Wednesday, May 27, 2009

British National Health Beats U.S.

Interesting article in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL about the anti-health care reform ad campaign by the Patient's Rights group. Seems Lord Darzi of Denham, a surgeon and top official in Britain’s Department of Health, wants us to know the ads don't present an accurate picture of the British health system.

The British system provides a high standard of care to all Britons despite spending less per capita than is spent in the U.S., $2,500 a year in the U.K. versus about $6,000 in the U.S. He also pointed to a 2007 report from the U.S. research group Commonwealth Fund that ranked U.K. health care as No. 1 out of six large countries, based on patient and physician surveys (the U.S. placed last). And he noted better life expectancy rates — 79.2 years for the U.K. versus 78 years for the U.S., according to recent data from the World Health Organization.

The current TV campaign makes it sound like Britons are dying in the streets due to government bureaucracy. Is it a perfect system? Even the British will admit that it isn't, but it certainly offers some guidance to the health care reform efforts in our country. America simply cannot afford to continue spending 16.3% of our G.D.P. on health care, a figure which is escalating almost hourly.

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