Amer­i­cans’ mind­set on health­care slows move to­ward sin­gle-payer sys­tem

Modern Healthcare - - Comment -

Re­gard­ing the re­cent ar­ti­cle “As U.S. Democrats line up be­hind sin­gle payer, some Cana­di­ans are su­ing to al­low pri­vate in­sur­ance” (Modern­Health­, Oct. 10), a key ob­ser­va­tion is the state­ment: “Ninety per­cent of all types of cases are com­pleted within about 31 weeks.” The story notes that some 82,000 adults and nearly 5,000 chil­dren are on wait­ing lists for or­tho­pe­dic pro­ce­dures in Canada. In the U.S., such wait times would cause out­rage, with count­less re­lated law­suits for de­lay of care.

The ma­jor dif­fer­ence in coun­tries that are some­what suc­cess­ful with sin­gle-payer, univer­sal health cov­er­age is the mind­set of the pop­u­la­tion. In Canada and other univer­sal cov­er­age coun­tries, pa­tients are pre­pared to wait for elec­tive or nonur­gent ser­vices that we Amer­i­cans want sched­uled to­mor­row. If they want the pro­ce­dure faster, they pay out of pocket and come to the U.S.

Some­one once said in a lec­ture that we Amer­i­cans have in­fi­nite health­care de­mands with fi­nite re­sources. That is so true. Un­til we can bal­ance out the cost/ben­e­fit equa­tion and re­duce the ex­pec­ta­tions of the av­er­age Amer­i­can pa­tient, I don’t see univer­sal health­care be­ing very suc­cess­ful.

Denise Adema Fort My­ers, Fla.

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