The Following are a few examples of the ways in which socialized medicine around the world has had a negative impact on patients in dire need of treatment. If a similar system is enacted here in the United States, Americans in need of medical care will encounter many of the same problems.

  • *Natasha Richardson: The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, common in the United States and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal’s top head trauma doctor said Friday that may have played a role in Richardson’s death

“It’s impossible for me to comment specifically about her case, but what I could say is … driving to Mont Tremblant from the city (Montreal) is a 2 1/2-hour trip, and the closest trauma center is in the city. Our system isn’t set up for traumas and doesn’t match what’s available in other Canadian cities, let alone in the States,” said Tarek Razek, director of trauma services for the McGill University Health Centre, which represents six of Montreal’s hospitals.

  • In Canada, Diane Gorsuch waited over two years for a surgery to fix the clogged arteries leading to her heart. She twice had appointments to get that heart surgery. Both appointments, however, were cancelled. Before her third appointment came, she suffered a fatal heart attack.
  • In Great Britain, Mavis Skeet had her cancer surgery cancelled four times before her cancer was determined to have become inoperable. Another Brit, Brian Booy, became the ultimate victim of bureaucracy in that he was finally assigned an appointment for bypass surgery a year after he died from a heart attack.
  • Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson had to wait for eight months for a hip replacement. As a result he suffered in great pain and was unable to perform some of his governmental duties. The latest data shows that about 60 percent of Swedish patients needing a hip replacement wait more than three months.
  • Alice Mahon, a former member of the British parliament, needs the drug Lucentis to slow her macular degeneration. Because of delays due to the National Health Service not yet having approved Lucentis at the time of her diagnosis, Mahon lost much of the sight in her left eye.
  • In Australia, eight-year-old Kyle Inglis has lost 50 percent of his hearing while waiting nearly 11 months for an operation to remove a tumor in his ear. Kyle is one of over 1,000 children waiting over 600 days for ear, nose and throat surgery in Warnbro, a suburb in Western Australia.
  • In Great Britain, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the government agency that decides which treatments the National Health Service will pay for, has effectively banned Lapatinib, a drug that was shown to slow the progression of breast cancer, and Sutent, which is the only medicine that can prolong the lives of some stomach cancer patients.
  • Banning beneficial drugs due to cost is nothing new in Britain; NICE forbade the use of Tarceva, a lung cancer drug proven to extend patients’ lives, and Abatacept, even though it’s one of the only drugs that has been shown in clinical testing to improve severe rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The Swedish government system refuses to provide some expensive medication and, inhumanely, refuses to let patients buy the drugs themselves.  Why?  According to a Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons article, bureaucrats believe doing so “would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.”

For more information on how we can reform health care in New Mexico in free market ways that empower patients and give the individual, not government bureaucrats, control over health care, go to www.riograndefoundation.org or our blogwww.errorsofenchantment.com. If you’d like to host a representative of the Rio Grande Foundation at your meeting, please give us a call at 505-264-6090.