Tucson, Ariz. Claims that American medicine is unsafe, inferior, and too costly are simply false, though constantly cited by proponents of universal, government-funded care, write physicians in the winter issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
There are many reasons why a former sultan of Brunei and two Canadian premiers, among many others, came to the U.S. for medical treatment, writes orthopedic surgeon Lee Hieb, M.D., immediate past president of the Association of of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). One measure of better quality is a 20% higher cancer survival rate in the U.S. Hieb also challenges the unfavorable cost comparisons. For $2,500 per person in her family, she gets access to top-quality care. “The British, for half again as much, get waiting lines, lack of access to primary care, and antiquated hospitals with inadequate staffing and a shortage of equipment.”
The assertion that U.S. medical care ranks 37th in the world, somewhere behind Sudan, comes from “worst study ever,” writes emergency physician John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. Members of the UN-sponsored study group were politically conflicted, with an anti-capitalist, anti-American bias. Data were incomplete or distorted.
There is no “epidemic of negligence” in American hospitals, he continues. An “epidemic” implies a big increase. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) exaggerated and misused safety data in its heavily publicized book, To Err Is Human. The rate of negligent injury or death was as low as 0.14%, and has been trending downward.
“The crusade to highjack American medicine with a government takeover would not have had so much traction if not for the concerted campaign of denigration” energized by the intellectual elite, Dunn writes.
It is government medicine that is in fact a hazard to our health, Hieb concludes. Because of Medicare rules, an ultrasound test for blood clots can no longer be performed in her rural hospital. Patients must be transported to a distant hospital at great cost, and with a potentially fatal delay in diagnosis and treatment.
“We may be nearing a previously unrecognized physical barrier,” she writes—“the black hole of regulatory inertia where so much negative government force is applied that no actual medical care can escape the bureaucratic gravitational field.”
AAPS, a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, (www.aapsonline.org) was founded in 1943 to defend the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.