The perennial healthcare debate didn’t get any more clear with the latest release of US life expectancy data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the British Medical Journal. Our life expectancy is 1.5 years lower than the average in OECD countries, and it decreased by another 0.1 year to 78.6 in the most recent (2016) calculation. The single-payer (nationalized healthcare) advocates always jump to this stat to argue that we should adopt the highly propagandized and unsustainable socialized system like Canada’s or the British National Healthcare Service. But such simple thinking behind single-payer neither discovers the causal factors of longevity, nor points to a workable reform of our healthcare system.
As cited in the BMJ and by the CDC, the US death rate, hence life expectancy, is almost completely determined by our wealth and culture, and not by how healthcare is delivered and consumed in America. We have the money and the cultural support to continue killing ourselves early with everything from illegal drugs, prescribed opioids, horrible diets, sedentary lifestyles, growing suicide rates (mostly among rural whites), …, in short, activities that less wealthy and more traditional populations don’t value or have the time, wherewithal, or interest to raise to lethal levels. (more here)
But all that makes no never mind to our central planners for whom nationalizing healthcare is just one of many steps they prescribe to fundamentally transform America into a second world country in which government is the gentle giant and end-all in people’s lives. The issue recently rose to prominence when President Trump called the British NHS “broke and not working” (here) This accurate assessment, of course, caused the usual anti-Trump uproar, especially from British politicians who have been unsuccessfully wrestling with attempting to make the NHS work for several decades. Today the system’s shortages in physicians, hospital beds, and diagnostic facilities (e.g. CT scanners) is critical as reported in the British press (here and here). NHS waiting times have always been long, both for scheduled treatment and daily in the waiting rooms (often exceeding 12 hours). Recently these have “spiked” even higher, driving ever more people to seek private healthcare services both in and out of country.
The problem with the NHS and ALL other nationalized healthcare systems is lack of sustainability. Their costs are constantly overrunning the nationally budgeted funding levels which also increase year-over-year. But more importantly, the healthcare budgets are commanding ever greater percentages of the countries' GDPs and government budgets – the litmus tests of unsustainable enterprises. The socialists' only answer to all such undertakings diving for the mud is that ‘well, it ain’t crashed yet’. And while the rush to collapse continues, the daily solution to the problems entails ever more rationing, and simply doing without (which is also what lengthening waiting times constructively do).
In the US and elsewhere, none of this information must be allowed to concern our already neurodiverse fellow citizens. ‘Neurodiverse’, ‘neurotypical’, ‘neurodivergent’, … ?? We’ll soon be hearing more about these new ways to look at and describe our neighbors and co-workers, whether we like it or not. Stay tuned.