Free Markets, Free People


Dodd, Cancer and Health Care “Reform” – Be Careful What You Wish For

First let me wish Sen. Chris Dodd a full recovery from the prostate surgery he will undergo soon to remove the cancer he’s been found to have.

But with all things personal, politicians try to turn them into “teachable moments” that support what they’re trying to do. And Dodd is no exception.

“I wanted to let you know that I’ve been diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer,” Dodd wrote. “Luckily, a routine test allowed my doctor to catch it at a very early stage, and my prognosis is excellent – we expect a full and speedy recovery. I want to assure you that I am feeling fine.”

“After the Senate adjourns at the end of next week, I’ll have surgery to remove the cancer,” Dodd wrote. “After a week or two of recuperation, I expect to be right back to work. After all, as a member of Congress, I have great health insurance. I was able to get screened, seek the opinions of highly skilled doctors, consider all the available options, and choose the treatment that was right for me.”

He added, in a reference to his current work to pass healthcare legislation, “I know you’ll agree that every American deserves the same ability. We have healthcare legislation to pass – and an election to win. And I can’t thank you enough for your support.”

The implication, of course, is that without universal health care or universal health insurance, detection and survival rates must be lower than they could be.

But a quick check of systems with universal care and insurance doesn’t at all back up the implication:

Survival was significantly higher in the United States for all solid tumors, except testicular, stomach, and soft-tissue cancer, the authors report. The greatest differences were seen in the major cancer sites: colon and rectum (56.2% in Europe vs 65.5% in the United States), breast (79.0% vs 90.1%), and prostate cancer (77.5% vs 99.3%), and this “probably represents differences in the timeliness of diagnosis,” they comment. That in turn stems from the more intensive screening for cancer carried out in the United States, where a reported 70% of women aged 50 to 70 years have undergone a mammogram in the past 2 years, one-third of people have had sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in the past 5 years, and more than 80% of men aged 65 years or more have had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. In fact, it is this PSA testing that probably accounts for the very high survival from prostate cancer seen in the United States, the authors comment.

99.3% survival rate on prostate cancer in the US vs. 77.5% among the “universals”. How can that be, given Dodd’s indication that he’s just among the lucky ones? How in the world can the US, with such a badly broken system manage to save all but 0.7% of the prostate cancer patients, while the exemplar of universal care – Europe – loses 22.5% of theirs?

The PSA? It is a blood test. It is a test routinely run in the US when people have bloodwork done. And look at the testing for breast and colon cancer – isn’t that “preventive medicine”? So why aren’t the Europeans running all of these tests?

Good question. My guess would be cost. Here’s the result:

The age-adjusted 5-year survival rates for all cancers combined [Europe] was 47.3% for men and 55.8% for women, which is significantly lower than the estimates of 66.3% for men and 62.9% for women from the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program ( P < .001).

The point? Don’t buy into this “the system is broken” rhetoric in which politicians claim to have a better way of providing health care. My guess is a significant portion of Europeans diagnosed with various cancers would much rather be treated here than there.

~McQ

[HT: Carly B.]

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15 Responses to Dodd, Cancer and Health Care “Reform” – Be Careful What You Wish For

  • At 65, there are a lot of countries where Dodd wouldn’t even be allowed to have the surgery, since he’d be considered too old, and the surgery would go to someone younger.

    And I like how a 47.3% survival rate is “just slightly lower than” a 66.3% rate.

  • He needs ‘End of Life Counseling’  and pain killers. Just like he wants for the peasants.

  • Interesting that no mention is made of which European nations are compared with, and which people – does it include ALL Americans, or just those with insurance, or just those with insurance for that particular condition, or is it a straight comparison of people actually diagnosed then successfully treated ?

    • Why just wonder about it? Have you heard of this innovation called Google? Or there’s a new alternative called Bing. They’re quite amazing really. You can go look stuff up, and then come back here with some counter-evidence to support your point.

      If there is any, of course.

  • Dodd is an older man. There’s no real reason to waste valuable resources on him.

    Mr. Dodd, please do the younger generations a service and forego treatment and die, just like you want regular Americans to do under your plan.

    Get to the death chamber, one-nut.

  • Dodds medical insurance is paid for with money stolen from the citizenry, and he wants the same thing for the citizenry.

    Thieves love company I suppose.

    I’d like to see Dodd swinging from a lamp post on Pennsylvania Av ala’ Mussolini……death to tyrants!

