Government Health Care Only Looks Good on Film

From USA Today, July 2, 2007:

Just ask Sheila Nunn of Kitchener, Ontario, who was told by her doctor that she urgently needed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam to check for a brain lesion. Faced with a three-month wait to have the procedure performed locally, she traveled to Michigan and paid $1,100 out of pocket for it.

Or contact Michelle Wakelin of the U.K. who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When her local health trust refused to pay for treatment, she was forced to turn to her private insurance for coverage. Fortunately, her cancer is in remission.

In the U.K., too often cost-cutting comes before patients: The National Health Service recently imposed a threshold of about $60,000 for an added year of life provided by a treatment. Further, cancer medicines and treatments that are readily accessible in Scotland are frequently denied coverage in England and Wales.

In Canada, despite a surge in spending during 2006 that represented a 5.9% increase over 2005 expenditures, a recent Frasier Institute report indicates that wait times for patients are at an all-time high. On average, Canadians wait nearly 18 weeks from general practitioners’ referrals to treatment by a specialist, more than eight weeks for MRIs, four weeks for CT scans or ultrasounds, and four or more months for “elective” surgeries.

Read the rest.

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