As a single-payer advocate, there’s nothing that bunches my panties more than confusion between health care systems. I’ve seen it on StudentDoctor, on MedPundit, and now over at MedRants. If for nothing else, please read this and pass it on to others so we can have an honest, fair, and informed debate; all I’m doing is trying to clear up some confusion and over-generalizations that are far too common in the health care debate.
Taking DB’s post as an example of some of the confusion:
Most physicians believe that the United States has the best health system in the world. I am aware of those who argue against that idea, but I dismiss them as a very vocal minority.
They would argue that outcomes are the same or better in Canada and Great Britain. This article should make them pause.
Op death rates ‘far higher’ in UK …
… However, this article reinforces my belief that our system is far greater than a single payor system…
… This article should make those who favor one payor systems reconsider their positions. The coming articles should shed even more light on this issue. Kudos to the physicians for performing this important research.
The article linked to, as far as I can tell, exposes some problems with the national health system in the United Kingdom. If DB were using it as evidence against a national health system, or Britain’s health program in general, that’d be one thing. However, he also claims it’s evidence against Canada’s system, as well as “one payor systems.” The problem with this analysis, is that single-payer is a completely different concept. It’s apples and oranges. Let me provide some definitions:
There are three basic types of “national health programs” — that is, programs where a country’s government has some major role in providing health care to all of its citizens.
* A national health system, known as “socialized medicine” by some, is the British system, as well as the system in Cuba. The health care system is controlled and run by the government. Doctors are employed by the state, usually as salaried positions; hospitals are, for the most part, publicly owned and operated.
* A national health insurance system, known as “socialized insurance” or “single-payer” by some, is the system used in Canada, Denmark, Japan, and several other countries. The health care system is still private (save for government hospitals and doctors who choose to be employed by them), meaning physicians still work in their private practices. However, the government (or a quasi-governmental entity) administrates and pays for the health care.
* A multi-payer health insurance system, known as “all-payer” by some, is used in France, Germany, and Israel. The system is similar to the single-payer system, but, as the name implies, instead of one payer, there are multiple quasi-governmental entities that act as payers (usually referred to as “sickness funds”).
Now, with that information, let’s rumble.