  • McQ – “Don’t buy into this ‘the system is broken’ rhetoric in which politicians claim to have a better way of providing health care. My guess is a significant portion of Europeans diagnosed with various cancers would much rather be treated here than there.”

    “Providing health care” is, I think, NOT the real goal of this sorry exercize. Rather, it is designed to:

    1. Provide an ILLUSION of improved health care, mostly through giving (forcing?) coverage to people who neither want or need it;

    2. Provide yet another vehicle for taking money from the citizens to give to Washington politicians to spend as THEY see fit;

    3. Provide more control over the people;

    4. Drag everybody down to the same level of mediocrity in the interest of “fairness”. As I’ve often said, you could line liberals up against a wall and shoot them, and they’d go with a smile on their faces so long as they could look down in the mud and see that some “rich b*stard” went first;

    5. Provide politicians with a great cause to justify their existence, bloated staffs, and the general worship they get from the chattering classes. Let’s face it: if not for the “banking crisis” and the “mortgage crisis” and the “health care crisis”, trash like Dodd would be ignored… or in jail.

  • “After all, as a member of Congress, I have great health insurance. I was able to get screened, seek the opinions of highly skilled doctors, consider all the available options, and choose the treatment that was right for me.”
    “He added, in a reference to his current work to pass healthcare legislation, “I know you’ll agree that every American deserves the same ability. We have healthcare legislation to pass….

    This guy is so full of crap. Providing that level of coverage for five hundred forty people is a lot easier than it is to provide it for three hundred million individuals.

  • “After all, as a member of Congress, I have great health insurance. I was able to get screened, seek the opinions of highly skilled doctors, consider all the available options, and choose the treatment that was right for me.”
    “He added, in a reference to his current work to pass healthcare legislation, “I know you’ll agree that every American deserves the same ability. We have healthcare legislation to pass….

    ***

    So why isn’t the legislation to give us ALL the same magic treatment as he gets?

  • I have two words for Dodd:  Renew!  Renew!

  • The co-ops remind us all of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” he [John McCain] told anchor John King. “And so I have not seen a public option that, in my view, meets the test of what would really not eventually lead to a government take over.”

  • Fact Check Health care Check Again!
    Look these up if you can get a copy of the bill They’re rushing thru
    Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services
    Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
    Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
    Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU,UAW and ACORN)
    Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
    Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
    Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
    Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
    Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
    Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll
    Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
    Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t’ have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
    Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
    Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
    Page 203: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” Yes, it really says that.
    Page 24 1: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
    Page 253: Government sets value of doctors’ time, their professional judgment, etc.
    Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
    Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on “community” input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
    Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
    Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals
    Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia
    Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
    Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient’s health deteriorates.  This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
    Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
    Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
    Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
    Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
    Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services

  • After all, as a member of Congress, I have great health insurance. I was able to get screened, seek the opinions of highly skilled doctors, consider all the available options, and choose the treatment that was right for me.

    Wait a second.  So far, every congressman that has been asked if he would give up his health insurance and enroll in the government plan being implemented in Obamacare has hemmed and hawed, or just admitted that no, they wouldn’t.  So how can Dodd claim that under Obamacare, we’d be getting the same care and options that he got under PrivilegedCare?

  • just curious, I don’t doubt the stats in the above blog…but can you source some of teh other data points. I know you sourced some of it from US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results but where we the rest sourced from?

    I can say this unequivocally – I just got done battling cancer. I left my home state because the care is sub par and I went to MD Anderson in Houston. The top cancer center on the planet …bar none. And guess what nationalities, and demographics I met there as fellow patients? Nationalities? – French, Spanish (from spain), Portugeuse, German, Norweigan,English, Jamaican, South African, Australian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Etheopian, Suadi’s, Kuwaiti’s, and a boatload of Americans from other cities and states. And demographics…from the poorest of the dirt poor Americans on medicare and medicaid, to the royalty or high level government officials of Europe and the middle east. Literally, the healthcare available to impoverished Americans is better then the care available for the welthy and diplomts in Europe (that’s why if Europeans can afford it they leave their own miserable system and come here to be treated).

    Because the truth is, everyone can whine about the quality of American healthcare, but when teh rest of teh socialized medicien world gets really sick? They do whatever they can to get to MD Anderson in Houston. I kid you not, there is an entire healthcare tourism industry surrpunding the Texas Medical Center hospital complex (Easily, The largest most comprehensive health center in the world). And entire hotel/motel/apartment industry had built up around the place just to supply people from around the world enough rooms to stay in while they or their family are being treated.

    The rest of the world comes here for their healthcare – there’s a reason.