Medical observations create new questions

Posted: Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In response to Danny Shannon's diatribe on "socialized medicine" (Clarion, Dec. 21), he conveniently ignored a few basic questions I'd like to have answered: Why is the American health-care system outperformed in every quantifiable category and independent study by those found in other post-industrial nations? Why do only 2 percent of Canadians indicate they would prefer a U.S.-style system, while a resounding 96 percent reject the idea (and a majority of Americans believe we are in need of some type of comprehensive medical reform)? Why does the U.S. spend as much in public funds on medical care as Canada while covering only a quarter of the population? Why does the average American pay more than twice as much in insurance costs as Canadians do in taxes, only for worse care?

The free market experiment for health care has failed, primarily because there is a fundamental conflict of interest between the profit-motivated insurance providers who make more money by denying funding for their clients' care (or excluding those who are high-risk and need coverage the most), and the individual who is seeking appropriate medical solutions. The free market is based on choice and competition.

No one has much of a choice regarding when they get sick or where they receive care (especially in an emergency), leading to the extreme inefficiencies and price inflation we are seeing in the U.S. health-care industry today.

Finally, Mr. Shannon attests to the quality of our medical system by saying "the wealthy from all these other nations come here to be treated." Too bad we are not catering to rich foreigners, but average Americans.

Mr. Shannon has obviously ignored the growing trend of Americans traveling to Europe and Asia to receive the same quality surgeries and care at a fraction of the price. But for many, that is not an option; we need the care here. Mr. Shannon needs to stop listening to the extremist rhetoric and demagoguery of conservative talk radio (as well as making inane interpretations of Ben Franklin quotes), and think critically about the situation.

Tim Wellington

Anchorage



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