The Spectacle Blog

Edwards, Cancer and Single-Payer

By on 3.23.07 | 4:01PM

My sympathies go out to Elizabeth Edwards and her family. May she live for many more years.

Now that the nation is focused on the cancer travails of Ms. Edwards, it might be a good time to examine how cancer patients are treated in nations with single-payer health care systems. For any leftists who want to accuse me of exploiting a tragedy to make a point about health care policy, I say police your own ranks first.

In Canada, the wait for radiology, luckily, is less than month. The median for other procedures isn't so short. For a breast biopsy it is three months, as it is for a mastectomy. The wait for a radical prostatectomy is over 7 months. And for diagnostic procedures like an MRI and CT Scan, the waits are ten and five-and-a-half months, respectively.

Over in England, while the numbers aren't too bad for oncology, about 20% of patients waiting for radiology wait over 3 months. Data on MRIs and CT scans (imaging) are worse, with about 30% of patients waiting more than 13 weeks.

Whatever problems we have here in the U.S. (and there are plenty), single-payer isn't the answer.

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