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July 30, 2009


Paul Zrimsek

Next time, ask those Canadians what letter grade they'd give their system and wait for them all to say "Eh?"

He must know he's a sick partisan.

He easily recognizes that it was a bad move on his part to ask the question. Why can't he so easily recognize the implication of the answer he got; that government health care is bad?


Krugman probably believes that these 7 Canadians were planted in the audience by evil Republicans to spread malicious and false rumors about the Utopian Canadian health care system.


Interesting Post..


So a couple of days ago DrF was expressing wondered outrage over whatever Krugman's column had been that day. I told him, "I read JOM; that way I don't have to read Krugman; Tom does it for us!"


Liberals are so blinded by their pursuit of this that they have actually convinced themselves that Canada and the UK have a magnificent HC system that ever so much more preferable to our "broken" system. I have heard Howard Dean say virtually the same thing, and he even tried to contradict both a Radiologist and a Hospital CEO this morning when they warned about wait times and some policy wonk in Washington deciding what care you are allowed to have.

With Dean I expect him to lie, but Krugman is probably just a true believer.

Ah, the spirit of scientific inquiry.

You see, Paul. The science is settled, right? Don't look at the thermometers, er, I mean, don't examine the data your research shows. Just learn to pose the questions, er, design the experiment, to validate your predetermined model.


How Howard Dean, is given credibility on anything, is one of those enduring mysteries
like the Bermuda Triangle, and the Nazca


He asked the question because Canadians and Brits are more satisfied with their healthcare than Americans. I thought everyone knew that. They also pay 30% - %50 less for healthcare and suffer from less "amenable mortality" than we do, which is a braoder measure of outcomes than cherry-picking a disease here or there. So Canada has better satisfaction and better outcomes and better value.

Since you guys don't really seem to know much about measuring the effectiveness of healthcare systems, I'll give you a little headstart:


Your welcome!


He asked the question because Canadians and Brits are more satisfied with their healthcare than Americans.

Well, they've been taught it's the greatest thing growing since birth, while most of our folks have been taught the opposite.

So Canada has better satisfaction and better outcomes and better value.

I'm sorry, but in Canada it's routine to wait MONTHS for a routine Angioplasty. Sometimes they wait YEARS for a joint replacement. I don't know how that's a better value or outcome.


Frankly, the mistake that Team Obama made these last few weeks is to focus the public's attention on his healthcare package. They were perfectly content in their "ignorant bliss" to till then, and he had to go and get their attention.

When you're messing with somebody's personal business, it's best not to tell them about it. Reminds me of the Rumsfeld attributed (actually Jed Babbin) quote ... "going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion".
Yo Bama!

Sorry, KJ, the profit motive has driven the development of the most sophisticated injury healing and illness curing system in the world. When you can find a profit driven mechanism for maintaining health then I might give you a listen. Instead, it's suck the guvmint's maw. Just pitiful, the speech of a slave.


It was mentioned in a comment yesterday that Irish immigrants were used for the dangerous work building the Panama canal because black slaves were "too valuable".

One could say the slaves had the better of the health care situation. Pretty sure the Irish would not have wanted to trade places though.

abad man

"amenable mortality"—

the study showed rates per 100,000 and assumed differences in effectiveness of medical care made the difference. It does not seem to control for things like obesity or rates of diseases per 100,000.

If the US has higher rates of obesity,(which is likely),higher rates of diabetes or heart disease for example, the death rates per 100,000 will be higher even with good medical care. This is why studies like your example are essentally worthless.

Actually death rates once a disease is identified will tend to cancel out this error as results of treatment of people who have disease is measured.

Or they could look at deaths per 100,000 diabetics, but they did not because that would be an actual attempt at a scientific study.

The US does quite well in these measurements, so you know much less than you think. The differences in "amenable mortality" are as likely to be from lifestyle choices as health care.

