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View Diary: How the Public Option Saved My Life (30 comments)

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  •  Not the best if you're rich either.. (0+ / 0-)

    Problem is, if you've got really good insurance, then they'll keep you in the hospital longer than necessary, and do too many tests. Which is not the best thing either.

    The other factor in that is the litigiousness of America. Just to give an example of how this can work, imagine a patient is probably healthy and normal, but is showing some symptoms that have a 1-in-10,000 chance of being a serious illness.

    But confirming the serious diagnosis requires an X-ray exam, which has a 1-in-1,000 chance of giving the patient cancer.

    Medically, it's a simple choice: Don't do the test. But not in the USA, for legal and economic reasons. Because if the patient gets the rarer disease, and they didn't do the test, they could be sued for negligence. Whereas if they do the test, and the patient gets cancer, that will be several years down the line and there's no way it can be attributed to that particular exam.

    I made up the particulars, but this kind of thing happens all the time. Patient welfare and financial self-interest simply don't always coincide, even in the best of worlds.

    Now, if you're talking strictly out of a medical, technical, POV, then the best American health care is among the best in the world - possibly still the best. But even then, I'd have to say that the very best health-care in the UK or Germany or any other major industrialized nation, is pretty much on the same level.

    But of course, my general view as a left-winger is naturally that a society should never be judged on the basis of the top 10%.

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