Letters to the Editor

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HEALTH CARE: Our ‘system’ pales in comparison

Letter by Kenneth E. Christopherson, Tacoma on April 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm | 74 Comments »
April 3, 2012 2:00 pm

By chance or design, articles that appeared Tuesday displayed the shame of American health care, topped out by Dr. Daniel J. Stone’s article on our disgraceful “free-market” health system. Yes, we can obtain world-best health care – if we can afford it. But the United Nations ranks U.S. health care as 37th! It is much exceeded by European countries’.

My wife and I lived in Norway’s system two years. Their system assures the best possible health care: single-payer (the government) pays for whatever is best care. Doctors can opt out and charge whatever they want, but competition keeps their charge low. Most doctors opt in and are paid good salaries (not our pay-per-treatment, thus eliminating overtreatment).

We had a son, age 4, who got knocked unconscious but “came to” in a few minutes. In the U.S., we’d have avoided “wasting” hospital expenses. But the “park aunt” sent him to the hospital, where X-rays showed he had a potentially dangerous concussion. They kept him hospitalized three days, until tests showed he was OK.

My Norwegian cousin developed incurable cancer, but their system gave him five more years of life at home. In our “richer” United States, he’d have lost his life much sooner.

I also have two cousins who are professionals in their system. He is a world-recognized kidney specialist, she a nurse. Both are proud of Norwegian health and puzzled by our “system.”

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