Cato's Tanner on Health Care

by Don Boudreaux on October 1, 2005

in Health

The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner explains that, for all of its many faults, health-care in the United States is superior to health-care in countries that have nationalized it. For example,

In most countries with national health insurance, the preferred treatment for prostate cancer is … to do nothing.

Prostate cancer is a slow-moving disease. Most patients are older and will live several years after diagnosis. So it is not cost-effective under socialized medicine to treat the disease too aggressively. This saves money, but at a more human cost.

Though American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than their counterparts in other countries, we are less likely to die from the disease. Less than 1 in 5 American men with prostate cancer will die from it, but 57 percent of British men and nearly half of French and German men will. Even in Canada, a quarter of men diagnosed with prostate cancer die from the disease.

50 years ago, many people – Americans and non-Americans alike – thought America to be bumpkinishly backward because we didn’t nationalize industries in the way that, say, Great Britain under Clement Attlee nationalized industries. Someday, nationalized health-care will be exposed as the backward, harmful scheme that it is.

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