Monday, June 25, 2007

Falling Through the Cracks

From Sullivan:
But I grew up with socialized medicine, and I know what a disaster it is. It's coming [to the US], of course. You can feel it. Bush paved the way. The golden era of American medicine and research will soon cede to more and more state control. It will exchange a great deal of its excellence for more access for more people. That's the bargain most democracies make.

The first criticism I'd make is of his claim that it's on its way in the US. I just don't see that happening in the next few years; not even the Democratic candidates are seriously talking about healthcare for all.

The second problem, of course, is his characterization of this as a "golden era" of medicine in the US. Maybe from a research point of view, okay. It's been great for the pharmaceutical industry, that's for sure. But ask the millions of uninsured and underinsured if it feels like a golden era for them. Andrew has lived in the US long enough to know what a disaster healthcare is there if you don't have a lot of money.


Anonymous said...

I always forget what it is about Andrew Sullivan that gets me angry, then I remember. You're right that "Andrew has lived in the US long enough to know what a disaster healthcare is there if you don't have a lot of money.".

The thing is, I don't think that he just doesn't care. This is pretty analogous to his "AIDS is over" position (in the Stranger this week), which pretty much ignores a continent of plagued Africans without enough money to buy the right pills.

Gabriel said...

Good point. And today he writes:

On this, I'm in agreement with this National Review editorial. And yes, I see no problem with the wealthy having access to better care than the less wealthy.

I'm not sure that he doesn't care, but he definitely doesn't get it. It's not a matter of some people having slightly better care or slightly worse care than others. Millions of people avoid going to the doctor because they just can't pay. Your analogy with Africa and his view on AIDS is spot on.

The thing about the British system is that you can go the public route, wherein you might be on a waiting list but you get your treatment, or you can go the private route where you get quicker service by having to pay for it. It's not perfect, but it's much better than the States.