US rebuff of 'socialized medicine' baffles world health leaders

By Brett Wilkins
Feb 10, 2014 in Health

Why is the United States the only most-developed nation lacking some form of government-funded universal health care system?
Why are so many Americans, even those who support or rely upon government programs like Medicare, so vehemently opposed to 'socialized medicine?'
Why do so many Americans continue to believe theirs is the best health care system in the world, even when presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary?
To help answer these questions, this Digital Journalist interviewed more than a dozen leading health officials from around the world and asked them to compare health care attitudes in their countries and in the United States. "It comes down to a difference in culture and character," said Dr. Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and a fellow at the Royal College of Physicians in London. "In America, you've got this sense of individualism and Darwinian survival and opportunity to win. In the UK, we have this very strong sense that we have to provide for the weaker in our society."
"In the pursuit of excellence, people lost along the way do not count for much, and if you can buy excellent health care... if you can afford it, you get it. If you can't, you don't. You guys simply do not believe in equity," Leeder said of Americans.
So what do international health officials make of all the horror stories disseminated by US special interests about the lack of patient choice, 'rationed care,' 'death panels' and long waiting lists, stories apparently meant to scare an American populace that ranks 51st in global life expectancy away from public health care? "Any patient can at any time switch physicians. There are no 'death panels,'" insisted CMA president Francescutti. "Do we have slightly longer waits than Americans? Yes we do. But when you take a look at the indicators, we're faring better than you in just about every category, and you're spending twice as much money."
"What people should do at the end of the day is not exaggerate," added Dr. Francescutti. "Nobody gets turned away here. Nobody goes bankrupt if they have a heart attack. God forbid you have a heart attack in the United States and you don't have coverage." Indeed, unpaid medical bills are the number one cause of US bankruptcies, with nearly two million Americans affected in 2013.

Read this entire article here.