question come from James Louloudes, Silver Spring, MD

QUESTION:

Regardless of political views, I found it interesting that Canada is claiming major problems with their Health Care System. (See the link to a Fox News article, below.) I didn't see this listed in any of the major news papers and thought it to be odd since it's a very hot topic these days. I wonder how European countries are faring?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,539943,00.html?test=health

ANSWER:

Well, James, the Fox News article is certainly informative. I would add that Canadians who view their own health as "fair" or "poor," 54% (which is to say, Canadians who are actually sick) say that a shortage of health care professionals and hospital beds is the "biggest problem" with their health care -- compared to 5% in the United States. Actual treatment statistics bear out their perceptions: Only 5% of US patients have to wait more than 4 months for surgery, compared to 27% in Canada (and 36% in Britian, and 23% in Australia, and 26% in New Zealand, by the way).

I can tell you that a number of European countries have had their own serious problems with their single-payer national health insurance -- in fact, there has been pressure to actually back away from the single-payer model. According to Goodman et al., Lives at Risk, page 10, "Despite official rhetoric, over the course of the past decade almost every European country with a national health care system has introduced market-oriented reforms and turned to the private sector to reduce the costs of care and increase the value, availability and effectiveness of treatments. In making these changes, more often than not these countries looked to the United States for guidance." They give a long list of examples. Check out that book, especially pages 10 -11 for details!

JC Leahy
RN, BSN, MA, ACLS
2009 "100 Most Outstanding Nurses" Award, Wash, DC
Director, Health Professionals for Meaningful Change

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