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OpenMarket: Health and Safety

  • Market Health Care Reforms in Europe

    November 3, 2008
    While the U.S. seems to continue its slow slide towards socialized health care, patients currently suffering under such systems around the world are clamoring for more options.  Johnny Munkhammar writes in the Washington Examiner about market-oriented reforms in the Netherlands.  People must purchase health insurance, but the government relies on private competition rather than public bureaucracy for the provision of care. Explains Munkhammar:
    Most Europeans have followed the American presidential campaign with interest, particularly when it comes to the groundswell of support for...
  • Imagine: Free Health Care Is Expensive!

    November 1, 2008
    Who would have thought it?  Provide free health care and people drop their private coverage.  It seems that politicians are uniformly slow learners.  But after seven months Hawaii has dropped its program providing free health insurance for kids. Writes Grace-Marie Turner in the New York Post:
    HAWAII just had a vivid les son in health-care eco nomics, learning that if you offer people insurance for free - surprise, surprise - they'll quickly drop other coverage to enroll. As a result, Hawaii is ending the only state universal child health-care program in the country after just seven months. The program, called the Keiki (Child) Care Plan, was designed to provide coverage to children whose parents can't...
  • Cheney Diagnosed with an Abnormal Heart Rhythm

    October 15, 2008
    The 67-year old Vice President will be undergoing an outpatient procedure — an electrical shock — to restore his normal rhythm today at George Washington University Hospital.

    Binary Data
    You'd think with a Vice President with a history...
  • Let Uncle Sam's People Go!

    October 14, 2008
    One of most outrageous features of the federal social welfare state is that Uncle Sam doesn't want you to be independent.  For instance, if you would prefer to handle your own health care needs as a retiree, rather than subject yourself to the restrictions and irritations of Medicare, you also would have to give up your Social Security benefits.  Never mind that you've been taxed your entire lifetime to support both programs. Now three Washington, D.C. residents are challenging this rule.  Explains friend and colleague Quin Hillyer, a columnist for the Washington Examiner:
    Did you know that American citizens on Social Security cannot refuse Medicare “benefits” even if they wish to save the government some money by paying for their own medical care? U...
  • British Health (Mis)Care: No Complaints Allowed

    October 11, 2008
    The British government has found the right strategy to cut down on complaints about the National Health Service--convince patients that nothing can be done.  Then the bothersome people will simply go away. Explains the Daily Mail:
    One in seven patients using the NHS is unhappy, but most do not complain because they believe 'nothing will be done', a report reveals. Just 5 per cent of dissatisfied patients made formal complaints last year  -  133,600 about the health service and 17,100 about social care.  Those who failed to voice their concerns said they lacked confidence in the system, believed nothing would be done, or thought that they would be branded 'troublemakers'. The report from the National Audit Office, released today, also...
  • The Wonders of Socialized Health Care, Number 8,977

    October 8, 2008
    Ameirca's health care system is messed up.  Agreed.  It is a bizarre amalgam of public and private, with government spending and tax policy creating counterproductive incentives which have created an employer-based system of health insurance that has tended towards cost-plus medicine.  But while U.S. medical treatment tends to be expensive as a result, it is available.  Not so in the foreign systems so often lauded by health care 'reformers" in America. The website helps remind us that the wrong sort of "reform" in America could leave us all far worse off.  It includes a list of case histories of people victimized by nationalized health care systems.  Consider the case of Lindsay McCreith, for instance, who almost certainly would have died had the Canadian not jumped the queue, so to speak, by coming to...
  • NHS Reform: A Few More Brits Might Survive

    September 24, 2008
    Great Britain's Vaunted National Health Insurance won't pay for necessary drugs to its patients, but it has refused to allow them to contribute their own money to get the better medicines--in the name of equality, of course.  Now that is changing.  According to the Times of London:
    Ministers are preparing to allow public patients to pay for some top-up drugs in a decision that opponents claim will spell the end of the National Health Service. Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is poised to relax the ban on patients paying privately for life-extending treatments while receiving NHS care. Such a change could result in wealthier patients living longer because they have been able to buy expensive drugs not approved by the NHS. It will force cancer sufferers to...
  • Socialized Health Care Feels Like it is ... Socialized!

    September 23, 2008
    Want to nationalize American health care?  Just compare what it's like to be treated in America and in Britain.  Writes F. Brinley Bruton:
    A few weeks ago I found myself curled up in a hospital here in London, my feverish body shaking violently back and forth. The pain in my side and back made it hard to straighten my torso, and I'd thrown up in a friend's car on the way to the hospital.

    The hospital couldn't find an extra hospital bed, so I spent my first night hooked up to an IV on a gurney in the middle of a row of men and women, my sweaty skin sticking to the plastic. A shriveled woman in the bed to my right issued loud and largely unintelligible commands to nobody in particular. A steady flow of patients visited the bathroom right in front of my bed. A shouting match broke out between...

  • Misplaced Priorities on Stem Cell Research

    September 8, 2008
    Sigrid Fry-Revere has a post over at The Hill Blog questioning the merits of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. As her new CEI paper co-written with Molly Elgin, Public Stem Cell Research Funding: Boon or Boondoggle?, points out, "It is impossible to know how successful [stem cell] research will be or whether any individual projects will produce genuine medical treatments, and it is not the place of government to gamble with taxpayers' money.” Over at The Hill Blog, she writes:
    "Furthermore, politicizing stem cell research funding may produce the opposite effect of what stem cell research advocates intend, namely less not more funding and more rather than fewer restriction on the research itself."
    The inherent politicization...
  • Anna Tomalis, R.I.P.

    August 25, 2008
    Last Friday, I attended the funeral of a remarkable 13-year-old girl named Anna Tomalis. For the past three years, Anna had been battling terminal cancer and, more recently, trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to grant a "compassionate use" exemption so she could try an experimental cancer drug now being jointly developed by the pharmaceutical companies ARIAD and Merck. Unfortunately, FDA rarely grants exemptions. If too many exemptions are granted, it would become harder to enroll patients in clinical trials, where they have as much as a 50-50 chance of getting a placebo. Anna was too young and too sick to be admitted to any of the clinical trials, so that wasn't at issue here. But, of course, the whole point of FDA is to keep individuals from making their own decisions about...


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