But thanks for playing

Der Hahn

All most every study I've seen cited indicates that, like the dichotomy between liking our Congressmen individually but disliking Congress in the abstract, people in the US are generally pleased with their health care but complain about the system. This is born out antecdotally in blog comments as you usually find people complaining about why we don't provide health care for other people (along with a small number of people who complain about their experiences receiving treatment for their illnesses and injuries) but rarely about why they don't have access to health care.

I'm also mildly amused by the contining reliance on various life expectancy and mortality statics by supporters of national health care, especially after Dr. Obama has indicated that his favorite prescription is take the cheap blue pill and avoid expensive attempts to extend life.


Sorry abad man but ammenable mortality does control for demographics. It is a pure measure of healthcare effectiveness. I'm sure it's not perfect but it's not obviously flawed like you want to believe.

And Profarmer just seems to stick his fingers in his ears and scream anecdotes that have been proven exaggerated or just plain wrong.

I wonder if you guys realize that places like Canada and the UK continually use the U.S. as a scary example as why they shouldn't change their healthcare system. Canadian Conservatives, not all that different from the U.S. variety, routinely defend and extend the Canadian Health System. Even our far right U.S. conservatives wouldn't dare touch Medicare and routinely defend it. Why? Because Medicare works pretty well, gets higher satisfaction rates than Private insurance, and costs less when controlling for demographics.

Market fundamentalists and their fantasies about health care markets are silly people. A non-fundamentalist taking just a cursory look into other government run health care systems would quickly conclude that the U.S. system is total crap overall and that we would quite obviously do better if we implemented a system along the order of Switzerland or France or Germany.

Really, just take off your blinders for a moment and look into it. See how much less they spend and how their outcomes are as good or better and their satisfaction rates are higher and then do what a logical person does, change his or her mind.

Helping the world eschew fundamentalism,


As a Canadian, I'd like to mention that my wife had aggressive cataracts in both eyes and she was going blind. The waiting list was 6 months for each (can't do them simultaneously). I paid a private clinic 1250 to do the first eye on the last day such private operations were legal (I think they may be legal again).

So KJ ... screw you. Polls are not reality.

In Canada we get "free' healthcare with life destroying waiting times to see specialists.

Right now I am waiting to see an Opthamologist at the end of October (first available appt.)

I won't get into a dead father who couldn't get a catscan or mri in time ...


Oh ... and KJ, right now the US healthcare system is the safety valve for richer Canadians than me or for overburdened Canadian hospitals.

As someone else said: "Where will Canadians go to get good healthcare when the US destroys their healthcare system?"

We'll be awash in propaganda from all sides for the next two months.

The fundament is that it is my body and my choice. Guvmint out! How is it possible for the government to make better choices for me than I can? Your outcomes and satisfactions are phony, KJ, and not in the least persuasive. Climate science has demonstrated how you can show almost anything with studies and statistics. There are alternative beliefs about health and healthcare and your studies aren't 'settled' science.


Surgical wait list in BC:




12,000 waiting .... 11,000 done in last 3 months translates into about a 3.1 month list for the province.

In Delta it looks to be about 5 months, Maple Ridge 9 months.

Knee replacement sugery is 6 months for the province ..

look up the rest if you want to.


One last thing ... the wait list times is after you've waited months to see the specialist. So add 3-4 months to each of those depending on how few specialists work in each area.

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky

--And Profarmer just seems to stick his fingers in his ears and scream anecdotes that have been proven exaggerated or just plain wrong.

I wonder if you guys realize that places like Canada and the UK continually use the U.S. as a scary example as why they shouldn't change their healthcare system.--

A little cognitive dissonance anyone?


The Canadians so far seem perfectly happy with a lot of shit we wouldn't tolerate like the CBC and their hate crime commissions..


If you like the Canadian or UK health systems, and insist on holding them up as examples to emulate regarding other political and social issues, please remember that the US allows emigration as well as immigration.

Don't let your butt hit our door on the way out.

Thank you. Have a great day!


