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Posted by on Jul 29, 2009 in Health, Politics, Society | 10 comments

Now, Isn’t This Interesting

Matthew Yglesias has some interesting graphics up which show that Americans who actually have public health care plans (aka Medicare and Medicaid) have higher levels of satisfaction with them than do Americans who are privately insured.

These results mirror surveys in countries that offer universal health care systems (i.e., every industrialized country except the United States), as seen in this post by Ezra Klein (via Matthew). When people in countries with fully nationalized health care systems are asked whether they believe the health care systems in their countries “need to be completely rebuilt,” and then those results are compared with Americans’ answer to the same question, a significantly higher percentage say yes in the United States than in six other countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom). As Ezra put it, “Americans Fear Canada’s Health-Care System, But Not as Much as Canadians Fear America’s.”

Back to Matthew, who reproduces Ezra’s graphic and writes:

As you can see here, there are a variety of appealing models. People like Canada’s Medicare for All approach, just as people here like Medicare. What the Dutch do is quite different, is somewhat more appealing to the wonk’s sensibility, and is also quite popular. The UK approach which is, again, totally different and really does feature the dread “rationing” is also really popular. Nothing can quite beat the American system for producing widespread dissatisfaction.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • DLS

    Kathy, you neglected to quote pre-1990 Soviet publications bashing US health care of anything else about the USA that also might prove handy.

  • Zzzzz

    DLS,

    One of the arguments against government insurance is that people will be less satisfied. They won’t get the care they need, they will have to wait in long lines, and they won’t have a choice in their doctors. Polls showing greater satisfaction with government run plans over US private plans contradicts that argument. It isn’t propaganda. It is data gathered to test the specific assumption that government will produce a product that most people will hate.

  • DLS

    First, I’d avoid the farther-left stuff and just go with something closer to the mainstream like Pew, which I like as a source:

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1293/health-care-public-gives-lukewarm-rating-to-american-system

    Second, I’m not among the hard core of those who believe government health care will be magical, or who demonize the other players in the current public-private conglomeration. (The more the agitators agitate for the current Dems’ health care nonsense, the even more they discredit that initiative as well as themselves.) When (I often say this rather than “if” because I can see how things have developed over the past several years) we switch from a private to a public (government) health care system, we will be exchanging one set of problems for another. Certainly you can find plenty of supporters among the elderly who are beneficiaries of Medicare now, for they get health care rather than none at all and their “premiums” pay for about 25% of the costs of the program (they are very heavily subsidized). What will happen, on the other hand, when everyone is effectively on Medicare and costs from money-losing health care provision can no longer be shifted to the private sector as they are now, or Medicare patients refused?

  • SteveK

    DLS wrote: “Second, I’m not among the hard core of those who believe government health care will be magical, or who demonize the other players in the current public-private conglomeration.”

    Hum?.. And your comment an hour ago was:

    “J. West — at least they don’t have Christopher Reeve to exploit any longer.”

    … seems to conflict with you claim here.
    Either way is fine DLS (but I’m more familiar with your Christopher Reeve remark persona) but which of the two do you really want us to think of you as?

  • DLS

    What you just posted, Steve K., is illogical, though that is nothing new (ordinary, in fact) from your side.

    Reeve’s appearance at a recent Democratic convention and the appeal to emotion (pro-Democrat and anti-Republican) that was part of this is obvious fact. (Go read about it if you need to learn more about it.)

    * * *

    “One of the arguments against government insurance is that people will be less satisfied. They won’t get the care they need, they will have to wait in long lines, and they won’t have a choice in their doctors. Polls showing greater satisfaction with government run plans over US private plans contradicts that argument.”

    There remains concern, as always, with government _health_care_ (not insurance) and always will be, but more pertinent to the failing health care proposal by the Dems (perhaps being deliberately avoided or the object of an attempt at obscuration by Kathy, who seems actually to support this bad initiative, or any initiative at all, remarkably), is that there is obviously growing concern with the Dems’ initiative, as an up-
    to-date, real-world-and-issues-oriented poll here illustrates:

    Obama Slipping in Poll

    Approval Rating Hits 53% as Health Plan Loses Public Support

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124890178435291341.html

  • “Americans Fear Canada’s Health-Care System, But Not as Much as Canadians Fear America’s.”

    I love this quote, because this exact sentiment gets born out over and over again in every conversation I’ve had with people from countries with universal care. Even, for example, fairly young people who may not know about the system here in the US, and who initially say that their own health care system is crap because they had to wait a month to get their knee surgery or whatever — even they get wide eyed when they hear about how many people here won’t even go to the doctor except in the case of a serious emergency because they can’t afford the cost. Suddenly they don’t think waiting a while for a non-urgent treatment is all that bad in comparison.

  • CStanley

    Medicare is currently subsidized, and we’re quickly running out of money to provide subsidies at the same level. The concern is that when the money runs out, people aren’t likely to be satisfied then, are they? And adding more, new, recipients that we also can’t afford makes sense, how, exactly?

    If there was something in the plan to actually substantively cut costs, then the whole thing might make sense. It’s as simple as that, really. No one is scared to go on Medicare as it currently exists- what everyone fears is that we’ll have to go on it or a similar program when there’s no one left to pay the bills.

  • SteveK

    DLS said: “Reeve’s appearance at a recent Democratic convention and the appeal to emotion (pro-Democrat and anti-Republican) that was part of this is obvious fact. (Go read about it if you need to learn more about it.)”

    “What you just posted, DLS, is illogical, though that is nothing new (ordinary, in fact) from your side.”

    Christopher Reeve died on October 10, 2004. He DID NOT appeared at a RECENT Democratic Convention AND when he did speak at the at the 1996 Convention he spoke out in support of Stem Cell Research… His speech had nothing to do with National Health Care. (Go read about it if you need to learn more.)

    Your attempt to make an enemy (Reeve in this case) out of any (and every) one who has an opinion that differs from yours has become… expected.

    You’ve evolved into “jwest, Jr” but what the hell that’s OK by me. All the transparent talking points and lies coming from you ‘nutters’ on the right just helps us get truth out to main stream America… Your continual contributions are appreciated.

  • My experience on Medicaid is that there is LESS, not more, choice in doctors. At least in my state, doctors who don’t want to participate do not have to. Many don’t, because the state pays far less than private insurance would.

    Stories of people having to go halfway across the state to see a certain specialist who accepts the Medicaid plan are not uncommon.

  • adelinesdad

    “Americans Fear Canada’s Health-Care System, But Not as Much as Canadians Fear America’s.”

    Here’s a solution to that dilemma: let them have theirs and we’ll have ours (I believe all of my pronouns are accounted for there).

    I’m not surprised that people rate their government-run health care plans high–they’re free or significantly subsidized. And it’s true that they probably cover more than most private plans as well, but that costs money. As others have said, if everyone were on the government plan, the cost could no longer be shifted to other people. It’s not the quality I’m concerned about, it’s the cost. And if the main cost-saving mechanism is rationing (something some freely admit), then that affects quality.

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