greg (grysar) wrote,

Health Policy

One of the often cited downsides of universal health care would be the introduction of waiting times.

After all, who would want to deal with the followings (Figures from a BusinessWeek article):

  • 38 days to see a dermatologist if you have a suspicious-looking mole.

  • A 17 day wait for to get a knee injury dealt with.

  • Only 40% of Doctors having after-hours care versus an industrialized world average of 75%.

  • 26% of adults going to an emergency room in the past two years because they couldn't get in to see their doctors.

  • Only 47% of patients able to get a same day or next day appointment. (5th out of 6 nations only ahead of Canada)

All of these waits and more can be yours thanks to the current American system. Best health-care in the world, baby (except, y'know, quantitatively)! We are faster with hip replacements but lag horribly in many areas. Regardless, nobody thinks we should follow the Candian model, the French one is much better. Anyhow, the article concludes that walk in pharmacies at CVSs and Walmart and the like may help with the problem, although obviously they're only going to be able to handle fairly straightforward problems.

Oh, and for those that care about things other than waiting time here's another fun stat:
The Commonwealth study did find one area where the U.S. was first by a wide margin: 51% of sick Americans surveyed did not visit a doctor, get a needed test, or fill a prescription within the past two years because of cost. No other country came close.

On that note, any DC area people interested in catching Sicko? From what I've heard it's fairly solid (aside from the Cuba bits).

Hat tip: Kevin Drum.

[Update: More from Ezra Klein.]
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