Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France

Folks, I am not making this stuff up here.  The above is the title to a piece that appeared in the Washington Post WONKBLOG on March 3rd.  The author is Ezra Klein and it was sent to my wife by one of her "enlightened" liberal friends as the definitive answer as to why healthcare in America is so expensive.  The author's conclusion, "There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher."  Well Duh!

Isn't this like saying that the reason a Kobe steak cost more than a hamburger is because the price of Kobe beef is higher than the price of ground meat?  Similarly one could argue that it cost more to buy a BMW than it does to buy a Chevy Sonic because the BMW  cost more than the Chevy Sonic.  

Now all liberals live in a socialist world so to them they can't possibly see why the BMW should cost the buyer more than the Chevy Sonic. Both the BMW and the Chevy both have motors, engines, wheels & tires, and they both can get you from point A to Point B. 

One, the BMW, does it reliably, safely, quickly and comfortably and if properly maintained will last for 20 years or more.  The other, the Sonic, may get you from point A to point B.

Healthcare in Europe may well be cheaper but Mr. Klein admits he really has no data to support his claim.  But of course the problem, in Klein's mind is that Europe takes away the profit motive (being a good liberal that is alway the mantra) and BAM prices go down.   And that may be true but let's review what also goes down when the profit motive is removed:

Incentive to provide good quality
Incentive to provide timely services
Incentive to invest in new and better technologies
Incentive to improve services and save more lives

Here are a few bits of data that might have been pertinent to Mr. Klein's article but that he neglected to share:

Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:  
             U.S.                    65%  
             England              46%  
             Canada              42%  
 Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:  
             U.S.                     93%  
             England              15%  
            Canada               43%
Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:  
             U.S.                     90%  
             England              15%   ;
             Canada               43%  
Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:  
             U.S.                     77%  
             England               40%  
             Canada               43%  
Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:  
             U.S.                     71  
England             14  
             Canada              18  
 Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health":  
             U.S.                    12%  
            England               2%  
             Canada               6%  
            And now for the last statistic:  
            National Health Insurance?  
             U.S .                     NO  
             England            YES  
             Canada             YES 

I am just sayin . . . maybe Mr. Klein is a bit confused!

Willie P
A common sense thinker from flyover country!

1 comment:

  1. As someone who has just undergone a year of cancer treatment with complications requiring a stem cell transplant, I don't think I'd be writing this comment today if I hadn't had access to the best medical care in the world at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. After spending nearly 6 months at this facility, the one thing that was evident was that doctors from Canada, Europe, India, Latin America, the Pacific rim and the rest of the world were in evidence everywhere learning from the world renowned experts at MD Anderson. Also, the patients were also from all over the world coming to this facility because they knew it was superior to anything in their countries. I met one woman from Canada who had moved to Houston so that her husband could get a needed stem cell transplant. He was denied one in his home country because he was over 70. So, they are spending over $500,000 US dollars to get the treatment he needs here in the good old USA. How's that for nationalized, or should I say, socialized medicine? So, before anyone ever suggests that health care is better outside the United States, I suggest they visit one of our major world leading medical facilities like MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and just sit in the lobby for a while and note that a high percentage of the patients are from outside the borders of this great nation. Perhaps they know something the liberals don't.