What apparently does not matter is that our population has universal access because most physicians treat indigent patients without charge and accept Medicare and Medicaid payments, which do not even cover overhead expenses. The WHO does rank the U.S. No. 1 of 191 countries for "responsiveness to the needs and choices of the individual patient." Isn't responsiveness what health care is all about?
Data assembled by Dr. Ronald Wenger and published recently in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons indicates that cardiac deaths in the U.S. have fallen by two-thirds over the past 50 years. Polio has been virtually eradicated. Childhood leukemia has a high cure rate. Eight of the top 10 medical advances in the past 20 years were developed or had roots in the U.S.
OpinionJournal Related Stories:
The Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology have been awarded to more Americans than to researchers in all other countries combined. Eight of the 10 top-selling drugs in the world were developed by U.S. companies. The U.S. has some of the highest breast, colon and prostate cancer survival rates in the world. And our country ranks first or second in the world in kidney transplants, liver transplants, heart transplants, total knee replacements, coronary artery bypass, and percutaneous coronary interventions.
We have the shortest waiting time for nonemergency surgery in the world; England has one of the longest. In Canada, a country of 35 million citizens, 1 million patients now wait for surgery and another million wait to see specialists.
When my friend, cardiac surgeon Peter Alivizatos, returned to Greece after 10 years heading the heart transplantation program at Baylor University in Dallas, the one-year heart transplant survival rate there was 50%—five-year survival was only 35%. He soon increased those numbers to 94% one-year and 90% five-year survival, which is what we achieve in the U.S. So the next time you hear that the U.S. is No. 37, remember that Greece is No. 14. Cuba, by the way, is No. 39.
Read the whole thing.