What other similar countries spend and what they get for it is interesting and partially relevant, but never even a close match. We have a different legal climate.All true, but foreign healthcare policy trends can help predict how America might fare under Obama-care. And this June 18th Daily Mail (U.K.) article is a bad sign:
Gipsies and travellers should be given priority in NHS [National Health Service] hospitals and GP surgeries, doctors have been told.Marathon Pundit wisely warns:
They will be fast-tracked for doctors, nurses and even some dentist appointments above all other patients.
GPs have also been told to see any travellers who simply walk in without an appointment, even if all consultation times for the day are full.
They will also be given longer consultations than other patients. Five or ten minutes is the average but travellers will be given 20 minutes and allowed to bring relatives into the consulting rooms.
Staff will be given 'mandatory cultural awareness' training so they can fully understand what it is like to be a traveller or gipsy.
It raises the prospect that other patients will suffer worse healthcare and have to wait even longer to see their GP.
There's a lesson here for Americans. Our population is more diverse, and we have countless affirmative action laws in place. A decade or two from now, someone from a less-healthy ethnic group might be seen ahead of you while you wait...wait...and wait for a doctor.Which could generate additional medical malpractice lawsuits--another aspect of America's "different legal climate" already upping our healthcare costs.
Speculation?--sure. Yet perfectly plausible, should we increase the government's role in healthcare. Another reason to insist, as Virginia Postrel argues, that the Administration fix Medicare first:
Think about this for a moment. Medicare is a huge, single-payer, government-run program. It ought to provide the perfect environment for experimentation. If more-efficient government management can slash health-care costs by addressing all these problems, why not start with Medicare? Let's see what "better management" looks like applied to Medicare before we roll it out to the rest of the country.(via Doug Ross)