KJ "I wonder if you guys realize that places like Canada and the UK continually use the U.S. as a scary example as why they shouldn't change their healthcare system."

Only compared to non-insured.

Otherwise ...



"The math is staggering; health-care has gone from about 7 per cent of program spending at the provincial [State] level in the 1970s to an average just under 40 per cent today. It will pass 50 per cent in every province and territory within a few years.

Needless to say, this is unsustainable."


"By suggesting Canadian health care was in shambles, Shona added more poison to the debate in the U.S., where Obama has just given himself a deadline — this year — for getting health care reform on track.

Worse still, she gave licence to all those annoying Canadians who make it a point of pride to suggest that they live in a country far superior to the one that we most need as an ally.

One symptom of this national malaise is our constant, embarrassing effort to compare our health care system favourably to the American one.

Well, here’s a news flash: Our system is in deep trouble, too.

The Health Council of Canada points this out in a recent, aptly-named study — Value for Money: Making Canadian Health Care Stronger.

Canada now spends $172 billion annually on health care, almost 50 per cent more (after inflation) than it did a decade ago."


The American health system acts as a pressure valve for the Canadian system.

Without it, Canada's system will explode as Canadians find it impossible to get the care they want and need across the border.

Ralph L

The fundament is that it is my body
The fundament is a particular part of your body.


Thanks Bruce for all the helpful info...


Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh KJ. You want all those Americans running up here for their health care?


No need to run larry .... the waiting lists are long.

abad man


no you are wrong. amenable mortality looks at death rates for seperate diseases it does not look at the incidence of the actual disease in the population, nor does it consider co-morbid conditiona such as obesity.

If the rate of say heart disease in the US runs 30 per 100,000 and 1 in 10 will die from the disease the number of deaths from heart disease will be 3, and the amenable mortality will be 3.

If the rate in Canada is 10 cases per 100,000 and 2 in 10 die from the disease then the amenable mortality will be 2. Even though the overall outcomes if you have the disease are worse in Canada its amenable mortality will still be lower.

now I may be wrong about this but a quick google search has not shown any articles supporting the notion that anything but the death rate is used to calculate amenable mortality, nor does the article you link to give any indication that the incidence of the disease was used ot adjust the death rates.

I don't know how to make this any plainer looking at survival rates for breast, colon and prostate cancer is not cherry picking. they are common fatal diseases. Measuring survival rates alows specific omparisons of the effacacy of treatment and the quality of care. Amenable mortality is more of a measure of the overall health of a society and will include many factors besides the quality of the health care seytem.

other limitations of this measure is that cause of death reporting is not standardized nor as I have indicated are co-morbid conditions such as obesity included in the analysis.


FYI Cancer Survival Rates:

"I decided to do a little research on cancer survival rates, and it turns out USA is # 1"



"Doctors in the United States tend to treat heart attacks more aggressively than their Canadian counterparts, which improves chances of survival for patients, researchers say.
The controversial conclusion appears in Monday's online issue of the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Americans who've had heart attacks are almost three times more likely than Canadians to receive angioplasties and bypass surgeries to treat their clogged arteries, the researchers said."



Without it, Canada's system will explode as Canadians find it impossible to get the care they want and need across the border.

Here's the worst thing. With Obama care I see care getting MORE, not LESS stratified. Those of us without the means to purchase healthcare on top of what the govt provides, will definately be in a tier lower than the wealthy who will pay nearly any amount to have things done that would have been covered under insurance policies before.

Rick Ballard


If you control the health outcome stats for ethnic background the contrast becomes much more stark. It surpasses the differential results obtained when the violent crime rate is controlled for ethnic background.

Shhh - I wanna se that racist Crowley get what's coming to him.

Rick Ballard

Bruce's Canadian Health Outcome Links:



Rick Ballard

Bruce's Canadian Health Cost Links:




Rick Ballard

Bruce's Canadian Wait List Links:

http://w href="ww.health.gov.bc.ca/waitlist/">Surgical wait list in BC


Thanks, Bruce.

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