Saturday, April 25, 2009

Socialized Medicine on Strategy Room

My second appearance on Strategy Room (FoxNews.com) this past week moved to a topic that hits close to home to me -- socialized medicine. Eric Bolling had already navigated the panel through his 3 PM hour through a plethora of topics and they were primed by the time I got on the show.

My mother came right off the boat from England. She was a war bride who left her family to join her spouse in the United States. She was young when she did this, a mere 18 years old. Maybe, as a result, she was one of the biggest fan of England you would ever find. She would go on and on about the "virtues" of British socialism and how "terrible" it was that people in this country were responsible for their own health insurance. Having had visited with members of my family in "the old country" many times over the years, my instincts tell me that my mother would have likely had a very different view of British socialism if she lived under it.

My aunt (her sister) use to tell me how such a huge portion of every paycheck was devoured by the socialized health care system, she was amazed by the large number of people who were subsidized to not work, and was disgusted by how it became almost impossible for the average Brit to buy their own home. Regarding health insurance, she said national health care is "great until you need it." It provides "enormous peace of mind" until you actually get sick. Ironically, this aunt eventually died in the British health care system. She was diagnosed with cancer and could not believe how slowly the government dragged its feet in her treatment. Things were even worse when it came to my grandfather when he became ill. Doctors informed my family that treatment options were "limited" because he no longer paid taxes. My aunt was convinced my grandfather died because of the rationing of health care (a common problem when the government controls or owns anything).

This anecdote hits close to home, but the facts support her argument that socialized medicine does not work:
  • According to England's own National Institute of Health, eleven percent of the population of England has very expensive private health insurance. This allows them to get treated as a person, rather than a crowd, and to be able to hold their doctor accountable in a way you can't have when the government is your vendor.

  • In countries such as Canada it is common for people to head to the US for much of their health care (particularly urgent). Many individuals will go to a veterinarian to get tests, like MRIs, because the waiting lists are too long with government doctors.

  • In Australia's socialized health care state, more than half of the population has private insurance.

  • More than 60 percent of innovations in health care are from the United States with a much smaller part being carried by the rest of the world. If the US chooses a socialized system, innovation will be severely damaged because it is the incentives in our system that promotes changes and improvements.

One of the best discussions I have had on the subject was with David Asman of Fox Business when he was a guest on my show (then called the Houston Business Show). While visiting in England his wife had a stroke and barely survived. Because of his resources he was able to get her the best care possible in that country, but concluded that an indigent person in the United States has a better opportunity for recovery than the best insured in England. The harsh reality is very simple, why would we believe that a government that can do so few things effectively, could handle the huge task of providing for all our health care needs?

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on CNN 650 (M-F at 11 am), AOL Radio, and CBS Radio. Eric Bolling of Fox News and Fox Business says that Price’s Blog “is very influential and moves the blogosphere.” Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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